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Is Cosmetics Science Really "Bad"? Part III: Evidence to Support Claims in the Real World
By: Johann W. Wiechers, PhD, JW Solutions
Posted: January 4, 2010
page 3 of 4
This author has not encountered such blatant mistakes in cosmetic science, although differences of opinion do exist. Placebo-controlled studies can be used as an example of this sixth question. Academics claim that scientists should test against a placebo to show whether an active or a drug works. Suppliers of active ingredients like to show that the active or drug works as well; however, cosmetic manufacturers want to show that their products as a whole work. The cosmetic manufacturers test against untreated skin or against a normal skin care regimen, but consumer organizations subsequently tell the cosmetics industry that the work is not done properly. Why?
Consumers want to know whether the addition of an expensive active ingredient is justified. They therefore wonder to which extent the observed effect can be explained from the cheaper placebo alone; a totally justified question but not a reason for claim substantiation research. After all, if the active had no additional clinical benefit over the placebo, why would the cosmetic industry not sell the placebo to consumers at less production cost, the same market price, and a higher profit margin?
Therefore, cosmetic science is doing quite well on Shermer's sixth question but the industry failed on the fourth and fifth questions, resulting in a score that is not very positive for the cosmetics industry.
The verdict on Shermer's last four questions, however, could turn the outlook on cosmetic science around. Until then, all I can do is wish you the very best for 2010. May we all be honest to our profession and true to cosmetic science to protect the industry and our companies. This is not done with a quick lie to make a quick buck, but by a long-term investment into the desire to let cosmetic science grow for our companies and for all. This is why local and global organizations such as the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists (IFSCC) needs the cosmetic industry's support. The cosmetic industry needs to show the world how good cosmetic science is and why it works. Here’s to the future, to 2010, and to cosmetic science!
—Prof. Johann W. Wiechers, PhD
Technical advisor, C&T magazine
Independent consultant for cosmetic science, JW Solutions
Gasthuispolderweg 30 2807 LL
Gouda, The Netherlands