Skin Health
Validated Skin Safety: Under 0.1% Reported Reactions In 30 Years
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Skin care claims can be pretty intense—look 10 years younger in days! Change your DNA! Really natural! Really, really safer! It can be hard to distinguish fluff from the stuff you can trust. Particularly for sensitive skin conditions, an objective method of proving the hypoallergenicity (the reduced likelihood of a formulation to cause a reaction) has long been considered an important goal.

At VMV Hypoallergenics, it’s been fundamental that evidence-based science backs our claims. We have over 75 clinical studies published and presented—that’s over 75 studies that leading minds in the clinical and academic skin sciences have judged worthy of medical circulation—in top dermatology journals, books and conventions around the world. Our studies are so good, some of the largest multinational pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies hire us to innovate new formulations, and to do research and clinical studies for them.



Our latest paper, “The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions” is on our VH-Rating System, and shows the thirty year evolution of this groundbreaking rating system that our founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist created. In many ways, it is our crowning glory. Published in the March/April 2011 issue of Dermatitis, the journal of the American Contact Dermatitis Society, it concludes: “The VH Rating System is shown to objectively validate the hypoallergenic cosmetics claim.”

The objective of this study was to show how the VH-Rating System  rates cosmetic hypoallergenicity and to compare the prevalence of cosmetic contact dermatitis among users of regular cosmetics versus cosmetics with high VH (Validated Hypoallergenic) numbers. The conclusion was that the VH-Rating system—properly updated and implemented and with postmarketing surveillance of products that follow the system—is a valid method for proving hypoallergenic claims made on cosmetic labels.



This has never been more important. According to Dr. Verallo-Rowell, “more than one in five Americans (22% of the population), react to ingredients commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. This is a huge increase, compared to 5.4% of the population that had reactions less than 30 years ago.” 

With the term “hypoallergenic” used indiscriminately and frequently confused with “dermatologist tested”, “skin safe” and “natural,” this is a landmark study proving the VH-Rating System’s legitimacy at validating (proving) the hypoallergenic claim. 

The data confirmed that VMV products had less than 0.1% — not less than 1 percent; less than zero point 1 percent — of reactions reported in 30 years. With VH-Ratings clearly marked on products, it seems consumers were better informed and, if they had a history of skin sensitivity, could choose products with higher VH-Ratings (less allergens). From the company’s point of view, tracking allergens and omitting them from formulations significantly decreased the likelihood of reactions. The study’s data, spanning 30 years, corroborates the company’s own observations that VH-Numbers can significantly reduce the risk of cosmetic contact dermatitis and other reactions in consumers.



Similar to SPF ratings (VH = Validated Hypoallergenic), a product’s VH Number rates or “grades” a product’s safety based on how many allergens it does not contain. As a reference VMV Hypoallergenics uses the lists of allergens compiled and published by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies. There are now 109 top allergens that are ingredients frequently found in cosmetics, or common cross-reactants/contaminants of cosmetics. VMV’s products are free of most or all 109 allergens, showing a VH rating of VH-109/109 (Validated Hypoallergenic MINUS 109 allergens over 109 top allergens). Products that contain a common allergen would show as VH -108/109* (the asterisk corresponds to the allergen, underlined for easy visibility, on the ingredients list) and so forth, giving the consumer far more information regarding allergen presence at a glance.

Uniquely, VMV continuously reviews studies and reformulates products if even just one ingredient becomes identified as an allergen.

Says CC Verallo Rowell, Director of VMV USA and daughter of the brand’s founder (VMV is still a family company with the original founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist, two daughters and a son-in-law working for the firm), “we are proud that our years of research on this topic have been proven to validate cosmetics hypoallergenic claims and that we can offer help to people with skin allergies.” Adds Laura Verallo de Bertotto, VMV CEO, “This data does not mean that reactions to our products are impossible. We are all individuals and someone can be sensitive to an ingredient that is not yet an allergen. But the VH-Rating does three important things: it helps us as a brand have an objective reference for allergens so we know what not to use in our products — we’ve gotten so good at this that we can frequently predict what’s going to be listed as an allergen soon and begin to reformulate if need be; it helps customers clearly identify which of our products they can and cannot use based on their patch test results; and it does significantly reduce the chances of a reaction.”



To ensure that VMV can continue to provide the safest care “from head to toe and diapers to dermabrasion”, the brand offers an extensive line of skin and beauty products to meet the needs of any individual, making it great for people with extremely sensitive skin who have trouble finding skin care, makeup, hair care, anti-aging regimens, baby products or even toothpaste and deodorant that won’t irritate skin. It is important to note that skin safety is not just for people with known allergies—using safer skin care has been proven to:

1) Prevent more skin damage and inflammation, the root of many skin problems, from acne to aging, dark spots and even specific skin diseases; and 

2) Improve the results of active treatments by reducing the risk of exposure to triggers of the problem, and by reducing irritations, making active treatments safer and more comfortable to use for longer periods, which greatly increases their efficacy.


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.

Dermatitis is the journal of the American Dermatitis Society and is one of the most respected peer-reviewed medical journals.

VMV Hypoallergenics is included in the American Contact Dermatitis Society’s CAMP (Contact Allergen Management Program) as a safer alternative.


Click here for more on the VH-Rating System

Click here for more on Hypoallergenicity

Click here for more on how hypoallergenicity can help even if you don’t have sensitive skin, have acne or pigmentations, or just want a good anti-aging cream

Click here for more on Patch Tests

Click here for more on VMV HYPOALLERGENICS®