Why is Efficacy Testing Required for Personal Care Products?

There are many cosmetic and personal care companies who are under increasing pressure to provide solid evidence to support their product claims. Products contain labels mentioning claims such as 10X (10 times) stronger hair, 24 hour effective moisturization, reduces wrinkles in 30 days, etc. Companies now-a-days no longer rely purely on their marketing claims. With the development of new ways to measure cosmetic and personal care product efficacy they now go for substantiation of their claims by conducting Safety Testing and Efficacy Testing.

 Earlier most efficacy testing was subjective, but now instrumental methods have come up including in-vitro and in-vivo measurements on human volunteers. Instrumental evaluation is often used in efficacy testing and this generates data that can support claims.  In Hair care products efficacy testing, improvements in hair strength or shine etc is measured whereas in hairstyling products factors that retain the properties are measured. Deodorants efficacy testings are done to measure effectiveness of Deodorants to reduce the malodor for a longer duration.  

Since personal care products are formulated to be used on human skin, it is highly appropriate to conduct safety and efficacy testing of these products on human volunteers. The use of human subjects is important to determine the acceptability of personal care products, as well as the efficacy of formulations.

 The volunteers apply the product to their skin in a manner that is similar to how the general public might use it. These volunteers then provide verbal feedback about the product. This type of information is generally captured through the administration of a test questionnaire at the end of the test. These efficacy tests range from a single application technique to multiple use techniques depending upon the information desired. Such Efficacy testing generally requires a control group in the form of no treatment, a placebo [a formulation without active ingredient(s) or a competitive product.

The real influence in claim substantiation testing of personal care products comes from the use of instruments to objectively assess the efficacy of the test product. There are a number of instrumental techniques that could be used for Efficacy Testing. For example:- To measure the amount of moisture in the skin, an instrument like Moisture meter is used,  glossmeter for measuring lustre, cutometer for measuring visco elastic property of skin, sebumscale for measurement of sebum, spectrophotometer to measure changes in the color of the skin etc.
Other techniques include a method for measuring depth of wrinkles using 3D image analysis techniques.  

The type of product being evaluated also plays a key role in determining the type of Efficacy testing to be conducted. Furthermore, the type of competition that a given product will face in the marketplace must also be considered while designing an Efficacy test for a personal care product. This is especially important when the competitive product makes aggressive claims.  The new product will not only have to work effectively but also, exceed qualitatively than the competitive product.

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