Dr Carol Treasure was recently invited to be a guest speaker for MSc Cosmetic Science students at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. In this webinar which focussed on creating safe and effective cosmetics using animal-free science, students took a look at some real-life case-studies about:

  • What truly animal-free testing means
  • Why skin sensitisation testing is so important
  • How to do skin mildness testing for claim support
  • Measuring antioxidant activity of natural extracts in the development of an anti-ageing skincare formulation
  • What else can be done in vitro?

The integrated Masters in Cosmetic Science is a unique course that offers specific scientific knowledge and skills which prepare students to enter the cosmetic industry in a variety of roles in research and product development, NPD management, safety, and regulatory compliance. Several alumni have even trained further and become fragrance evaluators. The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) recognises the course as one of “immediate relevance to the industry” due to its scientific, technological, and business curriculum.

After an animal-free testing whistlestop tour we opened the floor to the students, to answer any questions having a great discussion with the Cosmetic Science students, we thought we’d share some of the questions we got asked!

Can you claim a product is ‘Cruelty-Free’ even if animal-derived components have been used in the testing process?

Yes, companies can still say that their product is ‘cruelty-free’ as they are not using animal-testing methods and under the current system this is allowed. But we’d challenge that this claim is not truly correct, especially for vegan products. Transparency is really important from companies – consumers need to understand what is behind the product they are buying.

Most importantly, there is no need to use animal serum! At XCellR8 we never use it in our lab, instead we use human serum and artificial components – we’d love to see other companies switching to completely animal-free methods as well.

Where do you get the human serum and cells from?

Great question! We obtain our human serum commercially from FDA approved donation centres in the US. There are very strict controls on the consent and transparency process as well as the serum being virus tested to ensure it’s a safe product to use in the lab!

Our cells come from tissue donor banks with full ethical consent. These are QC and safety tested before we use them in the lab.

In the “2 out of 3” approach for skin sensitisation testing, is there a test in your opinion that holds more weight?

KeratinoSens™, the activation of the keratinocyte cells in the epidermis, is probably the most powerful if you had to use one as a standalone test. Some companies do this if they don’t have that regulatory requirement to follow.

We really enjoyed being able to give the students a look at what we do here at XCellR8 and hope we will have the opportunity to be there in person next year – thanks LCF for having us!


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