Cosmetic labels often tote the phrases “clinically proven,” “dermatologically tested,” “scientifically proven,” and similar notions. They are usually stand-alone without further explanation and, more often than not, cause more confusion than clarification.
Dermatologically Tested Skincare
Although there is no universally accepted standard for what dermatological testing can or should entail, most organizations and brands tend to agree on a few core concepts.
Dermatologically testing a product will usually involve testing the product for its potential to cause skin irritation or incite allergic reactions in a significant number of people. Such testing doesn’t necessarily require the presence of a dermatologist. The bare minimum you can assume is that the product has been tested on humans, the formula is generally safe, and most people don’t experience adverse reactions.
The most common test used to substantiate the claim “dermatologically tested” is the HRIPT test which involves repeated application of a product on the skin followed by a period of gap called a “rest period.”
The rest period is followed by a another phase, which involves the application of the new product. Then, lastly, a skin evaluation is completed to determine the product’s potential for harm and the damage or allergies it can cause.
Clinically Proven Skincare
The term “Clinically Shown” generally describes a product for which there is no scientific proof it is effective during scientific clinical trials. On the other hand, “Clinically proven” generally means that results were proven during well-controlled clinical trials to be both safe and effective. However, this is still not enough information for you to be able to make up your mind on whether or not you should use the product. First, there are certain facts you should check to make sure the validity of the claim is truly clinically proven.
The first thing to consider while judging the validity of a clinical study is to see where the study was conducted. Some brands perform the test in-house, which is a far from an objective way to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a product.
The second consideration to judge validity is to see how many subjects were enrolled in the study. Some studies are performed on a small number of subjects, with a dozen or less participants.
Another ‘bonus’ way to judge the validity of a claim is to see if the results were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. If the results were published in a peer-reviewed journal, then the article has likely been the subject of rigorous third-party review (which is in no way connected to the company) and provides assurances that the article and study adhere to high scientific standards.