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5 Skin Care & Makeup Claims You Shouldn’t Believe

5 Skin Care & Makeup Claims You Shouldn’t Believe

Almost anyone shopping for skin-care or makeup products will be tempted by lots of claims that sound too good to be true. To find the best products and not waste money it is essential to know which claims are false, are misleading, or are just myths. Cosmetics expert Paula Begoun and her Paula’s Choice Research Team know this all too well and developed a list of the top five cosmetics claims to ignore – and what to look for instead.

1. Hypoallergenic products are best for sensitive skin

Why it’s meaningless: “Hypoallergenic” is meant to imply that a product is unlikely or less likely to cause allergic reactions and so is better for allergy-prone or sensitive skin. It isn’t true. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, or guidelines of any kind for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being “hypoallergenic.” There are lots of ingredients that don’t trigger allergies, but that can irritate skin.

What to look for instead: If sensitive or allergy-prone skin is a concern, the #1 thing to look for are products that are free of irritants. The major irritants that show up in an astounding number of products are fragrance (both synthetic and natural fragrance are equally bad), alcohol (isopropyl or SD alcohol), and strong cleansing agents. Consult the Paula’s Choice Research Team’s list of the Best Products for Sensitive Skin for safe picks.

2. Have breakouts? Look for products labeled “non-comedogenic”

Why it’s meaningless: Similar to the hypoallergenic claim, there are no approved or regulated standards for products claiming to be “non-comedogenic” (won’t clog pores). A company can claim any product they sell won’t cause breakouts, even if it contains ingredients that are likely to trigger them.

What to look for instead: Because the ingredients that make a product feel creamy or look thick can cause breakouts and make skin feel greasy, those with oily or breakout-prone skin should look for products that have a liquid, gel, serum, or thin lotion consistency. These textures are less likely to clog pores or worsen breakouts. Check out effective products for oily, breakout-prone skin on

3. “Dermatologist-approved” or “dermatologist-tested”

Why it’s meaningless: These popular claims sound official and professional, but are not supported by any agreed-on standards in the world of cosmetics or medicine. “Dermatologist-approved” doesn’t detail why it’s approved and doesn’t explain if other dermatologists might disapprove. It also doesn’t reveal if the cosmetics company is paying the dermatologist for his or her approval—as it turns out, most of them are paid for their endorsements!

What to look for instead: Forget dermatologist endorsements—instead, focus on finding products that contain the ingredients research has proven most effective for skin. Look for products with broad-spectrum sunscreens, antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, well-formulated exfoliants, and products with cell-communicating ingredients. These are the types of ingredients that truly make a difference in the health and appearance of skin, not the meaningless claim “dermatologist-approved.”

4. “Specially formulated for mature skin”

Why it’s meaningless: Age is not a skin type. Many women over age 50 (and women younger than that) have a variety of skin types. While concerns of wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and sagging are universal, products also must take into consideration that women over 50 can and often do also struggle with oily skin, dryness, breakouts, redness, sensitivity, rosacea, and more. “Mature skin” isn’t automatically dry skin, any more than acne-prone skin is only for teens. There are no special formulary standards that make products labeled “for mature skin” any better than products formulated for other skin types or concerns.

What to look for instead: It’s all about the ingredients and following a consistent skin-care routine that addresses the needs of your skin type AND skin concerns, regardless of age. Check out Paula’s list of the Best Anti-Aging Products to get started on looking younger now.

5. Expensive doesn’t mean better!

Paula and the Paula’s Choice Research Team have analyzed thousands of products over the past 30 years and can state without hesitation that there are good and bad products in all price ranges. Spending more doesn’t guarantee a better product; in fact, it often leads to a worse product. Find the best products, regardless of budget, with reviews on

Led by best-selling author and beauty expert Paula Begoun, the Paula’s Choice Research Team evaluates and reviews hundreds of skin-care and makeup products, in books such as Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and online at Combining cosmetics industry knowledge and expertise, Paula and her team have developed the Paula’s Choice line of state-of-the-art formulations based on reliable, published skin-care research. Products include skin-care, makeup, body, and hair-care products, beauty tools, and accessories. All products are fragrance-free, cruelty free, and environmentally friendly, and they perform beautifully without making false promises.