It looks like manufacturers who make outrageous claims about the effectiveness of their beauty products will finally be challenged. A new laboratory at the New West University’s Potchefstroom campus will play an important role in determining the effectiveness of skincare products in South Africa.
According to Prof Banie Boneschans of the campus’ Centre for Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Services, this new lab will refute various unfounded claims of the functioning of skincare products.
‘Many people are misled by advertising campaigns on products that promise a certain result, but cannot substantiate it,’ he says. ‘We want to see to it that products that are indeed effective enjoy a bigger market share.’
The CEL testing centre is one of only three labs in the country that do tests on skincare products and it is the only one that is fully independent. It’s not confined to trade or cosmetic manufacturers, and it’s equipment and apparatus (which cost just over R1 million) was funded by the university itself.
‘It is unique in South Africa due to the fact that it is linked to a tertiary institution where experts can act in an advisory capacity and also, through their research, offer solutions to possible problematic formulations,’ says Boneschans.
The kinds of tests to be run include comparing the elasticity, moistening, recovery, rejuvenation and fold depth of the skin before and after treatment with a particular product.
According to Sterna van Zyl, who is in charge of the testing in the lab, volunteers participate in ethically approved clinical testing sessions.
‘We determine, amongst others, skin moistness by measuring the electrical properties of the skin of the test person before and after the treatment with the particular product. These results enable us to verify the product’s specific claims,’ van Zyl says. ‘The fact that South Africa is currently experiencing a huge influx of skin products, especially for ethnic skins, makes it important to test these products and to make sure the world does not bombard us with ineffective products that the consumer is paying a lot for.’