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When it comes to skincare, we only want the "cleanest" products for our skin. But what does it mean to be clean? Clean beauty is a term resting at the top of a pyramid built entirely on buzzwords. The ingredients we put on our skin end up being absorbed, so if labels are misleading you, it's a huge cause for concern. Unfortunately, buzzwords commonly found on popular skincare labels misrepresent themselves and simply cannot live up to the proven results of medical-grade skincare. We're here to make sense of skincare labels and tell you what these words actually mean and how to spot misleading advertisements.
Let’s take a look at some of these buzz-lies:
Natural - “There’s no formal system that regulates ‘natural’ or a legal definition of what this term means,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, a dermatologist at Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City. Natural gives the idea that the product is free of harmful toxins and chemicals like phthalates and sulfates, but companies do not have to prove anything to include "natural" on the label. Unless you’re planning on using fresh ingredients for a DIY facial, 100% natural products aren’t possible. They wouldn’t last on the shelves!
Dermatologist Tested - "Dermatologist tested" can mean a wide variety of things. This could be ten people or 1000 people. "There is no legal definition of this label, and it doesn't give any specifics as to what tests were performed, who they were performed on, and what the results were. So even if there was a negative reaction, or the dermatologist was not fond of the results from a product, a brand could still choose to label their product as dermatologist-tested because, well, it technically was," says Cleure. Instead, look for products according to your specific skin care needs based on a conversation with your actual dermatologist.
Non-comedogenic - Technically, this word means that the product will not clog pores. However, "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the use of the term ‘non-comedogenic.’ If your pores are prone to clogging from heavier creams, try using something lighter. Everyone is different, so getting a proper skin assessment is key.
Open Jar Symbols / Expiration dates - The open jar symbol tells you how long the product will work after it has been opened. However, the FDA doesn't require this in all products, so not every product will have this. As a general rule of thumb, an opened product can last up to a year. If you have some old products in your cabinet, check for an expiration date and note any changes in consistency, color, and smell. This usually means the product has gone bad and would not be recommended for continued use.
Vegan/Cruelty-Free - This could mean a variety of things. Ideally, it would mean "scientific literature, non-animal testing, raw material safety testing, or controlled human-use testing to substantiate their product safety." However, this could also mean products are not currently tested on animals but are using other materials that were. The Food and Drug Administration states, "The unrestricted use of these phrases by cosmetic companies is possible because there are no legal definitions for these terms." We love products that are good for the environment and ecosystems, but there is some gray area with this label, so do your own research if this is important to you.
Collagen - Collagen is a natural substance produced by your body. In more recent years, it’s been boosted to a marketing buzzword. "It's not scientifically possible for collagen to be absorbed or penetrate the skin from the outside," says Mind Body Green. You can boost your collagen from supplements and Microneedling. The collagen needs a way to enter your skin so it can be fully absorbed. Products that have collagen in them for external use only will not give you the boost you’re looking for.
These buzzwords are enough to get your brain buzzing. If you’re looking for something that you can trust, medical-grade skincare is the best choice. This is because they have a higher volume and potency of active ingredients that are proven to make a difference in your skin. "They contain ingredients that are capable of penetrating below the top layers of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. Products sold over the counter do not affect the skin in biological ways and are unable to penetrate its upper layers," says APDERM. Despite the allure of clean beauty buzzwords, medical-grade is the skincare you can count on. Check out all our medical-grade skincare at our online shop: www.transformrxshop.com
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