Is there something unique about a therapeutic moisturizer?

February 4, 2016

Therapeutic is an interesting consumer word that really has no medical meaning, but possesses tremendous marketing caché.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.Is there something unique about a therapeutic moisturizer?

Therapeutic is an interesting consumer word that really has no medical meaning, but possesses tremendous marketing caché. To most, the word therapeutic conveys the idea that the product somehow performs better than standard products, more closely resembling a drug delivering visible improvement.

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There really is nothing special about a therapeutic moisturizer and there are no guidelines defining the end result a therapeutic moisturizer should provide. Many companies use the word therapeutic to justify a higher price point. A survey of several therapeutic moisturizers reveals that they generally have a higher viscosity. While a higher viscosity, meaning a thicker product, might mean the formulation possesses more barrier repair ingredients, this is not necessarily the case. Thickeners can be added that possess no ability to reduce transepidermal water loss. Thus, there is nothing unique about a therapeutic moisturizer.