The answer is in simple terms NOTHING!
"Hypoallergenic" is a phrase that it is meant to mean that a product is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than "non hypoallergenic" products and therefore is much gentler on sensitive and allergy prone skin.
However the truth is that as of yet there are absolutely no standardised testing procedures, guidelines or methods in the entire world that can distinguish a product as "hypoallergenic".
In a review looking at a wide number of skincare products that claimed to be "hypoallergenic" on their packaging, a group of cosmetic scientists discovered that hundreds contained major irritants prone to triggering inflammation and breakouts on sensitive and even normal skin.
Indeed a vast number of woman (and men) report having allergic reactions to "hypoallergenic" skincare products each year whether they suffer from sensitive skin or not.
The most effective products for sensitive skin are simply those that are free from all common irritants, however I know that with products often listing huge numbers of complicated sounding ingredients on the back of their packaging, it's hard to know what to try to exclude and what to keep in your skincare.
So until you become completely clued up on the good the bad and the ugly ingredients in the cosmetic world. I suggest initially trying to avoid the 2 most common irritants that regularly show up in a wide variety of skincare products: fragrance and alcohol.
Both natural and synthetically derived fragrant ingredients can be extremely irritating on your skin especially for those that are prone to breakouts or sensitivity. In addition the presence of certain alcohols such as SD and Isopropyl can cause irritation that leads to dryness and inflammation of the skin so I really recommend avoiding products that list either of these ingredients.
If you suffer from sensitive or extremely sensitive skin it is always advisable to consult your GP or a dermatologist on the issue and undertake further research into the exact ingredients a product contains before applying it to your skin.
Bottom line... don't fall for cosmetic industry buzzwords. If you don't 100% understand what a products claim means such as "hypoallergenic" or "cosmeceutical" discount it and judge the product by its ingredient content and not what's on the outside.
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