Should I buy hypoallergenic skin cleansers?

Are hypoallergenic skin cleansers better for sensitive skin?
Are hypoallergenic skin cleansers better for sensitive skin?
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Skin cleansers are supposed to make your skin look and feel better, not give you a rash. But many of them contain fragrances and preservatives that can cause allergic reactions, especially among people with sensitive skin. In fact, soap is one of the most likely beauty products out there to cause a skin reaction. If you can't seem to get clean without irritating your skin, you might want to try a hypoallergenic skin cleanser.

Here's what you need to know. The term hypoallergenic doesn't mean allergy-free. It just means that a product is less likely to cause an allergy. Usually, it's milder because it doesn't contain any fragrances, artificial preservatives or coloring agents. Hypoallergenic soaps also tend to use milder surfactants, which are the ingredients that allow the soap to clean. That can come in handy if you have delicate skin. It's important to keep in mind, however, that just because something is hypoallergenic doesn't mean that the ingredients in it won't dry you out or cause some type of irritation.

If you're allergic to most soaps, a hypoallergenic skin cleanser might be a necessity. Otherwise, it's a simple matter of personal preference. Try using a hypoallergenic cleanser to see if you like it. If your skin feels better afterward, you might as well keep using it. If not, try different cleansers until you find the one that works best for you. Make a note of the ingredients in each one and try to narrow down what you do and don't like. If you already know specifically what you're allergic to, it's important to check the list of ingredients.

For a lot more information on skin cleansers, check out the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Nazario, Brunilda MD. "Skin Reactions to Beauty Products." WebMD. January 29, 2009. (Accessed 09/15/2009)
  • Shai, Avi, et al. "Handbook of Cosmetic Skin Care." Google Books. 2001. (Accessed 09/15/2009)