Our beauty shelves and bathrooms are awash with products labelled with
the phrase ‘dermatologically tested.’ On some unconscious level this may put our mind
at ease and help file them away in the ‘good for my skin’ category; it’s easy to believe that a product that’s been effectively tested isn’t going to irritate our skin or cause unnecessary tightness. However, do we really know what this means and are we being mislead
into believing any product adorned with this statement is better for us? What does ‘dermatologically tested’ really mean and why should we take any such claim with a pinch of salt?
attempt to uncover what consumers really believed about such a commonly used phrase, consumer group 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
of respondents understood that 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 at all. In addition, 13% of people
thought it meant the product would be kind to skin, 22% thought it wouldn’t cause allergies and a further 10% thought the product would be less likely
to cause skin allergies versus a product without the claim.
Put simply, when a brand claims a product is ‘dermatologically tested’ it
means they’ve tested it on human skin. However, it doesn’t tell us what the tests undertaken were designed to show, or whether
the product even passed them. It’s an empty promise. The same claim on one product could be completely different to that of
another; there’s simply no industry standard or way of monitoring what ‘dermatologically tested’ means. It could be that they tested their new cream on fifty women at home, on ten women under strict conditions in a lab, or a hundred consumers that volunteered; 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 tend to supply their customers with details of their tests or
substantiate their claims, making them rather meaningless. 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 – but when questioned, consumers don’t even really know what it means. 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. Look at the ingredients label, hunt down any quantitative research they may have carried out, research for opinion online and get in touch with the brand for clarification. We should never take claims and buzz words at face value – always ask questions, because your skin will thank you for it.
What did you think ‘dermatologically tested’ meant? Have you been persuaded to start buying products based on this claim, or have you become a skeptical consumer?
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