Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Cosmetic Industry in vitro efficacy testing of finished products?

  • in vitro efficacy testing of finished products?

    Posted by Joejoe on March 7, 2023 at 8:30 am

    Dear all,

    I have been thinking about this question for some time. I am not a (cosmetic) chemist, just a biologist and new in this field. I want to do in vitro efficacy testing of some finished skincare products (serum, emulsion, cream etc.) by using biochemical (antioxidant etc.) and cell-based (cell viability, ROS etc.) approaches. However, I realised that the final product would be diluted during the experiment, so the outcome may not reflect the real effect. The other issue is that those finished products sometimes do not completely dissolve (maybe because of emulsifiers etc.) and interfere with the assay ending up with non-consistent and irrelevant outcome or the assay doesn’t work at all. I wonder how finished products can be in vitro tested for efficacy? Is there any resources like guidelines, books, articles etc.?If you guide me, I will highly appreciate. Thanks</font>


    • This discussion was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Joejoe.
    alexbrown replied 11 months ago 6 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • KMRCSMiami

    March 7, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    I think a better start is to define the scope of what you’re researching here, and sharing with us. This will define the recommendations we will then provide. I can help you with analytical or method development here, but I need to first know what the question you’re trying to answer is first.

    • Joejoe

      March 7, 2023 at 10:04 pm


      Thank you for your reply. I can elaborate my post with an example. Let’s say I have a product and I want to have a claim of “Product X increases collagen production.” based on in vitro assays. Experimentally, there are multiple things can be done such as checking collagen gene expression (qrt pcr), protein level (western blot), immunoflouresence so on and so forth. For such a claim, I need to use the finished product. However, as a nature of the assay, when the finished product is added, it will be diluted when you added into cell culture media etc. Problem 1: there may not be effect there anymore because of dilution. Problem 2: some finished products are not dissolved well (cream etc.) or emulsifier gets broken etc. In that case, how do all those CRO companies offer such tests? How do they do? To my understanding, in vitro tests (especially for claims) should be based on ingredients rather than the finished product. The finished product should be assessed via some participant trials on humans. Can you enlighten me about how the system works in the cosmetic industry? Thanks


      • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Joejoe.
      • KMRCSMiami

        March 8, 2023 at 10:37 am

        I come from the world of drug development, therefore my experience includes in-vivo, ex-vivo and in-vitro drug testing. I agree with you when you state many of these assays that you list work best for ingredient specific assessment, not product (cream, lotion) assessment. Historically, products would be tested on animals, this is super duper rare right now in the cosmetic industry in the US as the majority of the ingredients have been around for quite some time and we have decades of data already- so no need to test on animals. Its also SUPER EXPENSIVE to conduct animal studies and the majority of the time, unnecessary.

        So, its likely the data you’re looking for is somewhere on the internet.

  • PhilGeis

    March 8, 2023 at 5:42 am

    To the previous comment, I’ll add that you must consider how you will validate your in vitro protocol to consumer use.

  • ketchito

    March 8, 2023 at 6:16 am

    @Joejoe Welcome to the fantasy world of the cosmetic industry. Unfortunately, most of the studies you’ll find are done in vitro, which as you know, are hardly replicated in vivo. These studies are done mostly on individual ingredients (by suppliers), and what companies do is to use those studies to back up their claims. You can check which protocols suppliers use for collagen production (there are tons of these studies), but I warn you those studies canbe biased.

    • Joejoe

      March 8, 2023 at 7:24 am

      I totally agree. Honestly, that is also what we are doing. We have some data on single ingredients performed by suppliers. We use them for claims representing the finished product. But as you said, whatever you find in vitro, it may not be there in vivo. (This was proven many times in pharma. My background is pharmaceuticals actually). I have always been surprised seeing some CROs offering in vitro efficacy testing. I just wanted to know whether there is something that I don’t know. We tried in vitro, but we had problems that I mentioned in my previous comment. I still believe that it is better to run in Vivo with participant trials. Is there any reliable CRO that you can suggest to run participant/ clinical in Vivo efficacy trial with affordable prices ?????

    • KMRCSMiami

      March 8, 2023 at 10:25 am

      Oh the supplier propaganda studies are my favorite ???? I love debating with sales representatives with no background in science or product development on why a leaf will outperform traditional preservatives when used at 35% at a billion dollars per kg.

      Dont rely on supplier studies, they’re cheaply executed to market their ingredient. Go on PUBMED and look up how these studies are done. Conducting research of any kind is expensive, as an FYI.

  • chemicalmatt

    March 8, 2023 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been leaning towards genome-centered studies as of late. Genemarkers (Kalamazoo, MI, USA) has developed some amazing methods to validate outcomes of product application. It is a new science but I think will be the future of claims substantiation.

  • alexbrown

    July 20, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Joejoe,

    Maybe you can turn to some expert organizations like

    Sino Biological: https://www.sinobiological.com/category/solutions/in-vitro-pharmacology

    BOC Sciences: https://www.bocsci.com/lab-testing-services.html

    EUROLAB: https://www.eurolab.net/en/testler/kozmetik-testleri/in-vitro-etkinlik-testi/

    I hope the answer is helpful for you.

    • This reply was modified 11 months ago by  alexbrown.

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