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Industry Insight: Being Transparent Means Teaching Toxicology—Including the Nuances

Contact Author Rachel Grabenhofer with Rita Silva, Deciem
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Read the full article in the September 2021 digital edition. . .

Being transparent with cosmetic consumers is crucial to building trust, and companies take many different approaches. Deciem, for instance, has explicitly stated, “Everything is Chemicals,” in a science-forward campaign that seeks to move consumers past fearmongering. Rita Silva (RS), science communications associate for the company, explains how the project came together in the following excerpt adapted from our video interview.

C&T: How does your ‘Everything is Chemicals’ campaign bridge the gap between Marketing, R&D and consumers?

RS: I feel the strength in Deciem is we have never participated in traditional marketing. There has always been a close connection between our scientific requirements and what we put out into the world. Our brand team is always working closely with the scientific department, especially scientific communications because we are their “voice.” We create content based on academic, peer-reviewed research, so everything we communicate is as accurate as possible. In my opinion, the best way to bridge the gap is to completely close it.

C&T: Are there specific areas within cosmetics that might benefit from this science-forward approach?

RS: First and foremost, all areas can benefit from a more science-forward approach because chemistry is all around us. I like to think of chemistry as a language that explains everything around us. The chemical formula for water is H2O but before that chemical formula existed, water was still what it is today. I really believe that this simple understanding will allow us to focus our energy and attention on what really matters, which are the nuances of toxicology; the dose makes the poison. How the same chemical can be perfectly safe in one scenario and toxic in another—this is what needs to be instilled in consumers. Not only the certainties but also the nuances.

This can apply, yes, to preservatives and also sunscreens, which have been in the headlines. We should not be causing fear of sunscreens when skin cancer is such a proven concern. Obviously, the studies that found benzene in sunscreens are very important but ultimately, sometimes the media puts those studies out of context, exacerbates the results and doesn’t explain the nuances of the results. The more important a cosmetic is to consumers’ lives [and health], the more careful we should be around fearmongering that can put people off of using those products.

. . .Read more in the September 2021 digital edition. . .

 

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