With businesses across the world experiencing disruption from COVID-19, cosmetics and personal care industries are facing unprecedented challenges. Despite this, demand for products remain strong. Many brands are pivoting to release new hand washes, soaps and sanitizers in the short term, and planning for new product ranges later in the year.

As social distancing is used to help tackle the spread of Coronavirus, volunteer and clinical trials (such as human repeat insult patch testing, HRIPT) that have traditionally been used to support dermatological testing are being suspended with no clear expected date for them to resume. Fortunately, modern in vitro tests are still able to support clinical labs, safety assessors and formulators.


In vitro tests can replace patch tests

Assessments for skin irritation, mildness, sensitisation, and eye irritation have all historically made use of human patch testing or volunteer trials. Using lab-grown human tissues, cells, and advanced analytical techniques, in vitro can provide a high level of sophisticated information for these assessments with a rapid turnaround time.

Patch tests for skin irritation are some of the most commonly used. Similarly, in vitro tests for skin irritation are an industry standard in many areas ranging from personal care to chemical manufacturing. Internationally validated and accepted as an OECD test guideline, Skin Irritation Test OECD TG439 uses lab-grown human epidermis to accurately model human skin. The test can assess both finished formulations and raw ingredients.

Using the same tissue models, XCellR8 have developed the XtraMild test for skin mildness. Validated directly against human patch testing over a 2-year project, the mildness test is supported by a database allowing similar products to be ranked against one another.

Skin sensitisation (acute contact dermatitis) is another area where HRIPT has been used in the past. Like skin irritation, internationally validated and accepted tests exist for skin sensitisation, namely DPRA, KeratinoSens, and h-CLAT tests. Used in combination, these methods can provide both safety information, and supporting evidence for hypoallergenic claims.

XCellR8 lab remains fully operational

During this time of global disruption, XCellR8 has introduced measures to protect our team, while continuing to provide all our usual services in the laboratory. We’re here at the end of a phone or on Microsoft Teams to answer your questions about how we can help keep your product development supply chain going.

With multiple methods available for both human skin and eyes, in vitro is not only a strong compliment to patch testing, but also provides excellent standalone data for developing projects now and in the future.