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What topic in skin care is the most confusing for you?

I’d say trying to properly evaluate a skin care product is the most confusing thing to do. Like I said in my Product Review Rubric, ingredient-based reviews can only go so far. There are several limitations and doubts that I have when reviewing a product. Some things like: How much of an ingredient is actually present? Are there negative interactions between some of the ingredients? Are there formulary secrets used that vastly alter the function of the various ingredients? These are always present in my mind, among other things, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do about them. Not only is it confusing, it’s annoying. If any of you are dealing with this issue, I guess my best advice is to try and find products that state the concentrations of the most important or featured ingredients. Some formulary secrets can be found if they’re patented, but beyond that, there’s not much that we can do.

What topic makes you go bananas? Let us know!

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


4 thoughts on “What topic in skin care is the most confusing for you?

  1. It’s pretty much the same for me. I’m always wondering about the interactions between ingredients and their concentrations. Everything is so confusing! I never know if a specific moisturizer formulation is good for my skin type or if it’s too light or too heavy, so one just has to try them out (as scientifically as possible). Sure, I can expect that a gel or lotion won’t be too heavy, but sometimes lotions are too heavy and a light cream isn’t moisturizing enough, so the products texture isn’t enough. Don’t know, perhaps I just don’t understand the ingredients lists well enough. Haha
    And with physical sunscreen I’m always concerned about the dispersion of particles and if the amount used is actually enough (when it comes to UVA), and what are the ingredients that boost the efficacy of the filters. And when it comes to sunscreen outside of the US, the concentrations aren’t always available, so you have to wonder about that too.

    Posted by Lucas | June 16, 2012, 12:56 pm
    • Yeah ingredients only say so much. And despite that particular drawback of physical sunscreens, they’re still perferred over chemical ones, since those also deal with the issue of dispersion. Not to mention stability, longevity, etc.

      As for non-USA sunscreens, aren’t you glad that the FDA requires all sunscreen concentrations to be labeled? Phew. Now if they could just do that for everything else… 🙂

      Posted by John | June 16, 2012, 9:49 pm
      • Yeah, physical sunscreens are the best choice. I’m still looking for one that’s perfect for me though.

        So glad! They take that variable out of the question.
        Companies should really be more open about this kind of stuff. I mean, knowing how much vitamin C or retinol there is in a product won’t give me any insights about its formulation (usually they claim it’s some kind of trade secret, proprietary information, like I’m going to still their formula and manufacture it in my lab).

        Posted by Lucas | June 17, 2012, 6:54 am
        • I completely agree with you for the other ingredients. I mean, okay… so what if I know a product contains 0.5% retinol. Am I really going to be able to create an exact duplicate of the product? No. If only it were that easy. Usually, companies don’t tell the concentrations of certain ingredients because they’re probably very low. And since most consumers out there know that the higher the concentration (to an extent) the better, if they state low concentrations, consumers will likely move on to the next product. All that “propriety” information stuff is complete bullcrap. It’s unfuriating!

          It’s the logical but cowardly move.

          Posted by John | June 17, 2012, 12:08 pm

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