Consumer product testing and claim substantiation – Update 2014

Published: 15-May-2014

Cosmetic Science Technology: Authors Werner Voss, M.D., Gerrit Schlippe, M.D. & Ilsabe Bunge, M.D., Ph. D. from Dermatest GmbH draw on over 35 years\' experience to provide an unabridged industry update

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Authors: Werner Voss, M.D., Gerrit Schlippe, M.D., Ilsabe Bunge, M.D., Ph. D., Dermatest GmbH, Muenster, Germany

Key words: Testing; efficacy, tolerability, scientific criteria, dermatologically tested, allergy, sensitive skin

Dermatological reports in accordance with scientific criteria are of decisive value for the safety and efficacy of cosmetics. The latest alterations in European legislation emphasise this fact. Whether a cosmetic product is well tolerated or causes irritations or allergic reactions must be proven by dermatological tests. The following effects of skin care products can be studied in a quantitative way: protection against sun radiation, moisturisation/hydration of the skin, reduction of skin roughness, reflection of light from the skin surface, water loss changes with the function of cosmetic treatments, effects of cosmetic products on skin temperature, skin pH, skin topography, e.g. skin roughness, skin friction, analysis of cell layers of the stratum corneum and the stratum spinosum. The value of dermatological reports directly depends on the respectability of the commissioned dermatologists. Pitfalls occur whenever non qualified scientific results are generously used for advertising campaigns such as ‘dermatologically tested’, ‘allergy tested’, ‘hypo-allergen’ etc. Additionally many reports are scientifically insufficient. Dermatological reports on cosmetics therefore must be valid in scientific methods and practical execution. We report on more than 35 years of practical testing.


There are many tests on cosmetics, which are necessary for:

  • Tolerability
  • Non sensitisation
  • Proof of efficacy
  • Claim substantiation; and
  • The fulfillment of the EU cosmetic regulations.

Today epidermal moisture, skin roughness and the fat content of the skin can be measured, as well as the interactions between cosmetics and the molecular reactions of the skin. We can test products on human 3-D skin models, we can determine DNA and RNA changes and in this way we can test single ingredients for their specific efficacy. Methods such as cutometry, sebumetry, profilometry of the skin, interleukin-determination, RNA and DNA amplification should be routine test methods in established laboratories. These methods should be wisely combined with dermatological expert knowledge and in vivo in-use tests, if necessary.

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