We’ve all seen labels on all sorts of cosmetic products which proclaim that they are “dermatologist tested” and “dermatologist recommended.” So, do dermatologists really test products? Well, yes…but.
I say “but” not to scare you, but to give you a heavy dose of caution. First, the less-than-savory. All that is technically required for a brand to say this is that one dermatologist test their product and gave it their approval. And there are certainly some dermatologists out there who receive some kind of benefit from their endorsement of a product or product line, be they high-end products or drugstore.
Now, the better news. Quality lines will often have their products tested over and over again by third-party labs full of scientists and doctors who have experience working with their types of products. Keep in mind that just because someone is a dermatologist, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they spend their days seeing patients; some dedicate their lives instead to conducting cosmetic and skincare research to ensure that the products on the market aren’t harmful. These are often the dermatologists referred to in this common claim.
It is also very important to remember that when picking a product–even if it is “dermatologist tested”–if you have some ingredient sensitivities, you need to know what they are and where they’re found. Just because this product was fine on a basic, molecular level, or because it tested well in the trial groups does not mean that there’s no potential for someone who uses it to become irritated, or even allergic. That is entirely up to your genetics, my friends, and all the dermatologist testing in the world won’t change the fact that not all products are created for all people. (And that’s OK!)
There are labs out there which utilize a basic panel of tests for skincare and cosmetic products. Some brands will ask that these labs do more extensive testing than the basics, but not all brands will, and that’s not wrong. It’s the equivalent of getting an A in the class, but not doing any extra credit, so you didn’t get the A+. It’s still good work, it’s simply not extra work.
Be cautious about what you’re putting on your skin (you only have the one body!), and make yourself aware of ingredient sensitivities you may have. At the very least, you’ll come away more educated about your products…and don’t we always love to know more?