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The Ingredients of Skin Care Research

By Kimberly J. Heathman
Posted: July 19, 2007

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National Women’s Health Resource Center—www.healthywomen.org

American Academy of Dermatologists—www.aad.org

American Council on Science and Health—www.acsh.org

World Health Organization—www.who.int/en

Environmental Health Agency—www.epa.gov

functions and structures of proteins. As your clients become increasingly informed about the functional benefits of active ingredients and how an ingredient works when applied to the skin, they demand more substantiated and, above all, more visible results.
        Accompanying all these new active and non-active ingredient developments are numerous articles and claims for and against the effectiveness of these elements in cosmeceutical skin treatments.
        So, how do you know what to believe, and what is valid information? Is the ingredient of focus really the next big thing, or is the information a conflict of interest or an interest in conflict? Is the ingredient a prime candidate for attack from a specific group? Is it safe or harmful, and according to whose research or agenda? Was there sensationalism promoted by the lead researcher? Was it helpful to the cause of scientific credibility in the perception of the industry and consumer?
        As you can see, there are many questions. But what really needs to be questioned is whether there’s solid science behind the claim and its research, period. Bottom line, finding out who conducted the research, how was it conducted, whether or not qualified professionals reviewed and published the research, and what was evaluated—was it actual scientific fact or opinion?—are the primary answers you need to be seeking.
        To evaluate such information, it’s important for skin care professionals to understand the difference between valid research and the faulty or incomplete analysis behind ingredient claims or mis-claims. Valid clinical research follows a standard scientific process and has its own specific “ingredients” or protocols. Understanding these processes is the key to becoming your own CSI—Cosmetic Science Investigator—and therefore learning either the truth or myth behind the cosmetic ingredient information available to you and your client, both in the media and on the Internet.