Does Dermatologically Tested Mean Tested On Animals?

By Anett Rannamets. Published: December 2022.
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Dermatologically tested — a term you can find on many skincare and other beauty products. Luckily, it does not mean that it is necessarily and always related to animal testing. However, dermatological tests can still be conducted on animals.

So what actually stands behind it? Let’s take a look.

Dermatologically Tested: What Does That Mean?

Dermatologically tested means the test is carried out by an independent laboratory under the supervision of a dermatologist. After the test, the dermatologist provides their opinion on the product’s safety on the skin.

Dermatology is a health field that deals with the skin. As well as with the treatment of diseases affecting the skin, hair, nails, and mucous membranes. Unfortunately, many topical products are still not tested under the expected conditions. Although many are dermatologically tested, it does not guarantee their safety.

However, the term “dermatologically tested” still appears everywhere. On shampoo bottles, cream tubes, and make-up. Initially, it seems that there is a long and complex testing phase behind it. In most cases, however, it just indicates that the product is tested in the presence of a dermatologist.

We say most cases because this term is not protected or regulated. Therefore, the cosmetic world has no unambiguous requirements for the use of this label. So, manufacturers and cosmetic brands create those rules themselves. And use the label how they want.

Still, most dermatologists still use the patch test system to check for allergic reactions and skin compatibility. This means that the volunteers have the product applied to their skin and then checked by a dermatologist after a predetermined time whether the product seems safe or not.

The generally accepted meaning of “dermatologically tested” is associated with:

  • the product being tested on human skin,
  • the formula being safe when applied to the skin,
  • testers determining that the product is well tolerated and does not cause skin reactions or allergies.

“Dermatologically tested” does not provide the info on:

  • how the tests are done,
  • how often and for how long the product is used,
  • the amount of product used,
  • the specific part of the body where the product was tested.
  • specific data on test results.

So, the absence of specific rules means that it is up to the dermatologist to figure out how and under what conditions the product has to be tested. Therefore, one can never be sure how long the test period lasted and how many people participated in the experiments. And were the tests conducted on humans at all?

Unfortunately, the “dermatologically tested” label often leads to the assumption that the product is always safe for sensitive skin. But that is not always the case. And vice versa. So just because a cosmetic product has not been dermatologically tested does not mean it is unsafe.

For this reason, it is worth taking a closer look at the ingredients of skin and body care products. These give a precise indication of what a product contains.

Are Dermatologically Tested Products Tested On Animals?

Dermatologically tested implies that the product has been tested under the supervision of a dermatologist. Whether it was done on animals or humans, cannot be inferred from this expression. So, dermatological tests could also mean experiments on animals.

There are two common misconceptions, neither of which is actually true:

  • dermatologically tested cosmetic products are always tested on animals,
  • dermatologically tested product is always cruelty-free.

In fact, dermatologically tested only implies that a dermatologist has evaluated the product. As already mentioned, this term does not define how long, in what way, or on whom. Therefore, it is not possible to tell whether dermatologically tested products have been tested on humans or animals simply by looking at the product.

In Europe, for example, animal testing is not allowed, so all dermatologically tested products sold in the European Union should only be tested on humans. However, the surest way not to contribute to animal suffering is to buy products that have vegan and cruelty-free labels. To do this, familiarize yourself with vegan beauty labels.

FAQ

Does dermatologically tested mean tested on animals?

Dermatologically tested does not necessarily mean that the product is tested on animals. However, it could. The term implies that the product has been tested under the supervision of a dermatologist. Whether it was done on animals or humans, cannot be inferred from this expression.

Does dermatologically tested mean tested on humans?

Dermatologically tested does not necessarily mean that the product is tested on humans. However, it could. The term implies that the product has been tested under the supervision of a dermatologist. Whether it was done on animals or humans, cannot be inferred from this expression.

Are dermatologically tested products vegan?

Dermatologically tested products are not necessarily vegan. The term only implies that they have been tested under the supervision of a dermatologist. It has nothing to do with the ingredient list.

Are dermatologically tested products safe?

The “dermatologically tested” label often leads to the assumption that the product is always safe. But that is not always the case. As the term is not regulated, every dermatologist can figure out how and under what conditions the product has to be tested. Therefore, one can never be sure how long the test period lasted and how many people participated in the experiments.

What does dermatologically tested mean?

Dermatologically tested means the test is carried out by an independent laboratory under the supervision of a dermatologist. After the test, the dermatologist provides their opinion on the product’s safety on the skin.

Summary

The label “dermatologically tested” does not necessarily mean that the product is tested on animals. However, it could.

Dermatologically tested only means that the product has been tested under a dermatologist’s supervision. The purpose of such tests is to ensure that the product does not cause skin irritation, dryness, or redness before it is launched on the market.

However, this is usually the only definition of the term. On whom, in what way and for how long the dermatological tests are carried out is not certain. Therefore, it is possible that some dermatological tests are made on animals.

If you are looking for beauty products that are not related to animal exploitation, look for vegan skincare, vegan haircare, or vegan makeup. To be sure of product safety, check the ingredients list and prefer vegan and clean beauty products.

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Sources:

  • Brighton Dermatology. What Does Dermatologist Tested Mean? What Do They Test? 2016
    Link: https://www.brightondermatology.com.au/what-dermatologist-tested-mean/
  • Dermaviduals. Dermatologically tested – what does it mean? 2021
    Link: https://dermaviduals.de/english/skin-topics/question-answer/dermatologically-tested-what-does-it-mean.html
  • Schmidt, C. What does “Dermatologist Tested” Even Mean? 2022
    Link: https://www.formulate.co/journal/p/dermatologist-tested

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.