Skin Health
VH-Rating: Highest Rated Hypoallergenicity
VH-Rating Highest Rated Hypoallergenicity copy
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More than ever, when we say no you win best in “glow”.The VH -Number Rating SystemVMV HYPOALLERGENICS® was the 1st to validate our hypoallergenicity through a rating system.The VH -# Rating System—which our founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist (a contact dermatitis expert) created—is still the only hypoallergenic rating system of its kind in the world. Its viability as an objective way to validate a product’s hypoallergenic claim and its efficacy at reducing contact dermatitis and other reactions is detailed in a groundbreaking study published in the Dermatitis Journal of the American Contact Dermatitis Society.1

How the VH-# Rating System Works:

  • The higher the number, the more allergens are ABSENT from a product and the better the chances that you will no develop a rash or other skin problems.
  • If a product contains an allergen, it may not be one that you are sensitive to. To be sure, check the ingredients list. Included allergens are underlined and marked by an asterisk for easy identification.
  • If you don’t know the allergens that you in particular need to avoid but have a history of skin sensitivity, just reach for the higher VH-Rated products. And consider asking your dermatologist for a patch test to learn which specific substances you need to steer clear of.
What Is Omitted?Allergens: ingredients proven to be the most likely to cause allergic or irritant reactions.

The system’s reference for allergens:

The primary reference for the VH Allergen Lists has always been the regularly published studies of the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG).

This reference is objective, independent and statistically relevant—the NACDG’s latest study2 was based on 10,000 patients in thirteen centers in North America.


VH -10

The VH -# Rating System was first used in 1988 and published in 1992.3 It was based on the results of NACDG patch test studies done with 20 allergens, 10 of which were identified as commonly present in cosmetics. The System referred to the top 10 allergens, with VH -10 (Validated Hypoallergenic minus 10) being the highest rating possible.

VH -27

The VH Number is consistently updated: as the NACDG started to increase the number of allergens it tested, the VH Number went up, too. When 27 allergens commonly present in cosmetics were identified, the highest VH Rating became VH – 27.

VH -65

The first VH Rating to refer to not just the top cosmetic allergens but all tested allergens, including substances not normally found in cosmetics. Why were these included? Because research showed that other substances present in cosmetic packaging or accessories could also cause reactions (through contact or by contaminating the formulation).

VH -76

The first VH Rating to combine the findings of both the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies.

With this combined reference, the VH -76 rating refers to the most number of allergens ever, across the widest range of countries. Beginning in 2010, all VMV HYPOALLERGENICS® products have been validated against the VH -76 Rating.

Safer Than Ever:

In 2010, in addition to the NACDG, the VH-Rating System included the findings of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA) of the European Contact Dermatitis Society.

Its latest study4 was based on patch tests on 18,000 patients in 10 European countries.

Our Commitment:

The VH-Number Rating System is effective as long as it and products are regularly updated. If just one of the ingredients we use makes the allergen lists, we reformulate to remove it. Considering the barrage of tests that we subject each raw material, ingredient and final formulation to, this is a daunting, exhaustive process that’s unique to VMV HYPOALLERGENICS®. It’s our commitment to your skin’s safety: we say no so you can glow.

Occasional Label Lag:

In an effort to provide the most hypoallergenic products possible, we periodically reformulate our products to be consistent with the latest published allergen lists of the NACDG and ESSCA. If our products remain compliant with new publications and no reformulations are necessary, we still modify our packaging to reflect the new maximum number of allergens if it has changed. As this process takes some time—and we’d rather not throw away perfectly good packaging!—this sometimes results in VH Ratings on products not yet reflecting the most current publications. If a label you’re examining shows an earlier VH reference, please Ask VMV for assistance.

1: Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97

2: Zug KA, Warshaw EM, Fowler JF, Maibach HI, Belsito DL, Pratt MD, et al. Patch-test results of the North American Contact Dermatitis Group 2005-2006. Dermatitis. 2009;20(3):149-60

3: Verallo-Rowell VM. VH number: a proposed dermatologic method for validating hypoallergenicity. Phil J Dermatol Surg 1992; 3: 21-22

4: Uter W, Ramsch C, Aberer W, Ayala F, Balato et al. The European baseline series in 10 European countries. 23005/2006 – Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis. 2009;62:31-38

For more on how the VH-Number Rating System works, click here.

Click here to learn about the VH-Rating System’s validity as a method for substantiating hypoallergenic claims.