What Does Hypoallergenic Really Mean?

What Does Hypoallergenic Really Mean?

By Jill Burke
When you think of the word "hypoallergenic," you probably think of your poodle, your cosmetics, and your titanium earrings. But what does hypoallergenic actually mean, and why are hypoallergenic earrings so important?
If you look up the definition of hypoallergenic, you'll find that the word means "unlikely to cause an allergic reaction." However, you'll also find that "the U.S. government doesn’t have standards that products must meet in order to put “hypoallergenic" on the label" (Web MD). This means that companies can list their products as being "hypoallergenic" without having to meet any requirements to prove it.
Seems like a bit of an oversight on the FDA's part, but regardless, there are other ways to double check that your earrings won't cause an allergic reaction. How? I'm glad you asked.
1. Look for Hypoallergenic Materials
This may require a bit of research, but you can be sure that titanium is your best bet when it comes to ensuring a biocompatible pair of earrings. Titanium is used in medical implants for this very reason: it can coexist in harmony with the human body. Niobium is also a suitable alternative.
2. Know that Gold isn't the Gold Standard
You might be thinking, isn't gold jewelry hypoallergenic? And the answer is... sort of. Pure gold may not cause an allergic reaction, but anything below 24 Karat gold is an alloy, which means it contains other metals. These other metals can irritate the skin if they are coming into contact with it, even if there are only trace amounts of them.
3. Beware of Cheap Jewelry
In general, earrings that come in a pack are probably going to cause an allergic reaction. Nickel is one of the most common allergens in the world, and it is extremely common in costume/fashion jewelry.
So there you have it. Hypoallergenic earrings are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction and are usually made of titanium or niobium. And lucky for you, there's a whole lot of cute new styles available at Tini Lux!




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