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When it comes to beauty science don’t fall for faulty logic

Posted May 20 2013 2:01am

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We recently received a comment on our post about the world’s top 5 skin moisturizing oils  which reminded us how faulty logic can spread misinformation. Here’s the comment:

“Mineral oil? Aww HELLLL NO. This is absolutely the worst thing you can put on your face, it is used in motor oil! MOTOR OIL!”

This statement is reminiscent of the warning we used to see about using sodium lauryl sulfate which went something like this:

“Sodium lauryl sulfate is bad for your face and skin because it’s used in garage floor cleaners.”

Or here’s another one we just made up:

“You drink water? Don’t you know that water is also used in cyanide poison?  Gasp! CYANIDE POISON!!!”

Do you see the faulty logic in all these statements?

Even when both premises of an argument are true (water is in cyanide and cyanide is bad for you) the argument may still be wrong if the logic employed is faulty. There are several types of faulty logic, or logical fallacies. For a great explanation, check out the article by the Skeptics Guide to the Universe on the Top 20 Logical Fallacies .

In our particular example it appears that the logical fallacy is known as “Confusing association with causation.” It’s not the water that makes cyanide dangerous, it’s the hydrogen cyanide gas that’s dissolved in water that’s the problem! Similarly, it’s not the mineral oil that makes motor oil bad for your skin or SLS that makes garage floor cleaners too harsh. There are other factors at work which are ignored by the person making the faulty argument.

Don’t get us wrong: If data proves there’s a legitimate safety issue with a cosmetic ingredient, then of course that information should be brought to consumers’ attention. But using logic fallacies to make spread misinformation doesn’t help consumers or the cosmetic industry.

Don’t fall for faulty logic when considering what’s safe and what’s not safe for your hair and skin!

Image credit: marciokenobi.files

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