Flick through every ad in women’s magazines nowadays, and you could be forgiven thinking that you are reading medical journals, with terms like in vitro testing, impressive-sounding chemical names, clinically proven, and dermo-clinical trials.
Supermarket and pharmacy shelves are also crammed with many cosmetic products, promising to wage wars on wrinkles. There could be even references to the so-called clinical tests, with results and subject numbers.
Cosmetic products may include mascara, body lotion, shampoos, nail polish, hair dyes, soaps, and hair styling products, just to name a few. They are regarded as safe, though this doesn’t mean there are no risks related to their use, especially if you don’t use them properly.
The need for Clinical Testing
Customer safety needs to be a primary concern of every innovative skincare company in the cosmetic industry. The duty of ensuring products are released in the market is safe. Apart from following regulations by governing bodies, carrying out clinical tests for cosmetic products, which give evidence to the claims they make, is advised by the European Cosmetic and Perfumery Association.
As far as marketing is concerned, it should be simple to trust product claims, which went through clinical testing in humans. When buying products, ensure you check for allergic reactions and triggers and determine whether the substance has health risks.
Stages of Clinical Trials
Usually, clinical trials are carried out in phases, which build on each other. Every stage is designed to answer all questions. Knowing the trial stage is vital because it will give ideas of how much is regarded about the treatment.
While there are some clinical tests for devices, diseases, and treatments, some drugs for patients with cancer are used as an example of clinical trials. These stages include:
- Phase 0
- Phase I
- Phase II
- Phase III
What is Involved in the Development of new Products
Developing new treatments or products may take several years of research. Developers will need to carry out a series of studies or tests, while the researcher should test how the product works on non-human subjects and human subjects.
Therefore, they carry out clinical testing to determine how effective and safe new products are before they are brought to the market.
What Efficacy Testing Entails?
The choice of test depends on skincare products, and of course, the claim being tested. This means that different efficacy tests can be used to examine hair loss prevention claims and hydration claims.
For UV protection sunscreen products, the first element to test is Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Product testing laboratory applies sunscreen products to a reconstructed skin model or human skin and uses a solar simulator to expose it to UV radiation.
Most sunscreen products guarantee to be water-resistant. Following the important guidelines of the COLIPA or FDA, the testing laboratory will carry out 50 or 60-minute water resistance tests. These tests can be carried out in vivo or in vitro.
Achieving Quality Testing
Most of the tests needed in the European Union are the reference in the cosmetic sector. According to every skincare company that does clinical trials, product testing is different based on the claims and category. Common testing that ensures skincare products are safe for use include:
- Microbiological testing
- Toxicological and safety testing
- Stability testing
- Compatibility testing for packaging
- Performance testing
Safety Concerns of Cosmetic Products
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t have the sole authority to prove cosmetics and their ingredients before going to the market. However, distributors or manufacturers of cosmetics are responsible for making sure that those products are safe when customers use them according to the directions indicated on the labels.
FDA can only take action against cosmetics in the market when they have reliable information that proves the products don’t meet all the legal requirements for safety.
The law usually treats color additives differently. Unlike most cosmetic ingredients, apart from coloring materials used in the coal-tar hair dye, FDA should approve color additives for the specific use before they are taken to the market.
Clinical Testing to Support Advertising
Clinical testing of personal care and cosmetic products plays an important role in substantiating claims for advertising and packaging while ensuring the products are effective and safe for every customer.
Product claims should be supported by strong evidence as advertising authorities become vigilant and customers demanding. Overcoming all the challenges associated with running clinical testing, like ensuring data is strong and volunteer recruitment is important for success.