‘Clinically Tested’ Skin Care Products May Not Be Tested At All

‘Clinically Tested’ Skin Care Products May Not Be Tested At All

Lotions and other skin care products often boast that they are “clinically tested” or “dermatologist tested”. These terms don’t refer to the same kinds of clinical tests that a drug would undergo, and in many cases probably mean nothing.

Photo by Shawn Campbell

A lotion that promises to do something vague like “revitalise” your skin isn’t a medical treatment, and isn’t tested as such. Timothy Caulfield explains in The Atlantic that very few independent scientists do research on skin care products, and testing is weak to nonexistent:

Phrases such as “clinically proven” or “dermatologist approved” have little meaning because they could refer to almost anything. For example, what kind of study led to the representation that a given product was clinically proven? Did the manufacturers simply ask a couple of buyers? Do not be fooled by this kind of language, particularly when … critical analysis of the claims [is] unlikely.

Likewise, he writes, beauty advice given in the media is often “a science free zone”, without any evidence behind the implied claims that products will somehow help your skin. Read the full article for more on why skin care companies’ claims go unquestioned.

The Pseudoscience of Beauty Products [The Atlantic]


  • The Checkout did a great section on this recently. They regularly pull apart all sorts of claims in a pretty interesting way.

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