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Hypoallergenic Makeup

Hypoallergenic Makeup

The term 'hypoallergenic makeup' can be quite confounding and misleading. These products are marketed towards sensitive skin types. This article explains what these products are and whether or not they are safer than regular makeup.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Beauty products make use of cosmetic or natural ingredients. Oftentimes, these ingredients may not be compatible with your skin. As a result, you could have a mild to severe allergic response due to a particular ingredient. Hypoallergenic makeup is a comparatively new concept in the cosmetic industry, which refers to a range of products formulated in such a way that they induce minimal allergic reactions. Since its introduction in the market, hypoallergenic products have become a huge hit among women with sensitive skin.

Real or Hoax?

The common ingredients in cosmetic products that act as allergens are:
  • Waxes and fats in lipsticks. Mostly cocoa butter.
  • Metallic compounds in eyeliner, mascara, and eye shadow.
  • Tetrabromofluorescein in hair dyes.
  • Tosylamide, formaldehyde resin, and nail acrylates in nail polish.
  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), hydroquinone, or digalloyl trioleate in sunscreen agents.
  • Mercury or hydroquinone in bleaching creams.
Even products that claim to be derived from natural substances have equal potential of inducing allergies. Since these products are directly formulated using extracts of plants or animals, you are likely to get an allergy if you are allergic to that particular plant or animal. Lanolin, a natural substance obtained from sheep wool, is a common ingredient in cosmetics. However, it is known to cause allergic reactions in many people. Surprisingly, hypoallergenic makeup also contains all the above mentioned ingredients.

The reason why it is easy to dismiss hypoallergenic products as a hoax is that the usage of the term 'hypoallergenic' is under the discretion of manufacturers. There are no federal rules that govern the usage of this term. Same is true for other deceptive terms like 'clinically tested', 'dermatologist tested', 'for sensitive skin', or 'non irritating'. The label that mentions any of the above terms does not necessarily imply that the product was tested on human subjects. Even if it was tested on humans, there is no way to know how many people were tested. Thus, there is no scientific evidence that supports the claim that these products actually induce fewer allergic reactions compared to their non-hypoallergenic counterparts.

Hypoallergenic Products

Since it is evident that hypoallergenic products have as much potential to induce allergies as regular products, one might as well give them a try. If you have sensitive skin which gets irritated easily when you apply makeup, you may go for natural or organic products. The market is full of products like eye makeup, makeup removers, and foundations that are hypoallergenic. You might have to dabble with a few brands before you find out which one works best for you. Reading the labels carefully and keeping a track of ingredients that cause allergies is of utmost importance if you want to minimize allergic reactions. If a particular ingredient is responsible for causing allergies, then opting for a brand that uses a substitute ingredient might work for you. The point is you must be always thorough with labels, no matter what type of cosmetics you use.

Thus, hypoallergenic makeup seems nothing more than a marketing gimmick. No matter what you choose, just keep checking the labels.