Is Natural Hypoallergenic?
The short answer is: no.
And that really shouldn’t be surprising. Think of how many allergy medication commercials you see when it’s pollen season.
But does this mean natural is bad? Absolutely not! Eating natural, less processed foods is a must for your health. Using skin care with more natural, less processed ingredients is also a good idea (chemicals used in processing can be even more allergenic than the ingredient itself). But in both cases, natural does not mean hypoallergenic.
Hypoallergenic means less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Many natural substances, no matter how organic, are top allergens (substances known to cause allergic reactions). While food, dander, pollen and skin allergies operate differently (so differently that if you prick test positive to a substance the chances are that you can use it on your skin), the same logic applies: if you prick test positive to peanuts, dander or pollen, you would avoid eating them, no matter how natural or organic they are. If you patch test positive to lavender, citruses, and mint, you should avoid touching or using them, no matter how natural or organic they are.
If you haven’t yet had a patch test and you have sensitive skin or a history of reacting to skincare products, choosing products with natural ingredients could be making things worse. Many natural substances — such as tea tree oil, orange, fragrances, ylang-ylang, and eucalyptus — are top common allergens.
That said, it helps to know what you, in particular, are sensitive to. Just because something is an allergen doesn’t mean it’s one of your allergens. For example, nuts, lemons and shrimp are allergens but if you haven’t prick tested positive to them, you shouldn’t avoid them (in fact, they’re very healthy foods). Vitamin E and tea tree oil are top skin allergens but great ingredients. If you have not patch tested positive for them, you might still be able to enjoy their benefits.
Avoid trial and error, which is highly unreliable. To find out your allergens, get a patch test.
If your patch test shows you are sensitive to certain ingredients, natural or not, avoid them.
If you haven’t yet had a patch test but have sensitive skin, you’re better off choosing hypoallergenic over “natural” to prevent flare-ups, rashes, irritations and even acne, dark spots (many allergens are also photo-allergens, which react with light to cause hyperpigmentations), and chronic dryness.
On a final note: “natural” is not a regulated term so it could, theoretically, mean anything. “Organic” is well regulated but check for the official seals of the certifying authorities. “Hypoallergenic” is regulated in most markets, but not all, and standards differ. For more on the differences between “natural,” “organic” and “hypoallergenic,” check out Hypoallergenic or Natural? and watch this video in our YouTube channel.
IMPORTANT: Food allergies and skin allergies operate differently.
- For the difference between food, skin, and other types of reactions: see Skin & Food Allergies Are Not The Same Thing.
- For more on the difference between “natural,” “organic” and “hypoallergenic,” check out Hypoallergenic or Natural? and watch this video in our YouTube channel.
- For the difference between irritant and allergic reactions, see It’s Complicated: Allergic Versus Irritant Reaction.
- To learn about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity: What Is The Validated Hypoallergenic Rating System?
VMV Hypoallergenics® formulations contain none, or as close to none, of all of the 109 most common allergens (based on over 25,000 patch test results). Our VH-Rating System (the first and still the only sensitive skin “grading system”) shows you at first glance how many allergens are not in a formulation…or, if there is an allergen present, which one (if it’s not one of your allergens, you can use the product with confidence). It’s so effective, a published clinical study in a leading contact dermatitis journal shows less than 0.1% reactions reported in over 30 years.
To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.