What does dermatologically tested really mean?

The words “dermatologically tested” are seen on most beauty and skincare products, but what do those two words actually mean? A lot of confusion seems to be around the meaning of the statement, a survey of 1000 people was conducted by Health Which? and it found that people thought it meant different things, some thought it meant that the product would not cause allergies and others thinking the product was less likely to cause allergies.

The fact is the label “dermatologically tested” means different things depending on the company, this is misleading and confusing for consumers.

Sue Freeman, acting editor of Health Which? told BBC News, “The research shows that a ‘dermatologically tested’ claim on one product may mean something completely different to the same claim on another product.”

What does it mean?

The term “dermatologically tested” basically means a dermatologist has tested the products tolerance on test volunteers, however, there is no information on how the product was tested, the number of people it was tested on, or the data from the results of the tests.

The label “dermatologically tested” has no value if no further information is supplied, plus there is no standard test, so the method and results of the tests can differ significantly. The consumer would need to contact the company to ask for the results of the products being testing.

What is Involved in the Testing?

According to the European Legislation of Cosmetics, patch testing is done on healthy human volunteers in certified clinical laboratories. Patch tests help dermatologists assess the tolerability of skincare products and reveal any potential irritants and allergic effects.

During patch testing, a small amount of the product or an ingredient used in the product is applied to an occlusive patch. The patch is placed on the skin of the back of the volunteer for 48 hours.

A dermatologist will then look at the results and observe any effects on the skin caused by the product. The process is then repeated, this is known as a Human Repeated Insult Patch Test (HRIPT) this is to see how the skin reacts to constant use of the product. In this test a patch will be applied to the skin for a longer period of time, the application will be repeated multiple times over a period of 3 consecutive weeks.

Keep it Pure

If you are sceptical about skincare labelling and about the lack of information given on products regarding dermatological testing and how this may affect your skin, look for products that are organic and contain pure natural ingredients.

There are some suggested links between dermatologically tested products and animal testing. Aim for cruelty-free products that have been tested on human test subjects.

The European Legislation of Cosmetics states that as far as safety and efficiency is concerned, products must only be tested on healthy human volunteers. Try and stick to skin products suitable for your skin type, and stick to products that have been tested for safety.