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A Professional Perspective on Clean Skincare


Dermatology experts offer their perspective on the science and claims related to so-called clean skincare and how to advise patients.

This is part 2 of a 2-part series.

Part 1: Skincare Ingredients: What Does ‘Clean’ Mean?

At last year’s Cosmetic Surgery Forum, Doris Day, MD, and S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, discussed the state of so-called “clean skincare,” offering their perspective on the related science, claims, and how to advise patients, calling much of the current consumer conversation “sensationalism.”

Their takeaways:

  • There is a lack of clear definitions and FDA regulation
  • There is no scientific evidence behind claims that use the term “clean”
  • Physicians need to own and drive the narrative, namely data over words

According to Dr. Day, “People believe that if it’s ‘natural’ and ‘clean,’ it’s healthy. In reality, most things that can hurt or kill you are natural. Everything is a chemical. No matter what you’re putting on your skin, [it’s] a chemical—whether it comes directly from nature or [is] taken from nature and synthesized in a laboratory. There isn’t a simple answer to [whether or not ‘clean’ beauty is better]. Any time you take a product and make something else out of it, you’ve transformed it. It’s no longer in its original form, [so] it’s no longer truly ‘natural.’”

So, what does this mean for the skincare professional and the patients in the cosmetic surgery or dermatology practice? Be aware of what messaging your patients are being exposed to, educate them, and take a proactive position.

“It’s imperative as skin care professionals and dermatologists to educate [patients] that this is a very new and nascent field. We need to make sure they understand that virtually nothing is known about clean, organic and natural skin care—so they should take all product claims with a grain of salt,” says Dr. Jegasothy.

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