How to Analyze Cosmetic Research
Nu Skin was founded on the belief that it could develop products containing beneficial and truly effective ingredients. Guided by the motto "all of the good, none of the bad," Nu Skin actively searches for innovative and effective ingredients for its formulations. With a pledge to help you live better longer, every Nu Skin cosmetic ingredient is held to a high scientific standard to ensure its safety and efficacy. In short, every ingredient in a Nu Skin product is critical in the delivery of the best result for your skin, hair, and body.
Research Standards and Testing
Each cosmetic ingredient has a history of testing and retesting. Scientists and research centers continuously study ingredient safety and efficacy. For new scientific findings to be valid, they must be replicated and substantiated by separate, independent labs. When multiple labs receive similar results using the same conditions and variables, the findings are considered "confirmed" or "valid" to the scientific community. If the study results cannot be repeated, the study is considered unsubstantiated and preliminary.
After ingredients have been researched and approved for use, Nu Skin carefully formulates and then tests individual products. A product with the label claim "Safety-allergy-dermatologist tested" certifies that it has been tested as safe for use under the supervision of a dermatologist. In a test called RIPT (repeat insult patch test), a small amount of product is applied to a test subject's skin, and the effects are monitored for sensitivity, irritation, and allergic response.
Assessing Claims, Sources, and Controversies
Occasionally, an ingredient Nu Skin uses receives negative reviews in the media, possibly due to an isolated study. Often, this negative press is generated by a study or article taken out of context and applied to cosmetic products, grossly misrepresenting and exaggerating ingredient risks. Information extracted from scientific studies can be easily misunderstood and misquoted.
When assessing any single source or article, you should consider a few criteria:
- Author and qualifications: Is the author qualified to write on the subject? Does he or she represent independent research interests or does he or she represent a particular company's position?
- Nature of publication: Is the article published in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal or is it in a pop magazine or Internet website? Does the article advocate products of a company that does not use the ingredient in question? Is its motivation to market to or to provide information to the consumer?
- References cited: Does the article contain scientific references? Reliable sources will usually refer to other reputable research. Has the study been validated as described earlier?
- Context of research: Does the article's specific research relate to cosmetic products? Is the ingredient in question tested in a manner similar to how a product would be used and at comparable concentrations? Is the concentration of exposure in the test comparable to the exposure in a skin care product?
Some cosmetic companies position their products against major cosmetic ingredients, claiming those ingredients are hazardous to consumer health, creating "chemophobia" (fear of chemicals) in the mind of cosmetic users. These companies often use inflammatory language to try to convince consumers that other companies that use these ingredients are deceiving the public and misrepresenting the truth, even though these ingredients have been repeatedly tested for safety and have been used for decades by millions of individuals without ill effects. It is important, in particular, to be alert to the following when deciphering marketing lingo:
- Natural vs. chemical: Many beneficial ingredients are both chemical and natural. The "all natural, chemical-free" slogan does not always mean safer or more beneficial. Many natural ingredients have not been safety tested, and their effects on the skin are undocumented.
- Preservatives: Most products contain some form of preservatives, usually in very low levels, to prevent microbial growth and thus protect cosmetic products from spoilage and the consumer from infection. Without these ingredients, products become contaminated and pose a possible health threat to consumers.
- Alcohol-free: The alcohol in "alcohol-free" refers to ethyl alcohol, which is the harshest alcohol on skin. Many other alcohols actually moisturize the skin.
As with any topic that generates a lot of opinions, it is important to understand and consider sources that provide accurate and reliable information. Consumers can rely on several sources of information to thoroughly investigate and monitor ongoing research.
- The FDA: The Food and Drug Administration is the federal department responsible for regulating the safety and efficacy of all food and drugs sold in the United States.
- The CTFA: The Cosmetic Toiletries and Fragrance Association provides specific information on ingredient safety through the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an independent panel of renowned physicians and scientists that has assessed ingredients used in cosmetics since 1976.
- Other good sources include: American Academy of Dermatologists (www.aad.org), World Health Organization (www.who.int/en/), and the Environmental Health Agency (www.epa.gov).
Nu Skin's Commitment
Nu Skin Enterprises, with more than 20 years of experience in the cosmetic industry, offers a proven commitment to product research and development. Nu Skin continuously monitors ingredient research to maintain the highest standard of safety and quality. The ingredients Nu Skin uses to formulate its products offer tremendous benefits to consumers when used as directed.
If you have questions about any specific product or ingredient, Nu Skin Product Support is always happy to take your call or email.