a band aid taped to womans back with a flower underneath it
Photo: Taisiia Stupak

Patch testing is a way to make sure skincare products are going to do what they promise and are safe for the consumer to use on their skin. Manufacturers are required to do extensive testing on their products before they put them on the market. Patch testing is one of the tests manufacturers do to find out how skin reacts to different ingredients in skincare products before they go on the market.

What is Patch Testing?

Different tests are conducted with all new skincare products. Patch testing is one of those tests. It consists of putting a small amount of a product on a small patch and then securing the patch to the test model's skin. This is a way of predicting whether the product will cause skin irritation or even sensitization. The patch is left on the skin for a predetermined time to test for a reaction. This time is often 48 hours. Different tests can call for different amounts of time.

The subjects are hired to participate and are given information and responsibility information in advance. The test process can involve different numbers of participants. This type of consumer testing is important to the whole product safety goal. Beauty and personal care product testing will involve sending a sample of a prototype or a product that has been conditionally OKd for marketing. The product has to have already undergone testing for safety and stability.

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Photo: RODNAE Productions

The testing is done with a targeted panel of carefully chosen subjects to use the product in patch testing or in product use testing. The test comes with detailed, exact instructions for use and covers a predetermined time period. The panel reports or opinions provide the manufacturer with valuable information. The patch test can catch allergic reactions or other negative results and they can be corrected before the product is marketed.

Product Tests

There are many possible product tests available to manufacturers including patch testing, blind testing, new vs old formulation testing, Formula A vs formula B testing, fragrance preference testing, product testing for certain ingredients such as CBD or hemp oils, and many more tests with small test pools or very large test pools. The testing parameters depend on the needs and specifications of the new product manufacturer.

The testing is designed to meet customer brand marketing, product development, legal, and other objectives and goals.

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Photo: RODNAE Productions

Why is Testing Important?

The U.S.A. government requires cosmetics and skincare products to be safe when consumers use them following listed directions. Testing is one way to assure the safety and efficacy of products. After all, does it matter if a product is safe if it does not do what it promises? The manufacturer or distributor of skincare or cosmetic products is legally required to ensure the safety of their products if they are correctly used according to package instructions.

Product marketing tests cover more than product safety and if the product works as advertised. Product testing can help companies avoid lawsuits and product failures. The product tests can be testing the customer market. The test results can help the seller tweak the product itself, the packaging, the instructions on the packaging, or the marketing approach. It can help the manufacturer or distributor avoid product failures and monetary losses.

Testing helps manufacturers gain test subject opinions and feedback, confirms the product benefit, test brand assumptions, and spot defects in the product, the packaging, or the marketing strategy.

Lots of love,
Liz