- Containing fewer allergens.
The term is used by advertisers for cosmetics, jewelry, pets, food, and so on, but it does not have a precise medical meaning. The FDA tells consumers, “There are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term hypoallergenic. The term hypoallergenic means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.”
Coined between 1950 and 1955 from hypo- + allergenic. Some say that it was coined by advertisers in 1953. Merriam-Webster puts the date at 1940.