Product labels in skin care need much discussion.
Every therapist, Aesthetic physician, or practitioner has the right to scrutinize ingredients on product labels. Still, very few understand what they are looking at the outside of a few well-known buzz ingredients or plants.
In the old days, “clouding” labels to fool the buyer that product was a great deal more than it was proved to be valuable when the manufacturer wanted to maintain trade secrets and avoid being copied easily.
But in the last two decades, both EU regulations and the FDA have become extremely rigid—many independent lab testings are required before a product is allowed to be marketed.
Contribution By Danné Montague King
Danné Montague-King is the founder of DMK Skin Care, which is based on his “remove, rebuild, protect, maintain” concept. He is a known educator, author, and presenter.
“There are no secret formulas, no special techniques from abroad and no miracle scientific breakthroughs that alleviate all skin conditions, including aging.”
Product Testing For Product Labels
I go the extra mile beyond these rules at DMK. DMK has an in-house SASO inspector, and we always do RIPT testing on every formula that I’ve come up with—making double and even triple sure all our tools are pharmaceutical grade and safe. These last two are unnecessary, but it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when on the world stage!
FDA Approval of Product Labels
It is not the function of the FDA to approve the efficacy of a product, whether it is effective or a harmless placebo crème, gel, or lotion. The FDA is only concerned that it is generally safe for human use.
Yet, for decades, many companies have emblazoned the words “FDA APPROVED” all over their containers, suggesting the product is somehow superior and indeed highly effective in backing up their marketing claims!
The Category Is What Is A Cosmeceutical?
Danne’s Story About A Cosmeceutical Lie
Another example of these terms is made up of whole cloth to sound like a vital category or even bureau in our industry! The biggest culprit is “Cosmeceutical.”
Many years ago, I was interviewed in the UK by 15 different radio talk shows scattered about England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland—from BBC headquarters in London.
The promotional material sent out in advance to the talk show hosts was ‘Danne Montague-King the Godfather of Cosmeceuticals and how to control acne!”When I saw this promo, I was furious! How dare they give me that phony title?
When you are being interviewed via radio from one studio, you have less than a minute to suss out your host and how they are before you are on air! As you all know, favorite talk show hosts have their particular style of interviewing guests!
Some are jocular and “goosy,” making a joke of everything when they can. Others, thinking they have a terrific dry wit, can be sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek, while the rest are severe and even aggressive when they feel their guests are “full of it” and trying to use the media platform as a big infomercial!
I personally prefer the latter-but over the years, I have learned to quickly see which type I am dealing with and respond while getting my core message across to the listening audience.
The trick is to interview the interviewer-get them to talk about themselves.
In this case, it was easy: “Tell me, Danne King, how does it feel to be the Godfather of Cosmeceuticals?”
I responded in a loud voice, ‘It’s a damn lie! There is no such thing!”
Taken back by this – and with much hemming and hawing – they are asked to explain?
I then went on to tell them this was a made-up American buzzword initially put together to lead consumers to believe that certain skin products were “medically formulated” or produced in a licensed pharmaceutical lab—thus somehow being better than “ordinary” cosmetics.
The joke here is that many topical drug products issued by prescription only have, in my opinion, a lousy cosmetic base in which the active drug is contained –the focus being on the drug itself.
Fascinated by this angry barrage from me, the hosts started to ask me off-script questions about the second subject in the promo material, acne and all its insidious forms—and I was off to the races! I took over the entire interview 15 times! Needless to say, I was exhausted after 4 hours but gratified that the call-in feedback was enormous! The phone at our flagship clinic at #1 Harley Street rang off the hook for days!
Some Thoughts On Product Labels
The point of this is that a. words count, and b. products must mean something. How often have we seen the product label, “GLUTEN FREE” on watermelons at the store and laughed!
Product Labels can be and are misleading.
A good product label usually lists its ingredients, active or inert, in descending order according to the percentage of the ingredient being used, which is why you will see purified water at the top of many labels.
However, all the ACTIVE ingredients, IE: plant extracts with potent chemical activity and inactive ingredients, are not always near the top.
Ingredients less than 1% can be placed anywhere the manufacturer pleases on the label, yet even these can be part of the inert base or highly active at a small percentage.
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Product Efficacy Factors
Even after, the product’s efficacy depends not so much on the PERCENT of the ingredients but the source!
How were they farmed (in the case of herbs etc.) How are they processed once harvested? How are they formulated in synergy with other ingredients, and lastly, do the skin cells recognize them as part of their own cellular needs or organic makeup?
Anything that is NOT recognized by the skin cells as essential or necessary for its life and maintenance is rejected; thus, nothing happens positive or negative, or defense mechanisms set up contraindications.
Just remember, as a professional, you have the right to research, scrutinize or examine any company offering miracles in a jar. If you feel your queries are brushed off, or no real education outside product knowledge is provided—run the other way!