It’s time to blow the whistle on another cosmetic myth – the term HYPOALLERGENIC.
Want to know what it really means when a cosmetic product makes a claim of being hypoallergenic? In a word – BULLSH*T.
The term did not originate from medical or even dermatologic science. The cosmetic industry coined the word “hypoallergenic” so it could categorize products that “will cause less allergies than average.” (sensing something incredibly suspicious already? You should.) Fast forward a couple of decades and we are now saddled with a term that can be misinterpreted and mangled in a myriad of mythical ways!
Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) gave up governing the claim “hypoallergenic” because it’s such a minefield of subjective interpretation.
- There is no such thing as a product that will NEVER cause allergies to ANYONE. Are you listening? NO SUCH THING…period. Someone, somewhere, sometime will have a reaction…guaranteed.
- The basis for hypoallergenic claims rely on two things. WHO is defining what is “less than average” and the type of testing being used. Unfortunately, none of this is regulated, so the criteria changes constantly…by country, season, mood swing, etc.
- In the 21st Century, brands that claim hypoallergenic as a valid marketing strategy are either:
- A new independant brand who wants to assure you that the lipstick they cook up in their kitchen/basement/garage is safe.
- An established brand that got stuck in a time-warp and is still relying on an ancient marketing position (cough, cough, clinique, cough, cough, neutrogena, cough, cough).
OK, let’s make-believe…
Let’s say that scientists actually developed a valid clinical test, and products could be awarded a “clinical hypoallergenic” rating.
I still have a HUGE issue with this.
Everyone has different allergies and levels of sensitivity. So (hypothetically) to get this scientifically backed “clinical hypoallergenic” rating, products would have to be (re)formulated to be as non-reactive as possible…which would significantly deplete their potency and benefits.
How would that be helpful?
Why would I spend my hard earned cash (because it’s us, the consumer, who’ll pay for this clinical hypoallergenic accreditation) on a product that has significantly reduced efficacy… just because someone, somewhere is allergic to many of the most highly beneficial ingredients – ingredients which I have no reaction to.
The moral of this story is:
Do not make cosmetic buying decisions based on hypoallergenicity. Know what your allergies/sensitivities are and look for quality products that don’t contain those ingredients.