The front label of a skincare product is no different than a clickbait headline—misleading, often sensationalized, and carefully crafted to tempt impulsive buyers without a full understanding of what they're actually getting.
At Bottlecode, we’re more interested in the back label—the ingredients—and ensuring that what’s inside actually matches the promises made on the front. In fact, we exist solely because we were fed up with the untruths that have been misleading and confusing men in the skincare aisle for far too long.
Here are seven of the most bogus skincare claims and what we do to help you avoid them.
Many people have been led to believe that all-natural products are a better, safer choice for sensitive skin. But, as one of our dermatologist advisors likes to say, “Poison ivy is natural. That doesn’t mean it’s safe.” Additionally, there’s no industry standard for what “all-natural” actually means and while some natural ingredients have passed the efficacy test, there’s little evidence to support the hype of many others.
Do some skincare ingredients provide anti-aging results? Yes. None better than sunscreen by the way. This claim is commonly displayed on products containing ingredients like retinol and vitamin C—both great anti-agers. Unfortunately, if you took the time to turn the bottle around and do some research, you’d find that, often, these powerhouse ingredients are formulated at such a low level they’re completely ineffective. Nothing more than snake-oil skincare.
Skincare takes time. Sure, things like hydrating moisturizers will provide instant results but this claim is more often used to market anti-aging night creams—promising younger-looking skin within weeks or even days. This is scientifically impossible. If you’re in your 30s or older, it takes at least a month for your skin cells to regenerate and reveal younger-looking skin. You can speed this process up slightly by using certain ingredients but you’re not going to wake up looking younger. Consistent, long-term use of anti-aging night cream (and daily SPF moisturizer) is the only way to slow the aging process.
Skincare is never one-size-fits-all. This claim either means that the product contains zero beneficial ingredients and it’s only suitable for all skin types because it does nothing at all. Or, it’s just an outright lie. Often found on cleansers, this is one of the most overused phrases in skincare. Hell, we even carry certain products that tout this on their label. That said, we completely disregard it. Instead, we actually analyze the ingredients to ensure that before recommending a product it’s actually a good match for your skin type and goals.
Maximum strength is generally used to market products that have a higher amount of a certain active ingredient. But more is not always better (if only skincare were so easy). Rather, the efficacy of a product comes down to the carefully crafted formulation, the side-kick ingredients that assist the active ingredients, and whether or not a product is formulated at a proper strength for you. Can your skin even handle maximum strength?
Some companies emphasize this phrase as a way to make you think that the FDA has signed off on the results that a product promises. But this is far from the truth. The Skincare industry is largely unregulated by the FDA. The FDA only approves whether a product is safe to use in the manner in which the manufacturer says. Things like “for external use only”. The FDA is not your skincare buddy.
Your brain interprets this as “all dermatologists approve, recommend, and love the product.” But it actually means that one dermatologist on the manufacturer’s payroll approved the product. This is why it’s best to have an unbiased expert review and recommend products just for you.