What is a Hypoallergenic Moisturizer?

J. Beam

The term hypoallergenic is applied to products that are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in people with a sensitivity to allergies or who are prone to allergic reactions. A hypoallergenic moisturizer is a type of skin moisturizer that is considered to be generally safe for people with sensitive skin. Many topical products, such as moisturizers, can cause some people to suffer mild allergic reactions, often marked by redness, tiny red bumps, or itchiness. In most cases, people with sensitive skin know that products, especially those containing specific fragrances, cause these reactions and look for hypoallergenic products.

Hypoallergenic moisturizers are designed for people with a sensitivity to allergies.
Hypoallergenic moisturizers are designed for people with a sensitivity to allergies.

A hypoallergenic moisturizer, whether for face or body, is different from a noncomedogenic moisturizer. A noncomedogenic product is designed to not clog pores and thus, decreases the likelihood of trapping bacteria within the pores, which can lead to acne breakouts. Different though these two terms are, many facial products, including moisturizers, are both hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic. These combination skin products are ideal for people who suffer from sensitive skin and frequent acne breakouts.

A hypoallergenic moisturizer.
A hypoallergenic moisturizer.

The skin on one’s face may be more sensitive than the skin on the rest of the body. Though hypoallergenic facial moisturizers are almost always recommended, they are frequently fragrance-free or only lightly scented. People who enjoy scented body moisturizers and lotions, may find that they can use any body lotion, but require hypoallergenic moisturizer for their face. The best way to discover if you are sensitive to a product is to try it on the legs or arms before trying it on the face.

Hypoallergenic moisturizers that are fragrance-free are often best for people whose skin is easily irritated.
Hypoallergenic moisturizers that are fragrance-free are often best for people whose skin is easily irritated.

While considering scent, remember that a hypoallergenic moisturizer may not be completely allergen-free. Some people are simply sensitive to any variety of artificial fragrances and any scent at all could bring about sneezing, watery eyes, or runny nose, all triggered by histamines. If you know you are this sensitive to fragrances, look for a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to reduce the chances of having a reaction.

Some individuals' allergies can be triggered by fragrances and allergens in moisturizers, leading to symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose.
Some individuals' allergies can be triggered by fragrances and allergens in moisturizers, leading to symptoms like sneezing and a runny nose.

If you have known allergies, remember to read the labels of products, even those bearing a hypoallergenic description. Though a hypoallergenic moisturizer may contain ingredients and chemicals unlikely to cause an allergic reaction, there could still be an ingredient that is aggravating to allergy sufferers. People suffering from specific skin conditions, like rosacea, should always use hypoallergenic skin products to avoid further aggravating their condition.

To prevent future skin conditions, also look for skin products and moisturizers containing at least a SPF of 15. Many facial moisturizers do include some sun protection, but many sunscreens higher than SPF 15 can clog pores, so be sure to read labels and compare products if you suffer from acne or other skin conditions. Using products marked hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic are the least likely to cause irritation, but it's important to protect your skin from the sun as well.

People with rosacea should always use hypoallergenic products.
People with rosacea should always use hypoallergenic products.

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