Final Workshop: “Biosensors: applications and potential for bioactive compound screening”

Faro (Portugal), 20-21st February 2018.

In vitro methods for safety and efficacy assessments of cosmetics



Dr. Sophia Letsiou,
Biochemistry laboratory, Scientific Affairs department, APIVITA SA, Athens, Greece


In vitro methods have been demonstrated as valuable and effective tools to overcome the limitations of animal in vivo studies. Animal testing in the European Union is prohibited for cosmetic ingredients and products since 2004.


Additionally, the commercialization of any cosmetic products containing ingredients tested on animal models was forbidden in 2009. In consequence of these boundaries, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) proposes a list of validated cell-based in vitro models for predicting the safety and toxicity of cosmetic ingredients. On the efficacy side, modern cosmetology is connecting to cellular biology, exploring the biological processes behind skin aging phenotype. Currently, there are two types of in vitro cell models that simulate the function of both human epidermis and dermis. 2D in vitro models that cells cultured on a traditional 2D surface-coated substrate and 3D cells are seeded on a thick layer of polymeric 3D molecules, which more closely mimics their natural environment. Based on this model we can assess different skin related-processes such as skin aging, wound healing, inflammation, hydration, anti-oxidant defense. On the other hand, two trends of modern cosmetology epigenetics and metagenomics seem to offer a rather holistic approach on skin related processess.