What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?

What Does Hypoallergenic Mean?

If you have allergies or sensitive skin, you probably look for products marked “Hypoallergenic” to avoid triggering a reaction. This term is often seen on the labels of laundry detergent, cosmetics and personal care products.

But what does hypoallergenic really mean? The term implies that a product contains fewer allergens than other ones but because there’s no agreed-upon scientific or legal definition of the term, the word “hypoallergenic” printed on a label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s allergy-proof or gentler on your skin!

The U.S. government doesn’t have standards that products must meet in order to use the term “hypoallergenic" for a product. This means the manufacturer doesn’t have to do any testing or provide results to prove that it won’t cause a reaction. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) writes on its website, “There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term ‘hypoallergenic.’ The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.”

Here at Sensitive Home, we believe manufacturers have a responsibility to seek and conduct appropriate testing that supports their claims -  it's the only way we will put a claim on our packaging!. For example, the industry standard for supporting a hypoallergenic claim is to conduct a clinical HRIP (Human Repeat Insult Patch) test. An HRIP test is an exaggerated exposure to a product over a period of time. And testing on self-perceived sensitive skin (SPSS) subjects as part of an HRIP test provides a next level of safety information – i.e. do those who perceive themselves as reactive to products have significant reactions?

If you’re looking for a product that is truly hypoallergenic, it’s best to understand what testing and certifications the manufacturer has completed to make that claim. Sensitive Home Free & Clear Laundry Detergent and Sensitive Home Fragrance Free Dish Soap both underwent clinical HRIP tests including self-perceived sensitive skin subjects and those tests demonstrated no allergic reactions. Even though we conducted these scientific clinical studies around potential allergens, people do have varying degrees of sensitivity to different ingredients. If you think you or your child may have an allergy to a food, a pet, or any substance, it’s best to talk to your doctor and consider seeing an allergist for testing and treatment!