China takes a step closer to cruelty-free cosmetics

For years, testing cosmetics on animals has been considered a necessary step to ensure the safety of products for use by the public. This includes lipstick, eye shadow, skincare products? basically, anything that you apply to your face. 


Anyone who works in science, however, knows that just because a product works (or doesn't work) on animals doesn't guarantee that the product will interact with the human body in the same way. In fact, there have been numerous studies showing that in vitro methods provide a stronger correlation to a product's interaction with human biology than animal studies do (1,2). These in vitro methods primarily focus around sophisticated testing using human cells and tissues. Other methods involve using computer modeling, and when in vitro methods are combined with computer modeling, the data typically ends up being much more relevant to human health than data collected from animals. 


So why is animal testing so popular in the cosmetic industry? Well in the US, cosmetic and skincare companies don't have to prove efficacy or safety of their products to regulatory agencies before they introduce them onto the market. Rather, they are liable if it turns out that their products aren't safe. This means that animal testing is essentially done so that companies can gather data on live organisms to protect themselves if a customer were to claim injury from using their products. So, companies who cater to the US market are free to choose which methods are the most compelling and ethical in proving safety of their products. 


Luckily, the world as a whole has evolved to sympathize with the unnecessary cruelty that is being imposed on animals through these studies. The scientific community is full of this same compassion and has worked to develop more rapid, precise, and relevant alternatives. Recently, China has made a progression to this same conclusion. 


Up until now, China has required all foreign products to be tested on animals before entering their market. This puts the major American and European cosmetic companies in a difficult position, as China represents a very attractive market, worth over $26 billion in 2018 (3,4). So, if companies want to sell their products in China, they must perform animal studies. These include companies such as Revlon, La Roche Posay, Olay, Nivea? and the list goes on (5).


The good news is that China's National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) has just announced that they approved 9 non-animal based methods to be used in lieu of animal testing for all domestically-produced and imported products (6,7). While this doesn't necessarily mean that China will replace all animal testing with cruelty-free alternatives, it does mean that cosmetic and skincare companies will now have viable options to avoid the undue burden to animals. And as an added incentive, these in vitro methods are significantly cheaper than animal studies (8,9).


OneSkin believes that science should be met with ethics, and that includes making sure our furry friends are safe and happy. That is part of the reason why OneSkin's technology is based on testing human skin in vitro and validating novel age reversal compounds by quantifying the amount of damaged cells in aged skin tissues, before and after the treatment. To learn more about our cruelty-free methods, check out our website and this interview published on Fight Aging and rest easy knowing that one of the world's largest skincare markets has just opened up a new doorway to a safer and happier world for both animals and humans.  

1. Borenfreund E, Puerner JA. Toxicity determined in vitro by morphological alterations and neutral red absorption. Toxicol Lett [Internet]. 1985 Feb 1 [cited 2019 May 20];24(2?3):119?24. Available from:
2. Kirkland D, Pfuhler S, Tweats D, Aardema M, Corvi R, Darroudi F, et al. How to reduce false positive results when undertaking in vitro genotoxicity testing and thus avoid unnecessary follow-up animal tests: Report of an ECVAM Workshop. Mutat Res Toxicol Environ Mutagen [Internet]. 2007 Mar 30 [cited 2019 May 20];628(1):31?55. Available from:
3. China?s Cosmetics Market | HKTDC [Internet]. [cited 2019 May 20]. Available from:
4. Pearson RM. In-vitro techniques: can they replace animal testing?*. Hum Reprod [Internet]. 1986 Dec [cited 2019 May 20];1(8):559?60. Available from:
5. Animal Testing In China: Required For Foreign Cosmetics Companies ? Cruelty-Free Kitty [Internet]. [cited 2019 May 20]. Available from:
6. China Will No Longer Require Animal Testing On Cosmetic Products | British Vogue [Internet]. [cited 2019 May 20]. Available from:
7. China Approves Nine New Non-Animal Cosmetics Tests [Internet]. [cited 2019 May 20]. Available from:
8. Alternatives to Animal Testing | PETA [Internet]. [cited 2019 May 20]. Available from:
9. HumaneSociety. Cost Comparisons: Animal Tests vs. In Vitro Alternatives. 

OneSkin Team

OneSkin Team

By being able to reprogram the "code of life", we will create new ways of living, and new ways of growing older. OneSkin is developing solutions to enable people to age better, healthier, and with better quality of life. Our mission is to promote people's access to effective anti-aging products, so they can feel and age at their best.

May 23, 2019

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