According to a study conducted by Mintel, 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for personal care products that contain natural ingredients, which means that the consumer wants products and ingredients that are ethically sourced, organic oils, and brands with transparent supply chains.

The rise in consumer interest for maintaining a healthy skin barrier has led to a surge in cosmetic ingredient launches. The skin barrier, crucial for overall health, regulates moisture, protects against external agents, and prevents conditions like eczema.

What is the skin barrier?

Our skin barrier can be disrupted for many reasons:

  • over-washing
  • exfoliating
  • poor air quality
  • stress
  • exhaustion
  • too much sun
  • exposure to irritants
  • genetics
  • ageing
  • pre-existing skin conditions

When the skin barrier is damaged, the tight arrangement between the skin cells is lost. This allows external irritants to penetrate more easily and leads to more water (moisture) leaving our skin. Common ‘active’ ingredients to combat these stressors include: ceramides hyaluronic acid niacinamide natural plant extracts and oils glycerin petrolatum.

How do we evaluate these products?

TEER (trans-epithelial electrical resistance) is a well-established method of evaluating and monitoring epithelial tissue (skin, lungs, digestive tract, gums etc) in a non-destructive way. Barrier function can be stably monitored for minutes, hours, or days without disturbing the cells. The strength and integrity of these barriers is assessed via measurements of the electrical resistance across the cell layer. A low frequency current is applied, and the resistance of the barrier is measured. The easier the current flows between the cells the lower the TEER value, a reduced TEER value is an indicator of a compromised barrier.

What about products for sensitive skin?

Consumers seek out the products that will help protect the skin’s barrier function and not aggravate or irritate. And a quick scan of the shelves in any health and beauty store shows that the cosmetics and toiletries industry has responded; more and more leave-on and rinse-off products claiming mildness or formulated for sensitive skin.

Baby skin also has reduced barrier function and a different lipid profile, increased reactivity, lower melanin production (and therefore less in-built sun protection). It also displays higher permeability, enabling potential irritants to be more easily absorbed, resulting in increased risk of skin reactions such as atopic dermatitis. All of this has important implications for skin care and protection in babies, creating the need for mild products to preserve the skin barrier and avoid induction of irritation or allergy.

Our XtraMild mildness tests uses the human reconstructed skin model, EpiDerm, to model real life exposure scenarios to cosmetics and personal care ingredients and formulations. The test provides an important pre-screen to de-risk clinical studies and contributes to claim support.

XtraMild™ can ensure ingredients and products:

  • Avoid irritation to the skin and eyes
  • Maintain pH balance to the skin
  • Ensure microbiome integrity

TEER measurements are perfect add-on to skin and eye mildness testing from XCellR8 adding weight to your evidence of mildness. Speak to our sales team today about getting your lab slot reserved: or contact us now.