Some of us walk around au naturel on a regular basis, meaning we eschew makeup for a fresh, bare face. To achieve this look, it’s safe to say there’s a minimalistic skin care routine involved. This could include a gentle cleanser, a light moisturizer or SPF cream. Some days may require some subtle concealer or coverup to hide blemishes and even out your complexion.
The point is, whether you’re using one product or more on your skin, there are reactions to be wary of.
Individuals with sensitive skin are more prone to developing reactions due to allergens found in skin care and makeup products. This can include redness, skin irritation, itchiness or a breakout shortly after application. These are all common side effects that indicate an adverse skin reaction to a topical product. It’s a smart idea to test new makeup products, such as concealers or blush, on a small area of skin first and wait to see if it’s safe before applying freely.
However, putting yourself at risk of developing skin irritation or acne whenever you wish to try a new blush or eyeliner is a hassle and can be worrisome, should you get a bad reaction after use. Using hypoallergenic makeup, which is considered to be less likely to cause an allergic reaction or irritate the skin, may decrease the risk of developing skin complications and offer more protection.
What is hypoallergenic makeup?
“Hypoallergenic” as a term indicates that something is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction or contains fewer allergens. This is especially important, as many topicals we use every day, including makeup, deodorant, soaps, cleansers and mouthwash have ingredients that are known to trigger a skin allergy.
Hypoallergenic makeup is known to be gentler on the skin and thus less likely to cause an allergic reaction, which is why it might help people with known allergies in products or who have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated when exposed to new substances. The same goes for those who have skin conditions, like psoriasis and eczema, which might trigger allergy symptoms and an adverse reaction.
Who might benefit most from hypoallergenic skin care?
Generally, these products and cosmetics produce fewer allergic reactions than other products in the same category, but it’s important to note that this is also a manufacturer claim, and there isn’t real evidence to back it up.
“There is no testing or any standard that this claim is required to meet in order to be labeled as such,” says board-certified dermatologist and CEO and Founder of AmberNoon, Erum N. Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD.
Without FDA processing or testing of products required, it’s hard to know if it’s credible. There might be an internal standard for use within a specific brand or company that can back up the claim, but there’s no way to know for sure. In fact, Dr. Ilyas says that during allergy patch testing, sometimes she finds products labeled as hypoallergenic to actually contain ingredients that are known allergens.
Still though, if you find that hypoallergenic makeup doesn’t negatively impact your skin, it’s safe to use, and if you do find improvements with use, then it’s well worth the swap! Consumers with very sensitive skin, and even those with normal skin, may benefit from products labeled as hypoallergenic, with the assumption that to some degree they are gentler on the skin. And if you’ve tried hypoallergenic products in the past and found success, then you’ve got an answer right there in terms of personal efficiency.
Are there drawbacks to using hypoallergenic makeup?
“It’s important to recognize that any product, including those that are hypoallergenic, has a potential to be irritating to the skin or to induce an allergy,” says Anna H. Chacon, M.D. a board-certified dermatologist and author. For some, these products can dry the skin and cause irritation.
Remember, without a known claim for its ability to be gentle, it’s individualized in terms of skin reaction, effects and tolerance. The offenders might include sodium laureth sulfate, often found in soaps and cleansers, and bleach solutions. “These products can directly break down the skin causing it to dry excessively,” says Dr. Ilyas.
Yet, good properties to look for include not just hypoallergenic, but also non-comedogenic. “This means that they will not clog your pores, and when with other ingredients, such as niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, they can be very moisturizing, as they’re known to be cosmeceuticals,” says Dr. Chacon.
Hyaluronic acid in particular is great for anti-aging and moisture.
How to support skin health with hypoallergenic makeup
To support a hypoallergenic skin care and makeup routine, Dr. Chacon advises using a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunscreen, exfoliation and serum. Then with hypoallergenic products and makeup, you’ll be able to retain moisture as best as possible and keep skin fresh.
Dr. Chacon also uses hypoallergenic makeup herself, or at least some product she’s tested before on a small body part, such as the pomelo hand, for makeup application and product. It’s important to remove makeup before going to bed, as it can cake on your face and lead to acne and breakouts. Dr. Chacon advises removing makeup with micellar water or a makeup remover cream.
Best hypoallergenic makeup products to choose from
“GLO naturals BB cream is a great makeup multitasker that keeps skin looking fresh, while also hydrating, brightening, protecting, renewing and smoothing imperfections and also evening out the skin tone,” says Dr. Chacon. This one comes in a medium hue.
Everyday Minerals Base Powder Foundation
“This particular mineral-based powder contains titanium dioxide, an ingredient that is a physical blocker and helps to give coverage,” says Dr. Chacon. Plus, it’s available in various tones and colors, so you’re best able to blend your complexion for a natural look.