The “Clean” Movement and Your Practice

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One trend sweeping across nearly every category of consumable anything is the “clean” movement.

People supporting the clean movement want to know the products they use are free from harsh chemicals and are made sustainably. The definition can also vary based on who’s using it, so if a vendor is telling you about their great new clean product, ask them to elaborate. In the medical aesthetics industry, “clean” can apply to all the products your patients come into contact with in your practice and your recommendations for products they use at home. 

In the U.S., the cosmetics industry has more autonomy and the restrictions on harsh or questionable ingredients are more lenient than in other places. For example, The European Commission has banned five types of parabens that are all still legal in the U.S. That means it’s up to consumers to pay attention, educate themselves, and tell the manufacturers what they’re willing to accept. Know what your patients want by listening to the questions they ask and the ingredient names they know, and, if you feel comfortable, asking what they mean when they say “clean.”

This heightened attention means some brands are looking for quick ways to add clean products to their portfolios. Sometimes this motivation leads to simply packaging products to look clean or green, a process called “greenwashing.” You’ve probably seen this – the bottle of cleanser with the fresh new look on the front and the same unpronounceable ingredients on the back. If you see parabens, hydroquinone, talc, silica, triclosan, fragrances, ethoxylated agents, aluminum compounds, oxybenzone, or refined petroleum anywhere in the ingredient list, it’s not a clean product.

The clean movement is also spurring innovation in our industry. For example, Revance’s RHA Collection of hyaluronic acid fillers were the first clean fillers to be approved by the FDA. The collection is being called clean because it uses a hyaluronic acid that is closer to the version our bodies make naturally and doesn’t use additives.

Some patients will ask you directly what is in the products you use in your practice and others will listen for keywords or search your website. Either way, it’s important to know what’s in your chosen products, where they came from, and how they work. That may go without saying for medical aesthetics professionals, but it warrants repeating because patients are more interested and educated than ever.