The term “hypoallergenic” refers to products that are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in people with sensitive skin or allergies. These products have been specifically designed and tested to minimize the chance of any adverse reactions.
While there is no single definition for hypoallergenic, most manufacturers use a combination of chemical, physical and biological processes to reduce the risk of irritation or other allergic reactions. With this in mind, it is important to understand the basics of what hypoallergenic products are and how they can be beneficial in your everyday life.
What Makes Something Hypoallergenic?
For a product or ingredient to be considered hypoallergenic, it must not contain any ingredients known to cause common skin sensitivities or allergies. To achieve this, many manufacturers take extra steps by removing potential irritants such as fragrances, parabens, dyes, and other chemicals from their formulations.
In addition, some companies go even further by creating formulas that seek out only specific natural ingredients for their products. This process ensures that very few people experience skin irritation from using these items.
Does Hypoallergenic Equal No Allergic Reaction?
The term “hypoallergenic” doesn’t necessarily mean the item will not cause any allergic reaction. Since people’s bodies are different, some users may still experience some irritation when using hypoallergenic products. It might depend on the person’s sensitivity to a particular ingredient, such as fragrance, dyes, and other chemicals.
If you think you or one of your loved ones is allergic to a certain substance, it’s best to consult your doctor. Getting an allergy test will help you determine what materials you should avoid and enable you to choose the right hypoallergenic products for your needs.
What Does an Allergic Reaction Look Like?
Some people get a certain reaction when exposed to allergens, such as plant pollens, dust mites, insect bites, pet dander, and certain foods. Symptoms may range from mild to life-threatening, depending on the severity of the allergic reaction.
These include swelling, hives, itching, skin rash or redness, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, a person might even go into anaphylactic shock, which requires immediate medical attention.
Determining What Hypoallergenic Products Are Suitable for You
If you’re sensitive to certain ingredients, simply picking up a product labeled as hypoallergenic is not enough. Since the term hypoallergenic is subjective and does not have an official standard definition, you should always read product labels carefully.
Learning to look at product labels can help you determine what hypoallergenic products are suitable for you and your loved ones. Here are some tips for reading product labels:
Look at the Ingredient List
Many products advertise their hypoallergenic credentials, but the ingredients still need to be checked. Look at the order in which the ingredients are listed because this shows how much of it is in the product. It also tells you the concentration of a certain component in the product.
Inspect the Active Ingredients
Check the active ingredients in the product as these are more likely to be potential irritants. It’s best to look for natural, organic, or plant-based active ingredients as these are gentler on the skin and less likely to cause a reaction.
This is extremely important when you’re shopping for skincare products, such as a hypoallergenic lotion that will not irritate your sensitive skin.
Check the Chemical Names
Most ingredient lists will have chemical names, which may seem intimidating or scary if you’re not familiar with them. So, it’s best to have your phone handy when looking at the ingredient list so you can check the chemical names and their potential irritants.
Look for Fragrance-Free Products
Fragrances can cause skin irritation and allergies, so it’s best to avoid these. Look for products labeled as fragrance-free or unscented to further reduce your risk of an allergic reaction.
Check for Plant-Based Ingredients
Sometimes, even natural ingredients can cause an allergic reaction. So, you should keep an eye out for plant substances in ingredient lists, especially since they may be listed using their scientific name. For example, lavender, which can cause allergic reactions in some people, might be listed as Lavandula angustifolia.
Purchase Hypoallergenic Products Wisely
When looking for hypoallergenic products, check the labels carefully and make an informed decision. Consider your needs and any current allergies or sensitivities you might have. You should also consult your doctor if needed. It’s also best to purchase these products from trusted brands to ensure they are safe and of good quality.