9 Scientific Terms We Don’t Want To See In Adverts Anymore

It’s bad science bingo time!


What they are: Positively or negatively charged particles. Typically found in particle accelerators, smoke detectors and the sun. And also in your body.
What they don’t do: Boost your energy, restore your body’s “natural balance” or anything else like that.


What is means: Basically anything that isn’t made by humans.
What it doesn’t mean: That something is good for you. Uranium and flu and pretty much all diseases are “natural”, too. But you probably don’t want those in your shampoo.


What it means: A discrete amount of energy, something very small.
What it doesn’t do: Clean your dishes while making light pour out of the dishwasher.


What it means: In a scientific sense, organic just means that something is derived from living matter. To be fair, though, under EU law products labelled organic have to meet certain criteria, relating to animal welfare, wildlife conservation and more. So it does mean something.
What it doesn’t mean: That something is necessarily healthier than a non-organic alternative, or automatically good for you.


What they are: A class of chemicals (gasp!) that form the building blocks of proteins. There are nine essential amino acids you need to get from food because your body can’t make them.
What they don’t do: Yes, they are vital for collagen formation. But smearing amino acids over your face (in a face cream) will not necessarily help your skin.


What they are: Short chains of amino acids.
What they won’t do: Much like amino acids, peptides won’t get rid of your wrinkles. At least not from the outside of your face.


What it means: As in “our exclusive amino-peptide complex.” In chemistry, a complex is just two or more molecules loosely bound together.
What it really means in adverts: This product has more than one thing in it and we wanted to make it sound more impressive.


What it means: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Pretty much everything has “chemicals” in, because it’s such a broad term.
What it doesn’t mean: In the same vein as “natural” this implies something is good for you while tarring chemicals as the worst thing in the world. Which they aren’t. Because they are EVERYTHING.


What it means: Just kidding this is not an actual thing.

Oh, wait.

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Kelly Oakes is science editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
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