Beauty Lingo: Dermatologist Tested

Pick up any of your skin care products. You’ll likely find that at least some of them say “Dermatologist Tested” somewhere on the bottle.

This designation has always bothered me. So they tested it? Big deal! What are the results of the test? So I thought I’d do some good ol’ research and find out what this phrase really means.

What does “Dermatologist Tested” mean?

Beauty companies throw this label on their products to show that it has been tested and deemed safe to put on your skin. If it’s been dermatologist-tested, it shouldn’t cause any skin reactions.

Is this designation regulated?

That’s a big, fat NO. According to Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices division, a label of “Dermatologist Tested” is not regulated by anyone. There’s no one to make sure that what the bottle says is true.

So is it really tested by a dermatologist?

Since there is no regulation of the phrase, beauty companies can throw this claim on their lotion bottle without ever performing a single test, whether with a real dermatologist or not. Yes, some companies may really be performing quality tests, but you can’t be sure which ones just based on this labeling.

Isn’t that lying?

Yes, yes it is. Luckily, if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks that the labeling is misleading on a certain product, they can supposedly do something about it. But guess what? It would be tough for them to take action because they never really defined what “Dermatologist Tested” really means to begin with.

What should I do?

The best thing you can do as a consumer and lover of beauty products is to just ignore this label. Don’t let it sway your decision on whether to buy something. If you truly want to know if a product will bother your skin, read reviews from people with sensitive skin or allergies. If they don’t have problems, you might not have them either.

If you get a product that irritates your skin, return it. Most stores will let you return it even if it’s already been opened.


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  1. Wow that is sneaky. I would never have known. Thank you for sharing that information. Luckily I already read reviews about products before I try them!!!

  2. Awiii: I know! Isn’t it lame? A lot of brands do it, too. Good for you on reviews. 🙂

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