A hypoallergenic formula is a term, commonly used in cosmetics to emphasize the high skin tolerance of some product’s ingredients. In other words, a hypoallergenic is a formula, which possesses a minimal risk of allergic reactions.
The hypoallergenic formula is considered much more gentle and safe to the skin than the rest of the formulas, as it doesn’t contain substances and particles that could irritate the skin (preservatives, parabens, some extracts, acids, etc.).
The term "hypoallergenic formula" was used for the first time in 1953, in a cosmetic campaign to point out the benefits of a product line. And although since then it is well grounded in marketing strategies of cosmetic brands and in many areas of the manufacturing industry (including jewelry, household goods, textiles, pets care), the term is not scientifically or medically approved. This allows manufacturers to impose their own standards and expands the range of products’ contents and testing.
To label a certain cosmetic formula as hypoallergenic, it must go through an extremely strict certification control and be tested on hundreds of volunteers. However, it is good to know that a hypoallergenic formula does not exclude the possibility of an allergic reaction in 100 %. The prefix "hypo" (of Greek origin) indicates a suppressed functionality, but although minimal, the risk exists, especially in hypersensitive skin.
The establishment of a concrete standard for hypoallergenic formulas is also hampered by the fact that the origin of the allergic reactions itself is unknown. It is considered a violation of the immune system, which differs in each person. Therefore, hypoallergenic formulas should not be identified as "non-allergic".
However, hypoallergenic formulas are considered the safest for sensitive, hypersensitive and problematic skin, and is always preferable to use.