What does ‘clinically proven’ mean to you? Does it suggest a particular image? Is it one of a group of white-coated scientists in laboratories, dashing feverishly around and pouring things in and out of glass beakers?
Do the words instil confidence in you? And is the fact that Skingredients is clinically tested important to you – even if you’re not sure what it means? If it is, then don’t worry – you’re not alone.
Somewhere out there, the laboratory of our imagination exists, but it’s not always the one which might have signed off on the sale of our favourite beauty or skincare products. The term ‘clinically proven’ or the associated term, ‘clinically tested’ are not protected terms. The use of it does not assure any particular standard of testing. This is why you should always be wary of purchasing something on the basis that it’s been clinically proven. It’s a good idea to find out just what about it has been clinically proven.
So – what does clinically proven mean?
What Does Clinically Proven mean?
There is not one term which accurately defines ‘clinically proven’, although it can suggest that the product in question has undergone additional testing which is not legally required. It can often be taken a gesture that the manufacturers have gone the extra mile when it comes to product testing.
It generally suggests that anywhere from one to one million people have tested the product, and that a doctor, somewhere, has agreed that it’s okay for hooman use. This is why it’s so important to confirm what a product is truly promising (and what it can prove) before you take it at face value.
In the case of Skingredients, it’s cruelty-free and fragrance-free, but it’s important to look at the real rock star ingredients of the products and see what we can accurately confirm about them. We can rave about the patented anti-itch, anti-histaminic ingredient in Skin Good Fats, but when we say our products are clinically tested, you don’t know the full extent to which an ingredient will have undergone rigorous testing unless we tell you. That’s why we’ll tell you.
What Types of Clinical Testing Are There?
Two terms you might have heard when it comes to clinical testing are ‘in vitro’ and ‘in vivo’. In vitro means ‘on glass’, like samples on petri-dishes in labs, and in vivo means testing on living organisms – largely hoomans like us.
There’s other testing, too. Dermatological testing is key when it comes to skincare. All of the Skingredients range is dermatologically-tested. Skincare doesn’t actually have to be dermatologically-tested, FYI. It’s to each brand’s discretion.
Ocular testing is another consideration when it comes to clinical testing. This ensures that the products are suitable for use on the eyes. Of the Skingredients range, PreProbiotic Cleanse, Skin Veg, Skin Protein, Skin Good Fats and Skin Shield are all ocular-tested and safe for use on the eye area (but not on the eyeballs, obviously), because we wanted PrePro to be suitable for use to remove eye makeup, and we wanted the other products to provide as much protection and benefit as possible. In our opinion, eye creams aren’t strictly necessary if you’re getting ingredients like peptides, vitamins and antioxidants around the eye area.
Let’s take a closer look at Skingredients Skin Good Fats in particular, and the testing which it has undergone…
Skingredients Good Fats Clinical Testing
One of the rock star ingredients in Skin Good Fats is an anti-histaminic avenanthramide (a specific compound found in things like oats). This means that it combats the reaction caused by histamines which can lead to skin irritation. We created the product Skin Good Fats, but this ingredient is one which we chose to be part of the formula, and which was created by some smart beans in a laboratory. They put it through rigorous testing, both in vitro and in vivo, and happily provided us with the clinical results. This showed the response between participants who applied a formulation of this extract on to irritated skin, or skin undergoing a histamine response.
The makers of the anti-histaminic which we use were able to conclude that is has in vivo activity against histamine related skin disorders – meaning that it soothed irritated skin when applied topically. We formulated each individual Skingredients product to do a different job, and one of the functions of Skin Good Fats is to be soothing to dry or irritated skin. You can see why it would be so important for us to have studies supporting the ingredient’s claims to being skin-soothing!
Clinical Testing On Ceramide NP
There have also been studies carried out on ceramide NP, another of the rock star ingredients of Skin Good Fats, which the makers were able to pass on to our team. These studies are able to show proof that application of ceramide NP can result in a decrease of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) of damaged or inflamed skin. TEWL is the amount of water which evaporates through skin and is useful in analysing the skin’s barrier function. Their findings show this ingredient to be helpful in improving the moisture balance of the skin, which is one of the things we were trying to achieve with Skin Good Fats.
What Does Our Pro-Collagen Peptide Do?
Another one of our rock star ingredients is a pro-collagen peptide in several products in our Skingredients range. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, but it begins to decrease as we age. In our products, our pro-collagen peptide works to lessen the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet. Testing showed it to be more effective after 56 days than placebo or related ingredients in smoothing the skin, and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
The manufacturers of our pro-collagen peptide were able to prove that use of it reduced wrinkles by decreasing negative volume by 21.1%, and positive volume by 27%. It also boosts collagen synthesis, which is more good news for Skin Protein and Skin Veg, both of which work to decrease the signs of ageing as one of their many functions.
Other Brands and Clinical Trials
Reading The Small Print
As a dermatologist and pharmacist, the founder of Murad, Dr. Murad, brought medical and scientific philosophy to bear on the products designed and sold by Murad. The products can be observed in many clinical trials which can be read online.
NeoStrata has a page of their website dedicated to information on their clinical trials and scientific publications. In fact, the creators of NeoStrata, Dr. Eugene Van Scott and Dr. Ruey Yu, worked first of all as collaborators working on alpha hydroxy acids and the effects which they have on skin. They created NeoStrata in 1998 to create skincare based on their discoveries. They continued to research and perfect formulations including alpha hydroxy acids, polyhydroxy acids, and lactobionic acid, to name but a few!
SkinCeuticals successfully patented the formulation for SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic blend. This antioxidant topical vitamin C helps to neutralise pesky free radicals and improve the appearance of skin. The active ingredients in this serum can be difficult to balance and difficult to keep effective after opening, and so SkinCeuticals patented the version which they deemed most successful, with one of the longest shelf-lives available. The research and testing across their serums and products is rigorous, and can also be investigated on their website.
These companies are able to show their rigorous testing as a means of proving to customers that they’re the right choice for them. In their cases, the proof is in the pudding – or rather, in the multitude of clinical trials. These brands don’t use the term ‘clinically proven’ very lightly. You’re invited to research the results yourself.
Should I Only Choose Products Which Are Clinically Proven?
This is a risky stance to take – it’s a real game of chance, because, as we have shown, the beauty industry particularly can take huge liberties with this term.
It would be wiser to investigate products carefully and to see what kind of testing the products have undergone, and what in particular you are concerned about when it comes to use. Perhaps you want assurance that your chosen products are ocular-safe, pregnancy-friendly or safe for babies or children. These are all considerations which you might take into account, and are not guaranteed by the oft-bandied term ‘clinically proven’.
You might still be saying to yourself, ‘ok, but still … what does clinically proven mean?’ The short and long answer are the same – it’s a matter of opinion.
We could do with stronger regulation around the terms. Skingredients takes its burden of care to clients very seriously, and we always want to be open about the abilities and limitations of our Skingredients range, but most importantly, we want to talk about all things skin.
The best way to tell if your products are working for you is to check the response of your own skin. If it’s improving – then the products are doing their work for you. We always encourage people to take progress photos, as a means of tracking their skin journey. If you’re a member of Nerd Network, then you’ll notice a function on your homepage for uploading your progress pics to your account. These can be really useful in measuring if the product that you’re using are making a clear difference to the appearance of your skin over time. Remember – skin cycles last approximately 28 days, so it’ll take that long to see a true difference.
If you ever have any questions about any Skingredients products, we always want to hear. You can contact us by messaging us, or using the live chat function on our website. We’re always ready to lend a big, clinically-obsessed ear.