Post — 10 Min Read

Human Trials vs 3D Skin Model Tests

Labskin’s 3D skin model is leading the way through pandemic for cosmetic and skincare research.

Covid-19’s spread across the globe since the end of 2019 has seen whole continents shut down, one third of the global population out of work and businesses in all industries having to learn how to adapt productively, commercially and financially to ensure their continued existence and survival in the post-pandemic world.

Some companies have adapted immediately to providing essential equipment and services – a far cry from their usual business practices but an excellent model to follow to ensure businesses can survive during a time when so many things are now deemed “non-essential”. Other businesses continue to sell their products, albeit at drastically reduced production levels. Those businesses that had to close their doors temporarily during the worldwide lockdown are now faced with rebuilding their workforce and production lines once they are permitted to reopen their doors.

Across the globe countries are beginning to slowly venture out of lockdown and to lower the restrictions on both local movement and wider travel. So too are businesses as early stages of production are beginning again, commercial practices are being adapted to follow the restriction guidelines which most have accepted to be the “new normal” for the coming years while this pandemic plays itself out. Existing products in cosmetics and skincare will begin to be promoted again and work will resume on research into new products for this “new normal”.

What is the Cosmetic & Skincare landscape looking like?

Many skincare and cosmetic products attach claims that we are all familiar with – antibacterial, anti-ageing etc. to their marketing material. Since Covid-19 every country has advised on the use of antibacterial hand soaps, gels, sprays etc. as a first point of defence against the spread of the virus. To date, there has not been a scientifically substantiated or proven test that antibacterial products do remove the threat of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. It is, however, the expert advice given by the World Health Organisation. There have been numerous tests prior to Covid-19 that these products protect against the family of coronavirus. While there is little concern that this educated guess is incorrect, it is not yet proven. Evidence will be required for new or existing products claiming effectiveness against SARS-Cov-2.

The new EU Medical Devices regulations also came into force during this pandemic and may have slipped under the radar for many. These new regulations update decades-old legislation. However, they pose issues for products with an active ingredient, as per the new regulations they now fall into a stricter clinical testing for proof of efficacy. These regulatory changes are important due to reclassification of existing products. Further information on these guidelines can be found here.

Human Trials vs 3D Skin Model Tests – Cosmetics and Skincare products

Human trials have long been part of product testing in the pharmaceutical sector and more recently the cosmetic and skincare sectors. They are prevalent in the news now due to the race to discover a vaccine for Covid-19, and as always pose many challenges, particularly for the safety of the volunteers. The same applies to human trials in the production of cosmetic and skincare products. Other challenges faced are:

Accuracy – ensuring that all participants are following the procedures and protocols perfectly can be difficult at the best of times.

Time Consuming – organising a human trial requires numerous participants and recruiting volunteers, interviews, whittling down to ideal candidates and so on can add up to months of preparation.

Costly – hiring/providing suitable premises to hold the trials, salaries/wages for administration and research staff, compensation for volunteers, insurance and other administration costs all add up to a substantial figure.

And now SAFETY – while the safety of volunteers has always been important, ensuring it has now become more difficult. Trial facilities where social distancing must be adhered to, reduction of numbers of people allowed to congregate at one time, ensuring no cross-contamination from the extra hygiene procedures now in place must all be taken into account when managing a new testing project.

The question is, what is the alternative?

Using 3D Skin Models for product testing

3D skin models have been in development for more than 30 years. Initially the models were used solely for basic research interests and to obtain a better understanding of skin physiology. As the models have become more advanced, scientists realised they could use these models to test chemicals for efficacy and toxicity without the need for animal testing.

Skin models are used today for scientific research and cosmetics, skincare, chemical and pharmaceutical industry testing. The main uses for these models are to test safety and efficacy of a product on the human skin and evaluating which claims can be supported.

What is Labskin’s 3D Skin Model and how is it unique?

There are various 3D skin models available to use for product testing, with different characteristics. The Labskin 3D skin Model is a full thickness human skin equivalent. Its large surface area and strength make it ideal for a wide range of research and testing applications.

A unique feature of Labskin is that it can be colonised with microflora to provide a life-like platform for studying microbiological systems and/or the influence of microbials. Other features include:

  • Fully differentiated and multi-layered skin model
  • Dermal and epidermal components
  • Metabolically active primary human skin cells
  • De novo collagen production
  • Ready to use, easy to handle format
  • Skin-like surface and strength
  • 4.5cm2 test area
  • Barrier function similar to native skin
  • 10+ day test window
  • Uniform, high quality and reproducible tissues
  • Large size allows for multiple tests

The testing services provided by Labskin can be found here.

Benefits of using Labskin 3d Skin Model

The savings generated from the accurate scientifically quantifiable results of the effect of a product or ingredient on lab-grown human tissue far outweigh the cost of testing.

Labskin certification ensures a company can significantly reduce guesstimated factors of safety, efficacy, sensitivity, allergic reactions, inflammation and protection while confirming the enhancement of skin’s native defence against undesirable microbes.

Reducing the number of people involved in the testing process reduces overall costs and time taken from testing phase to product launch, while ensuring optimum levels of health and safety are adhered to for staff, researchers, volunteers and, ultimately, consumers.

Learn more about Labskin’s 3D Skin Model and testing capabilities. If you have any questions email