Written by Dr Carol Treasure

Here I am indulging in some all-important self care after a very busy couple of weeks! When rushing around, often staying in hotels and spending time in air conditioned conference rooms, I sense my skin becoming a little more sensitive. I’ve never been able to use harsh products – I love gentle formulations that nourish my skin – so the topic of mildness is of personal interest to me. So today I’m sharing a little about how we assess mildness of ingredients and products using our animal-free and vegan tests at XCellR8.

We go well beyond standard in vitro irritation tests, offering more sensitive methods. We apply ingredients, base formulations or finished products to the surface of human reconstructed tissues using bespoke protocols, taking a lot of care to ensure that we’re modelling real-life application as closely as possible. The items are incubated for a relevant time and we assess characteristics that may change, from metabolism, cell viability and barrier integrity to subtle changes in gene expression. We work with companies to fit both technical needs and budgets, and can offer early screening versions of many of our methods.

We’ve spent years gathering a reference database for different product types, giving companies access to a wealth of information when it comes to that all-important interpretation of test results.

Our XtraMild test for skin – uniquely validated against human patch test data – was developed with support from Innovate UK. We collaborated to conduct case studies with ingredient suppliers like Innospec Inc. and Holiferm and global personal care manufacturers including PZ Cussons, The Body Shop and Unilever.

We offer a parallel approach for mildness to eyes, and have used the tests for both adult and baby care formulations to support “no tears” type claims. Of course, mildness is a relevant characteristic for a wide array of products coming into contact with other tissues, and we’ve designed various bespoke projects for companies developing oral care products (using reconstructed oral and gingival epithelia) and intimate care products (vaginal epithelium).

As you’d expect – uniquely from XCellR8 – all of our tests are animal product free (APF) and graded on our 7-point scale for total ethical transparency and human relevance. Many of our client companies are marketing vegan and cruelty free products and love the fact that our testing strategies enable them to fully align with their philosophies!

We love supporting companies to develop milder than ever products for humans, using the latest animal-free science! And of course it’s so satisfying for me to see products that we’ve tested available in the shops and online and to have full confidence in trying them out for myself!

Get in touch today to find out more.