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Cosmetic Testing

According to European Union (EU) policies, all finished cosmetics or personal care products and their ingredients are required to go through safety testing. In the past, safety testing has been done using live animals. This has changed as EU policies over the past decade have encouraged alternative methods, such as cell-based tests. In 2013, the EU banned the marketing of cosmetic products that contain animal-tested ingredients. This further emphasizes the need for cell-based methods. Cell-based assays can be used to understand how cosmetic compounds affect human cell physiology. Potential effects include changes in cell health, oxidative or chemical stress, energy metabolism, epigenetics and cell signaling.

Cell Viability


Viability assays measure the number of live cells by detecting biomarkers that decline upon cell death. An increase of the viability marker indicates cell proliferation, while a decrease indicates cell death. Viability assays are often multiplexed with cytotoxicity assays for a more definitive analysis of cell growth or death.


Cell Culture Preparation and Plating

Watch this video to learn the procedure for culturing and plating cells for use in cell-based assays.

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Cytotoxicity


The hallmark of cell death is loss of plasma membrane integrity. Therefore, cytotoxicity assays can detect cell death using markers that are accessible after plasma membrane damage caused by cosmetic compounds.


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Apoptosis


Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death and can be observed by measuring the appearance of various markers after cosmetic compound treatment.


Introduction to Apoptosis

What happens to cells undergoing apoptosis? Watch this video to learn about the extrinsic apoptosis pathway.

Intrinsic Triggering of Apoptosis

How does DNA damage initiate apoptosis? Watch this video to learn about the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.

detecting apoptosis in real time

Detecting Apoptosis in Real Time

Learn about a sensitive method to study apoptosis and secondary necrosis in real time using a plate-reader.

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Inflammasomes


Inflammation is a protective response to external stimuli, such as cosmetic compounds. When activated, innate immune cells respond to stimuli with the formation of protein complexes called inflammasomes. This leads to caspase-1 activation, which stimulates processing and release of the cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, eventually causing pyroptosis—an immunogenic form of programmed cell death.


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Reporter Assays


Reporter assays are used as an easy indicator of alterations in a functional signaling pathway.


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Oxidative Stress


Oxidative stress results from an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the capacity to eliminate ROS and repair oxidative damage. Oxidative stress can be induced by cosmetic compounds that are chemical oxidants, inhibitors of antioxidant activities or uncouplers of mitochondrial function.


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