Dermatologist makeup advice
Beauty buzzwords can comprise big business, including product
adjectives such as regenerating, anti-wrinkle, hydrating, dermatologist
So, what do they really mean?
Dr. Oanh Lauring, a dermatologist at Baltimore's Mercy Medical
Center, helped explain the meaning behind the over-the-counter cosmetic
If you've ever noticed the words "dermatologist recommended" on the
label, Lauring said that's probably based on a product survey.
"It could be one dermatologist, could be 90 percent of them, it has
very little meaning," Lauring said. "There's no governing body
requiring (cosmetics makers) to show any kind of data, whether one
dermatologist tested it or a bunch of them tested it, or how it was
What about the phrase "skin organics?"
"Most people would think that it comes from some kind of natural
product that hasn't been messed around with ... but it really doesn't
have a whole lot of meaning," Lauring said.
Does "hydrating" mean products will add moisture to your skin?
"All they do is protect the amount of water that's already in your skin and prevent that from being lost," Lauring said.
Hypoallergenic is a word often seen on many products, but if you
think it's allergy-free, Lauring said: "There's no such thing as a
topical that's not going to give people allergies."
Lauring said that's because each person's skin reacts differently to
products, and if you're wondering about "fragrance free" cosmetics, she
said: "Fragrance free just means that you can't smell it. They can put
other things in there that can mask the fragrance."
As for skin products that claim they are "regenerating," Lauring
said, "It seems like they're suggesting that by using this product, it
somehow increases your skin's ability to replenish the top skin layer,
and as far as I know, skin layers pretty much replenish on their cycle."
Lauring said there's nothing that can make your skin regenerate faster, with the exception of some prescription medications.
As for products that say "antiwrinkle," Lauring said it depends on
the ingredients. Otherwise, it's just another buzzword to get you to
"I do like the antiwrinkle line, you know, you don't know if it's
going to work, but you hope that it does," said Rachel Moses, a
When asked about the word "firming," Lauring said, "I have no idea
... It says 'noticeably firmer in two weeks.' I am not aware of
anything topically that can firm your skin up in two weeks, so that's a
pretty bold claim."
Instead of buzzwords, Lauring said consumers should read the
product's ingredients, which are listed in descending order --
ingredients in the greatest amounts are listed first and the smallest
amounts are last.
"The two things I would invest money in is a really good sunscreen
and, No. 2, a product that has some kind of retinol ingredient in it,"
Lauring said consumers should not expect products to work instantly; give it a month or two.
Eyelashes Need Moisturizing?
Moving from skin-care products to cosmetics, like mascara, consumers
can find some that claim to be "nourishing" -- so, do your eyelashes
need to be nourished?
"Eyelashes, in general, aren't dried out like you think of with
hair," Lauring said. "We get split ends, but eyelashes, we tend to not
What is important is to use waterproof mascara because, Lauring
said, it tends to be less irritating and causes fewer infections.