The concept of 'dermatologically tested' is widely understood as the practice of having a finished skincare product tested and approved for usage. It is regarded to be primarily healthy if it adheres well to the skin; if the skin has a toleration of the finished product and in most cases, does not react adversely.

It should be remembered that such a claim is not governed by its actual definition, and there exist standardized industry-specific guidelines as to when the test method should be used to validate such a claim. Though numerous regulatory bodies and published approaches have made a range of suggestions and standards over the years, worldwide research methods provide various approaches for in vivo human safety evaluation.

Why is the “dermatologically tested” label important?

Sensitive skin can result in itchiness, redness and dryness, among other dermatological conditions. To obviate their skin conditions, people tend to be anxious about trying new and different products. Gaining insights of the role that sensitive skin lends in people’s day to day lives, lends significance in understanding the importance of “dermatologically tested” labels in cosmetic as well as hair care products.

People with sensitive skin display obvious reluctance in trying out unfamiliar and new products due to the fear of skin damage. SLS, parabens and synthetic fragrances are termed as common skincare irritants. The “dermatologically tested” label ensures the products are safe and free of these harsh ingredients, and that they have been tested for different skin types under a qualified dermatologist's supervision.

What does “dermatologically tested” mean?

Checking a product under the medical parameters of dermatology falls under the aegis of 'dermatologically tested'.

It means that that product has been tested for the tolerance of symptoms involving noticeably grave skin allergies. Such tests are run by well qualified dermatologists.

'Dermatologically tested' also means, however, that the dermatologist for the product may not be personally responsible for tolerance testing on volunteer individuals during the product's development.

The conventional sense of 'dermatologically tested' applies to the following claims:

  • Examination of the product on human skin
  • The safest manner of application of the product to the skin
  • The final acceptable result which in several cases, does not involve skin reactions of any degree whatsoever.

The difference between dermatologist recommended vs. dermatologist tested?

In the healthcare industry, people need to tread a thin line between business and beauty. You would want to use products that are "dermatologically tested" not "dermatologically recommended." The company knows the exact details of how the product was formulated and manufactured. A morally upright company even goes ahead and disseminates this information for those seeking it.

Kiaa Republiks, for instance, is one such skincare specialist firm that maintains unparalleled transparency in the health and wellness business. All of their products are tested by well-established research laboratories for a thorough appraisal of their respective components. This means that the original product developers do not influence the product appraisal tests in any form. Thus, you obtain authentic and reliable skincare products that you can trust in a heartbeat. 

Besides, qualified dermatologists add their own stamp of approval during their quality check, thereby lending another layer of reliability to the product. 

Different parameters to test skincare product formulations:

Some of the regular tests that you can run to make sure that your skincare product is safe for use are as follows:

  • Microbiological Testing

Within this test, the product manufacturer can run a complete cosmetic check for ensuring that it is free from all the conditions that allow the survival of dangerous microorganisms. The product sample also undergoes a Preservative Effectiveness Test [PET] to check for the presence of fungi, bacteria, yeast and other germs.

  • Toxicology and Stability Testing

Many Indian cosmetic testing labs test products for their shelf life.  They test it to gauge their shelf life under different conditions; such as: during active usage, during prolonged disuse or during intermittent usage with disuse of different periods. The key parameters include functionality, chemical, physical, as well as microbiological aspects.

The cosmetic toxicology tests check whether a substance within the product's formulation can potentially harm a particular skin type. More importantly, it is tested for potential harm to the eyes and other sensitive areas.

  • Performance Testing

This method needs product evaluation in terms of its overall reliability, longevity and consistency. Many well-established cosmetic research laboratories collaborate with quality conscious skincare firms to consistently support the latter’s top-of-the-line product delivery.

  • Patch Testing

In general, patch testing is conducted to see if a specific material causes allergic inflammation (scientifically known as contact dermatitis). Delayed allergic reactions can be identified by patch tests, which can take many days to manifest.

How to get something dermatologically tested in India

The following facilities are routinely engaged for cosmetic laboratory research:

  • Testing as per the protocols of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
  • Cosmetic testing according to buyer/manufacturer specifications
  • Development of cosmetic testing protocols for private label personal care products
  • Estimation of active ingredients
  • Testing Stability studies for shelf life estimation for the cosmetic license registration process
  • Analysis of raw materials and active ingredients
  • Microbiology testing for microbial counts and pathogens
  • Functional tests like spread-ability, pay-off test, viscosity, scratch test, etc.
  • Skin irritation studies
  • Safety tests such as heavy metals in cosmetics, banned pigments and chemicals
  • Complaints investigation and troubleshooting
  • Sun protection factor
  • Benchmarking against competitor products in the market

Furthermore, cosmetic product testing laboratories are approved by the CDSCO under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act as well as the state FDA. Reputable skincare firms are also accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) to the ISO 17025 standard for biological and chemical testing of cosmetics. The cosmetic analysis testing is carried out in compliance with the requirements of standard set by the Board's Testing.

Concluding remarks: Why is it necessary to get cosmetic products dermatologically tested?

Claims form an integral component of the sales and marketing process of any skincare brand. Apart from several other aspects, claims act as the primary determining factor in setting a product apart as a cosmetic product. Apart from demonstrating product efficacy, superiority and safety, cosmetic claims help determine product category depending on product benefits. Misleading and false cosmetic claims can elicit disciplinary action from Regulatory Authorities at best and product recalls at worst. Thus, cosmetic claims should be carefully crafted as per the region's regulations, while fulfilling their Regulatory compliance.

For validating their product's cosmetic claims, Kiaa Republiks lends a comprehensive review of the ingredients used under the applicable product category. This ensures that there is a distinguishable demarcation between therapeutic as well as cosmetic claims. Furthermore, supporting scientific literature helps maintain customer credibility.