Skin Care Products and Animal Testing

Animal testing, despite the neglect and abuse, continues. There are numerous ingredients which have already been tested, approved for use, and are deemed safe – and did not involve the mistreatment of animals.

Finding the best skincare products can be a challenge. You want to find items that will give your skin the youthful glow everyone craves, but ones that are also budget friendly and easily accessible where you live. This can be a challenge as it is, but factor in the number of companies still performing animal testing on their products, and it can seem downright daunting to find products that meet your beauty criteria while being cruelty free.

Why Animal Testing Occurs

Before a new skin care product can be delivered to the public, a series of tests are generally performed to determine how well the product works, as well as the safety of the product. Historically, this testing was done on animals, as it was considered unethical to perform such studies on humans. Not to mention, there just aren’t that many people willing to slather themselves in body butter with no idea of what the outcome might be.

Why Animal Testing is a Problem

There are numerous reasons why testing on animals is an issue, and they involve both the health of the animals as well as people.

Animal testing involves exposing animals, often rabbits, rats, or mice, with new or previously untested ingredients. The aim of these tests is usually to ensure their safety for human use. To perform these tests, animals are often shaved and cosmetics or skin care products are applied to the bare skin to test for irritation (rashes, redness, burns, and other signs of inflammation). Even in the event that irritation does occur, the animals are not provided any pain relief. Some ingredients may also be applied directly to the eyes to check for irritation, or applied/ingested in high doses to determine if an ingredient is carcinogenic.

In other tests, animals are given high levels of a particular ingredient until death. This is to determine the potential lethal dose.

Not only are these tests cruel to the animals involved, but they aren’t much help for humans either. Animals do not always respond to certain ingredients or procedures in the same way a person would. That means that much of the abuse these animals are subjected to may be in vain, since the results do not necessarily indicate a product’s safety (or lack of safety) on humans.

What can be Done?

Many product makers in the US have abandoned the use of animal testing when developing new products. Today, there are thousands of ingredients already tested and approved for human safety, giving skin care lines a head start in finding new formulations. According to the Humane Society, there are also numerous tests available that do not involve putting animals or humans in harm’s way during product testing. These new testing techniques are not only more humane, but more effective in many cases.

If you want to ensure that a product you are using is animal friendly and cruelty free, check the PETA database for approved brands. If the brand you like isn’t listed, contact the company directly and ask if they do animal testing. Keep in mind that some companies may not test on animals themselves, but if they sell to a country which requires animal testing, their products may still be used for animal based researched. This means these companies cannot officially be given the “cruelty free” label.


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