It wasn’t too long ago that a number of experts in the healthcare sector decided to take on supplement makers whose unregulated products were being marketed to people who really had no idea what they were buying. We now see a similar situation brewing in the skincare industry. We are seeing the first stages of what could be an epic battle between science and marketing.
At the heart of the brewing battle are a number of ingredients that cosmetic and skincare manufacturers have been using for decades. Advocates of such ingredients say they long ago cleared FDA scrutiny and are safe for their intended uses. Those on the other side claim that the ingredients can have toxic effects on human health – especially when combined.
Is either party right or wrong? That’s ultimately up to consumers to decide via their spending habits. Until a decision is made, we can expect those in both camps to continue escalating the war of words.
Are All Chemicals Bad?
Two of the most maligned chemicals in the skincare world are parabens and phthalates. Clean living advocates bank on the fact that consumers don’t know what these two chemicals are. They then declare all parabens and phthalates toxic and not fit for use in cosmetics and skincare products. Yet science disagrees.
Scientific studies have not revealed any potential dangers associated with either of the two categories of chemicals. They say there is no proof that parabens cause cancer or that phthalates harm the reproductive and endocrine systems.
These disagreeing viewpoints lead to the inevitable question of whether all chemicals are bad or not. Under normal circumstances, most of us would say ‘no’. We are exposed to enough chemicals every day to know that not all of them are dangerous. Some of them are actually quite helpful.
When it comes to skincare and cosmetics though, consumers tend to not apply same kind of common-sense judgment. All it takes is a few fancy words strung together to convince certain groups of people that there is no such thing as a good chemical.
Marketing New Health and Beauty Products
The debate between science and marketing extends to product manufacturers as well. Take Massachusetts-based Poethique, for example. They want to be able to effectively market their products under the banner of natural skincare. And they do just that. But there’s a catch.
Poethique never comes out and says that they, as a company, are uncompromisingly against chemicals. Rather, they imply through their marketing that they believe natural skincare is a better way to go. They believe ingredients furnished by nature are more effective and more appropriate than synthetic alternatives.
Poethique is not alone in marketing itself as a natural skincare company. There are lots of others that do the same thing. The difference between Poethique and some of its competitors is transparency. Poethique lists all the ingredients of each of their products on both packaging and their website. Consumers can go look them up for themselves.
Not every manufacturer is as transparent and thorough. Some of them make claims about their natural ingredients that are, let’s say, interesting. And unfortunately, these are the kinds of manufacturers that continue to fuel the debate between science and marketing.
Science is rather adept at determining what kinds of things are harmful to human health. Modern science certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but it has a lot of them. So when science and marketing clash, the smart money goes with science. That doesn’t necessarily sit well with marketers in the skincare industry. But that’s the way it is.