Recently I wrote a post all about peptides in which I presented data both for and against the use of peptides in skincare products. I wanted to present some information in this post that piggybacks onto that previous post. In an article entitled Anti-Aging Products: Understand the Fine Print found in the Tips section of the Skin Type Solution website Dr. Leslie Baumann breaks down what the term “in-vitro testing” means when it comes to skincare products. I felt it important to share this information in order to help my readers become savvy skincare product consumers. Just because an ad for a skincare product says that it was “tested by dermatologists” or “has undergone testing” doesn’t really mean the skincare product or ingredient will actually be effective on the skin. I’ll quote Dr. Baumann in order to explain:
“In vitro” is Latin for “in glass,” so when you see this referring to some sort of clinical testing, it means the results are based on lab testing – as opposed to testing on actual human skin. “In-vitro” skincare ingredient testing involves skin cells in a petri dish, which means that the ingredients’ ability to penetrate to the deeper levels of the skin cannot be assessed. This isn’t always a bad thing, but in most instances, these “in-vitro” results don’t translate to human skin – or treating the beauty concern or skin condition that the product is claiming to be effective for. Thing of it this way … No matter how great an ingredient works on skin cells in a glass dish, it’s useless if ti cannot penetrate the upper stratum corneum layer of the skin and get to the deeper cells.
And now for Dr. Baumann’s example which ties into my previous post about peptides:
One example of an ingredient with great “in-vitro” results that does not translate to skin benefits is the family of peptides. In the lab, peptides have been shown to boost collagen production, reverse skin damage, lighten discoloration and much more. But while many skincare companies tout these “in-vitro” results, they fail to disclose that most peptide molecules are too large to penetrate the skin – which means they can’t possibly deliver their in-lab results in real life. Peptides also have a short shelf life and often interfere with other ingredients found in anti-aging formulations, so there are many reasons that peptides in skincare products are not very efficacious.
Bottom Line: If a company is promoting their breakthrough skincare product based solely on “in-vitro testing” think twice before buying it.