My Facebook and Twitter feeds are often full of health and beauty posts, but not all of it is sound (or accurate!). Pinterest is especially full of health and skincare tips of questionable benefit, or worse, potential for harm. With so many people posting and sharing information, it is easy to lose sight of what information is helpful, safe, and accurate.
When reading information online, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the information based on unbiased research (i.e. did a product manufacturer do their own research?)
- What is the quality of the research? (How big of a study? Was the study controlled? Peer reviewed?)
- Who maintains the website? (.gov is a governmental agency, .org is an organization, .edu is an educational institution)
- What resources (if any) are cited with the information? (journals like the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) New England Journal of Medicine, studies from teaching institutions, research from professional associations like American Massage Therapy Association or American Dermatological Association)
- Is there contact information from the author on the site?
- How recent is the information? Is there a date when the information or website was last updated readily available?
- Does it seem too good to be true? (If it does, it generally is!)
- Are other sites or sources backing up the information?
- If you aren’t sure if something you read online is true, you can check it out at www.snopes.com!
If you are wanting to research a health topic, some good places to start are:
http://www.medlineplus.gov (National library of Medicine)
http://www.mayoclinic.org (Mayo clinic is very supportive of complementary and integrative medicine and research!)
https://nccih.nih.gov (National center for complementary and integrative health)
Teaching institution sites (for example, http://www.health.harvard.edu)
Sites for national health associations like the American Heart Association (http://www.americanheart.org) or the American Diabetes Association (http://www.diabetes.org)
For skincare research and information, check out the links available here:
For Acne and Rosacea: https://acneandrosacea.org/
For Psoriasis: https://www.psoriasis.org/