Lots of people look for magical solutions. Unfortunately, there are ever so many people willing to promise them. But here is one thing that I know for sure: you will never, ever see or hear me telling anyone that our products can cure anything. A great post last week by Hayley at Paintbox Soapworks titled "A word on FDA regulations, or Why I Can’t Cure Your Pentapox…" got me thinking it was time to touch on this myself. There are so many inappropriate medical claims floating around the beauty industry!
So, I will never tell you I can fix your eczema. You won't find me touting shea butter or the newest trendy ingredient as the end of all skin ailments. I have never, ever said that anything was anti-aging. Those of you who know me know that I even tend to steer clear of statements about things being natural, even when they are. So, why am I so careful? There are a few reasons.
1. I always comply with Health Canada regulations.
The things we make at Dot & Lil are considered cosmetics by Health Canada (and, other than soap, by the FDA as well when I sell into the U.S.) What you can and cannot say about your product is strictly outlined. They smell great, they get you clean, they add some moisture. Beyond that, almost anything I say makes my product not a cosmetic, but a drug. If I say Tea Tree oil is anti-microbial and Lavender oil helps with 'xx' function...I am no longer selling you a cosmetic. And personally, I take the laws governing my industry pretty seriously. I submit my notification forms for each product to Health Canada, and I label each product bilingually in French and English and in accordance with INCI (the International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients.) And if you see a small company selling sunscreen? Please, please check that it has a NPN (Natural Product Number) or a DIN (Drug Indentification Number) before assuming it's safe. Sunscreen is a drug, not a cosmetic.
2. I don't usually believe the hype, regardless of what I may be allowed to say.
When I see a product claiming to reverse the signs of time, cure psoriasis or eczema, reduce rashes or redness, or deal with a medical condition, my beauty industry spidey-sense for untruths goes off the charts. Everyone wants a magical solution, but generally skincare products are not it. Especially soap. It's a wash-off product, people. It (thankfully!!) is not changing anything on a cellular level. So when you ask me whether any of my soaps can help with the scar on your arm, I will say no. I will tell you to please ask your doctor.
3. There can be consequences.
I have seen some pretty extreme medical claims out there for things as simple as soap or lotion. And one of the first things that I always wonder is whether that claim could dissuade someone from seeking more appropriate treatment. I wish I was lying when I said I have seen cosmetics that claim to have an effect on various fatal diseases or disorders, or internal organ function. But unfortunately I'm not making it up, I see it all the time.
4. I like the full truth, and you guys understandably don't always have time to hear it.
The reason I shy away from saying things are natural most of the time is the same reason I don't like saying my products can cure anything. And that is that I really don't like telling you things just because it's what you want to hear. Most people want me to say things are natural, and so yes safe, and so just buy it. But the answer is actually so much more complicated than that. And the same is true for cures. Might shea butter or oatmeal be the key ingredients to help manage keratosis pilaris? Perhaps. But they could also be allergens for you. You get the point. I don't like absolutes, and I don't like misleading half-truths.
I leave you with a few words of wisdom-filled guidance from Hayley's post, about how to decide where to buy safe and truthful handmade skincare products:
- Buy from companies that earn your trust. Read feedback, check social media, Google the company & owner’s names. Get to know the people who make the products you’re buying. If something strikes you as odd, dig deeper. When in doubt, trust your gut.
- Look for safe practices. Tamper-resistant packaging, full ingredient lists, use-by dates & preservative-based formulas all speak to a company’s commitment to good manufacturing processes.
- Buy from artisans, not self-proclaimed doctors. If you want to treat a medical condition, start with your GP, not a CAPSLOCK junkie.
- Expect great products & stellar service; leave the miracles to your deity of choice. It’s soap. There’s really only so much it can be expected to do, don’t you think?