Before a new cosmetic product enters the market, it must be subjected to a series of tests, from safety and toxicity testing to efficacy testing and claim substantiation. In the past, it was common to use animals for such tests. However, more and more countries are banning animal testing, and cosmetics companies are turning to in vitro testing methods, instead.
In this article, we will examine how in vitro testing methods can be used for efficacy testing of cosmetics in place of animal testing.
Alternatives to Animal Testing: In Vitro Testing Methods
Historically, animal testing was the standard practice for testing various chemicals, including cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. However, public opinion has shifted over the past few decades, and the majority of consumers now oppose animal testing, especially in the cosmetics industry.
In a 2013 poll, over two-thirds of Americans were opposed to testing cosmetics on animals, and three-quarters of the respondents said they would feel just as safe–or even safer–if non-animal methods were used for cosmetics testing.
As of 2019, animal testing of cosmetics is already banned in the EU, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, India, Israel, and Taiwan, with other major markets (including the U.S. and Russia) working towards a ban.
This increasing distaste for animal testing has been a great catalyst for innovation for the in vitro method, which uses different types of human cells outside of a living organism. For cosmetics testing, high-tech and sophisticated in vitro testing methods are now available, including reconstructed human epidermis and 3D models of full-thickness reconstructed skin.
In Vitro vs. Animal Testing in Efficacy Testing of Cosmetics
Compared to animal testing, in vitro testing methods offer a number of advantages for efficacy testing of cosmetics:
One of the biggest problems of animal testing is that its result may not always directly apply to humans. By using human skin models and cell lines, in vitro testing methods don’t have that drawback. This is especially important for efficacy testing, where there is a need to validate the mechanism of action of active ingredients on the cellular and molecular levels.
Far Greater Versatility
Every cosmetic formulation is prepared with a certain skin type in mind: dry or oily, young or mature, etc. Therefore, the efficacy of a cosmetic product is best tested on the exact type of skin it is intended for. Choosing the in vitro method means, for example, that you can test the efficacy of an anti-aging cream on a model specifically aged to mimic mature human skin. Animal testing is far less versatile by comparison.
Fast Test Turnaround
Efficacy testing using in vitro methods can deliver the needed results in a matter of days–while animal testing can take months, as can testing on human volunteers.
As the objection to the suffering of lab animals continues to drive animal testing bans, it also drives innovation for in vitro technologies. The interplay of animal welfare and in vitro testing methods is truly a win-win for both ethics and science.
Find an In Vitro Testing Program to Suit Your Needs
At Bioalternatives, we are committed to developing effective in vitro alternative options to animal experimentation methods, by offering a full range of solutions for the development of active ingredients and cosmetic formulations.
We offer customized technical solutions to guide your product research and support the claims of your cosmetic products. Our selection of in vitro testing solutions can be used to characterize your cosmetic products’ active ingredients, demonstrate the efficacy of your formulations, and test the safety of your cosmetic products at an early stage (for R&D purposes only).
With extensive experience in cosmetic product testing and state-of-the-art facilities, we are pleased to offer you dedicated project management support and consulting for your R&D process.
Ready to discuss a testing and research program that will suit your business’s needs?