We have developed this Q&A based on some of the most frequently asked questions we receive.

Q: Why don’t you have a list that clearly identifies which chemicals can be approved for certification?

A: While we do have a negative list that includes some chemicals that are always rejected, the issue of contact dermatitis/skin allergy is not simply black and white. Contact dermatitis is concentration dependent, meaning that some chemicals can be allergenic in high concentrations, but found safe to use in low concentrations. The type of exposure can also impact the allergic risk. For example, petrolatum can be approved in an ointment for skin due to its effectiveness in treating eczema, but we cannot approve it for products used on lips due to the risk of intake.

Impurities found in certain chemicals can also vary, so even though the INCI names may be the same, the composition may differ. This is why there are instances where we as an example can approve some types of Cocamidopropyl betaine but not others due to different impurities.

The type of product the chemical is used in can also influence the allergic risk. As a result, we conduct an allergy risk assessment based on the chemicals used, their purity, concentration, and the type of product exposure. Additionally, we assess all raw materials used in a product and require a 100% composition breakdown.

Q: Why don’t you use dermatological tests?

A: Skin allergy is something that can develop over time with increased exposure. A dermatological test can only determine whether a person will react here and now and not the risk of an allergic reaction after long exposure.

Dermatological tests are made on healthy skin.  AllergyCertified products are not only intended for people looking to avoid developing skin allergies, but also for those with pre-existing allergies and/or sensitive skin.

Q: Can you guarantee that I will not have an allergic reaction to an AllergyCertified product?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot provide a guarantee when it comes to allergies. However, we have assessed not only the chemicals used in a product, but also their impurities to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction.

Q: What is the difference between AllergyCertified and chemical apps/databases when it comes to assessing chemicals

A: At AllergyCertified, we sign nondisclosure agreements with manufacturers that allow us access to information such as concentrations, raw materials, impurities, and laboratory test results, which cannot be seen by simply looking at the declaration. Based on this information, we conduct an allergy risk assessment that is specific to the exact product.

The use of apps or negative lists does not provide access to this information, and there is a risk that products may be identified as positive/green even though we cannot certify them. We have examples of products claimed to be without perfume that have come out as positive/green in apps/databases, although we rejected them due to perfume impurities found in the raw materials. Equally, we have examples of products certified by us that have been identified as red/negative in apps because the apps cannot see the concentration and, therefore, cannot determine if it is purified.

Q: Why don’t you ask for Chrome test in makeup when one is required for nickel and cobalt?

A: AllergyCertified has strict criteria that are based on scientific knowledge, and we always use risk assessments to determine whether to allow or reject a chemical or product. While it would be easy for us to simply avoid specific chemicals on a list, this would not be scientifically sound. Every time we allow or reject a chemical or product, it is based on the exact concentration, purity, and exposure. Nickel and cobalt are known to be allergenic, but in low concentrations max 1ppm even people who have allergy to nickel and cobalt can used them without allergic reactions.

As for the metal chrome there are two types of chrome of concern for our work

  • Trivalent chrome/Chrome III/Cr3
  • Hexavalent chrome/Chrome VI/Cr6

Cr3 it a natural occurring metal. It is found in nature and function as an essential nutrient in humans where it helps the body with insulin, sugar and lipid metabolism.

This type of chrome can be found as an impurity in makeup, but it rarely penetrates the skin and very seldom causes allergic reaction.

Where Cr6 usually is produced in an industrial process and used in production of stainless steel, tanning of leather, dye and pigments some metals and cement.  

This type of chrome is known to cause allergy.

So based on a risk assessment CR 3 is not a problem in makeup and thus we can allow it, where  Cr6 is a problem and thus not allowed.