A 12-minute video of Gwyneth Paltrow taking viewers through her skincare routine that horrified skincare experts last week.
Their main problem with vogue.com’s post was what they saw as her irresponsible attitude to sun protection.
“There are a lot of really harsh chemicals in conventional sunscreen, so that’s one product I really want to avoid,” she stated.
She instead opted for what she called ‘a clean mineral sunscreen brand’ before trusting me: ‘I’m not a top-to-toe sunscreen, but I like putting some on my nose and the area where the sun really falls. Then she gracefully smeared a smear on her nose and under her eyes.
A video of Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured) taking viewers through her skincare routine that horrified skincare experts last week, declaring her stance on sun protection as ‘irresponsible’
“Not only does Gwyneth misapplicate SPF – you need about half a teaspoon for your face and neck – but she also presents biased, misguided and dangerous information,” said Dr. Sonia Khorana, a GP and dermatologist in the West Midlands.
‘If you don’t use sunscreen properly, you run the risk of skin cancer and it occurs 80 to 90 percent on the face or neck. She has such a large platform, it is a shame she is providing incorrect information. ‘
While a spokesperson for Paltrow’s Wellness brand Goop later claimed the video was edited, other skincare tips in her video were considered problematic by dermatologists, such as her daily use of a granular glycolic acid exfoliator on dry skin, which can damage the skin barrier.
This isn’t the first time that Paltrow’s ‘advice’ has aroused the ire of the medical community. Last year, Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, criticized a Netflix series by Goop showcasing alternative therapies.
Gwyneth (above) claimed there were “harsh chemicals” in “conventional sunscreen” that she wanted to avoid and instead used what she called “a clean mineral sunscreen.”
The “questionable products and unreliable procedures” posed a “significant health risk” to the public, he said.
A spokeswoman for Goop said the company was “transparent” about the fact that they “cover emerging topics that may not be supported by science or are in the early stages of review.”
Gwyneth has also advocated a vagina steam treatment with “ truly healing properties, ” leading gynecologists to point out that, far from being curative, it can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and cause irritation and infection.
But is her most damaging legacy her insistence on calling beauty products “clean”? Gwyneth is at least partially responsible for the current ‘clean beauty’ mania.
There are nearly four million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #cleanbeauty, and Google searches for the term have increased tenfold in the last decade.
The problem is, it doesn’t mean anything. “Under British cosmetics law, there is no legal definition of the word ‘clean,'” said Dr. Emma Meredith, Director General of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA).
As a result, different brands interpret it in different ways. For some it may mean that they do not use ingredients of animal origin; for others, with the exception of ingredients they call ‘nasties’.
‘Clean’ is just another marketing buzzword, ‘says Millie Kendall MBE. “I still don’t understand what it means and I am CEO of the British Beauty Council.”
It’s not just that ‘clean’ means nothing – or worse, can mean a number of things – it’s what it means about any product that isn’t labeled ‘clean’.
People assume that products without the buzzy label are ‘dirty’, full of ‘toxins’ or ‘chemicals’.
Dr Sonia Khorana, a primary care physician and dermatologist, criticized her for ‘misapplicating’ SPF, saying Gwyneth’s 12-minute video (above) was spreading ‘dangerous information’
“This kind of misinformation is very damaging to the reputation of the industry,” said Millie, who believes part of the problem is the number of people with high social media followers who have no training or knowledge.
‘Anyone can grab a camera and share information with a very large group of viewers, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.’
In the Vogue video, Paltrow talks about ‘crazy ingredients – like antifreeze’ in moisturizers.
But as Dr. Meredith explains, the truth is “while some cosmetic ingredients may have other beneficial properties, their use in cosmetics is rigorously assessed for safety.
The use of propylene glycol in antifreeze is irrelevant for its safe use in cosmetics, as is the corrosive nature of acetic acid [used to remove rust] is not relevant for use in food such as vinegar. ‘
It’s like saying you get perfume when you drink wine, because both contain ethanol.
Dr. Meredith, a pharmacist with a PhD in skin pigments and malignant melanomas, adds, “More than a thousand ingredients are banned from cosmetics, while others can only be used under certain restrictions.”
Anyone can have an allergic reaction to anything, but if you can buy the product in the UK you can rest assured that the formulation has been screened to make sure any risk is extremely low – regardless of whether the word ‘ clean ‘or not.
Not only is the ‘clean’ label confusing, the panic it causes can also be dangerous. Take parabens – natural preservatives found in fruits, such as raspberries. They were demonized by a widely reported, but possibly flawed piece of research linking them to breast cancer.
The result? Manufacturers bowed to public pressure and started to go ‘paraben-free’.
A spokesperson for Paltrow’s Wellness brand Goop claimed the video was edited, but Gwyneth’s other tips (pictured in June 2018) were considered problematic by dermatologists
But as Sam Farmer, whose youth toiletries contain parabens, explains, this caused its own problems.
“When companies moved away from parabens, they needed another cheap, effective preservative,” he says.
Methylisothiazolinone (MI) has long been used in shampoos and other wash-off products, but formulators knew it was not advisable to use it in leave-on products, such as sunscreen.
“But in the rush to replace parabens, this seems to have been forgotten.”
As a result, some consumers who buy paraben-free products experience sensitivity reactions to MI on their skin, so they can no longer use products that contain it.
A dermatologist described it as ‘a global epidemic of allergic contact dermatitis from MI’. The last word goes to Dr. Khorana (@dermgp on Instagram).
“Celebrities have a responsibility to ensure that the information they share is secure,” she says, “because expressing biased opinions on topics they are not experts in without reference to evidence can be harmful and dangerous.”