What Does ‘Dermatogolically Tested’ Really Mean?

Our beauty shelves and bathrooms are awash with products labelled with the phrase ‘dermatologically tested,’ which on some level puts our minds at ease and helps us file them away in the ‘good for my skin’ category. However, do we really know what this means and are we being mislead into believing anything with this statement is better for us? In an attempt to uncover what consumers really believed, Which? surveyed over 1,000 people about label claims on cosmetics and toiletries. Asked what they thought the term ‘dermatologically tested’ meant, only a quarter believed the product had been tested on human skin.

Nearly 75% of respondents thought that ‘dermatologically tested’ could
also mean something else, or didn’t know what it meant. 13% of people
thought it meant the product is kind to skin, 22% thought the product
would not cause allergies and 10% thought the product would be unlikely
to cause skin allergies. While this is correct in a literal sense, the
term doesn’t tell us what the tests were designed to show, or whether
the product even passed the tests undertaken.

When a brand claims a product is ‘dermatologically tested’ is simply means they have tested it on human skin prior to its launch. However, the same claim on one product can be completely different to that of another; there’s simply no industry standard or way of monitoring what these claims mean. It could be that they tested their new cream on ten women at home, on fifty women in a lab, under strict conditions or under no conditions at all – in fact, it doesn’t really mean much at all. Not only is this confusing for the consumer, but it’s extremely misleading and infers qualities that may not be true or proven in any way.

Companies don’t supply their customers with details of their tests or substantiate their claims, making them rather meaningless and just another confusing statement used to shift a few more face creams. It’s become almost standard practice to add this phrase to makeup, skincare, body lotions and even hair products as a way to lure the consumer into a false sense of security. The next time you see something is ‘dermatologically tested’, make sure you look for other pointers that can prove its value and whether or not it’s right for you.

What did you think ‘Dermatogolically Tested’ meant? Have you been persuaded to start buying products based on this claim?



  1. Brittany Seel
    April 14, 2014 / 11:55 am

    I never take these claims seriously for some reason. I don't believe half the companies that claim to thoroughly test their products before they're made available to purchase. Maybe I'm too scepticalBea xBea's Beauty Blog

  2. Roo Barton
    April 14, 2014 / 12:01 pm

    To me it always just meant that it had been tested on skin, never really took it to mean that it was kind to skin – I'm always a little dubious when it comes to these sorts of claims. Roo xxMeplusmymakeup.blogspot.com

  3. becky sumner
    April 14, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    I always kind of ignored them anyway but I figured it at least meant they'd passed the test or whatever so when I found out that wasn't the case at all I was pretty shocked. There should be some sort of laws or something in place for when companies can put that on their products as it's really misleading.beckyisobel.blogspot.co.uk

  4. Anita AllThingsAnita
    April 14, 2014 / 1:15 pm

    I've never really took notice of these claims to be honest- and have simply acknowledged them. Thinking about it now, I think I'd be completely clueless as to what I think it means if I was asked in the survey.. Anita @ AllThingsAnita

  5. Emily
    April 14, 2014 / 4:26 pm

    I always thought it meant it was unlikely to aggravate allergies. Wow – you should do more debunking advertising beauty jargon, it's really useful. Emily xx // http://www.beautybunnyy.blogspot.co.uk

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