• linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    Inactive but controversial OTC product ingredients

    What you need to know to better inform your patients


    Parabens. Phthalates. Chemical fragrances. Sodium lauryl sulfate. These are among the behind-the-scenes ingredients in over-the-counter skincare and haircare products that have some of the big cosmetic companies changing the way they formulate moisturizers, soaps, shampoos and anti-aging products.

    But are these inactive ingredients bad or merely perceived to be bad because of misinformation or different “spins” on the truth? And are their substitutes any better?The science behind many of these controversies is often misrepresented, according to Adam Friedman, M.D., assistant professor of medicine (dermatology), physiology and biophysics at Montefiore - Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York.

    READ: Prohibited ingredients at a glance

    “You can easily find ways to demonstrate that these ingredients are toxic using the certain bench assays, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the human body,” Dr. Friedman says.

    Fears surrounding parabens and phthalates, for example, are derived from cell line studies, he says. And to compare the impact of these ingredients on a single cell type to the complexity of the human system — especially the skin, which is extraordinarily complex — is fuzzy math.

    “A lot of what’s in the media about these different ingredients, causing consumers to be so concerned, is based on in vitro or cell-based assays, rather than human studies, of which there are very few. There really isn’t a lot of data out there, even in animals,” Dr. Friedman says.

    Next: Take parabens, for example

    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is president of Words Come Alive, based in Boca Raton, Florida.


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available

    Latest Tweets Follow