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Alternative cruelty free methods of testing skincare products and ingredients
Leena Smirnov
Alternative cruelty free methods of testing skincare products and ingredients

If you ever considered cruelty free cosmetics, you probably wondered how it is tested if not on animals. There are a number of alternative methods, check the most common ones below:

1. In vitro test

These are experiments on human epithelium. Full skin structure is laboratory-grown on the basis of skin fragment tissue cells. This structure completely repeats the natural structure of the skin. It is continuously moisturized with gel-like substances, supporting the natural structure.

Advantages of the method:

  • epithelial cells multiply independently in vitro, creating new material for experiments.
  • you can create a skin model with any oil content, density, and age-related changes.
  • the results of this test are much more accurate than animal testing.

There are several types of in vitro tests: EpiDerm ™ and EpiSkin ™ were developed in Canada, adopted by the European Union and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and are recognized as a modern alternative method, completely replacing animal-based testing. 

2. Artificial skin

Similar method. A skin puncture is taken from a healthy person, and cells of epithelial tissue are grown under artificial conditions, on which experiments are then carried out.

Advantages of the method: you can recreate any type of skin and problems - wrinkles, blackheads, acne, dry or oily skin. 

3. Computer simulation 

This technology method (such as DEREK model) predicts the interaction of chemicals and tissues, which eliminates hazardous substances. 

4. Human body simulator 

This is a simulator that fully imitates the human body with all its cells and tissues. These simulators are used not only for testing cosmetics but also by students of medical universities for educational purposes, for example by nurses who learn how to perform injections. 

5. Volunteers 

Insured volunteers (healthy or having a particular kind of pathology) are given the minimum dose of a substance being tested in a lab. The volunteers use the substances being tested for a certain period under the strict supervision of doctors. 

If there is an alternative, why many companies still test on animals?

While ethical research methods are cheaper in the long run, at the first stage, high costs are required (ordering new equipment, retraining employees, etc.), which many companies are not yet ready to go to. 

Another reason until recently was China's requirement for compulsory animal testing of all skincare products being imported to the market. You would be pleased to know that the Chinese government has recently approved two non-animal testing methods! Further to this, the new regulations were drafted by China’s National Medical Product Administration. According to them, China is finally banning animal testing altogether from 1 January 2020!

Source: https://www.peta.org/blog/cosmetics-regs-china-animal-tests/ 

- Korean Kiwi Beauty 

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