Hypoallergenic = Advertising Gimmick

This is going to sound crazy, but did you know that the word "hypoallergenic" means nothing? It's actually a myth and nothing more than an advertising gimmick.

We're all trying to find the very best health and beauty products out there, and at some point, we were told that hypoallergenic was a thing. And that thing was better for us than any other products. It implied, of course, that there was some kind of testing and standards and scientific methods for grading products as being safe. Or that there were some people in white lab coats deciding which products were proven to not cause allergic reactions or irritations to skin when we used them.

Well, guess what? It's actually a crock of bull. The term "hypoallergenic" was first used in a cosmetics campaign in 1953. And even now, the cosmetic industry has been trying to block an industry standard for use of the term. There are absolutely no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, procedures, regulations, rules or guidelines of any kind for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being "hypoallergenic." And this is true not just in the US, but all over the world.

A beauty care company can label any product they market as "hypoallergenic" because there is nobody to tell them they can't. There is no rule that you cannot claim this. And there is no governmental department that regulates this. Basically there is absolutely no proof, scientific or otherwise, that needs to stand behind that claim. And no standard of measurement to see if their product stacks up or not.

This shocking information is pretty new to me too. People have asked me in the past if my soap is hypoallergenic and I've answered them by saying that I'm such a small business, I don't have the resources to have my products tested. But now we all know better - there is actually no testing or regulating going on anywhere.

Which brings up another point - that whole "Dermatologist-Tested" label we see on products too. That's another advertising gimmick which means beans. When we see that phrase, we assume that a doctor has been integral in formulating the product, or involved in the testing phases, and most importantly that all doctors have our health as their number one priority.

But that term doesn't specify what doctor did the testing, what he/she tested, how he/she performed the testing, or what the results were.

Of course the large beauty product manufacturers have labs (Revlon, Clinique, Almay, Colgate/Palmolive etc). People in white lab coats do exist and they are testing ingredients and experimenting with formulas for exciting new products all the time. And these big companies have loads of dermatologists on staff to do all kinds of testing. The phrase "dermatologist-tested" can mean quite a large range of things, which are doubly suspect when you realize that they are on the payroll and expected to produce specific results.

That's my public service announcement for today. Don't buy into the hype. Question everything. Nobody knows your skin better than you do. Read ingredient labels carefully to see what they are actually putting in their products.

Knowledge is power.