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?