ELMT 101: What is a Primary Skin Irritation Test And Why Should I Care?

by Gina Myung on Dec 17, 2021

Welcome to ELMT 101!  Class is in session, and we’re excited for you ro join in for the first of many skincare deep dives we’re going to get into with skincare brand elmt. We’ll be getting to know the products we know and love on a deeper, educated level so buckle up and bring out your notepads. For our first class, we wanted to get into a term that you might see often when looking for products: non-irritating.  You might be thinking, “what does this mean and how do I trust these claims?” elmt, which launched earlier this year in April, prides itself on their lab based formulations made from closely working with their team of researchers. Wanting to bridge the gap between the lab and consumer, elmt has made it a core mission to educate consumers about the studies and numbers that matter when it comes to testing efficacy of their products.  elmt wanted to ensure that our #frameless solutions could be used by people of all skin types without any irritation. So, clinical tests were undergone, and boom. Results you can trust. Through a series of Primary Skin Irritation Tests, elmt has proven that all four #frameless solutions are clinically non-irritating. 
 To understand what exactly this is and why we should care, let’s break the process down into six different: purpose, testing facility, participants, testing method, method of assessment and conclusion.  

1. Purpose

Primary Skin Irritation Tests are conducted to provide scientific backing and clinically prove that #frameless solutions are non-irritating.  

2. Research Center 

The four #frameless solutions were tested at two trusted research centers located in Seoul: the Advanced Calming Solution & Gentle Exfoliating Solution at the Global Medical Research Center, and the Skin Illuminating Solution & Skin Activating Solution at the P&K Research Center. Both research centers specialize in assessing the stability and effectiveness of general cosmetics, functional cosmetics, external medicines, beauty medical devices, health functional foods, medicines, and cosmetics.  Tests are conducted in accordance with Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDA) standards through top-notch specialists, human application tests, and research personnel specialized in invitro tests, and state-of-the-art equipment. 

3. Participants 

There were a total of 66 participants across both tests: 34 at GMRC, and 32 at P&K. To ensure that the studies reflected product reactivity in a diverse group, participants were both male and female whose ages ranged from their 20s to 50s, with various skin types.  
 Additionally, to eliminate any external factors that might affect the reaction results, healthy individuals without acute or chronic diseases (including skin diseases) were selected. All participants were screened through a questionnaire to determine whether their skin conditions were suitable for the test, and specific criteria outlined those that would not be able to participate, including those:  - Pregnant or breast-feeding- With lesions at the test site- With allergies or hypersensitivity- Who have infectious skin diseases- Who have irritation with cosmetics, medicine, or sunlight exposure- Who have received systemic steroids or phototherapy a month before participation- Who have received skincare and/ or skin procedures (i.e. scaling, botox, filler, laser, tattoo) 3 months before participation 
  1. 4. Testing Method

⊙ Test site: a flat area on the participant’s back where there is no discoloration or skin damage⊙ Test materials: IQ Ultimate chamber, 3M Micropore Tape, Micropipette1) IQ Ultimate chamber: a patch testing device that contains small chambers that hold the test substance. These are flexible and adhere to the participant’s skin.2) 3M Micropore Tape: a hypoallergenic tape commonly used to secure bandages and dressings to skin without leaving a sticky residue or fear of irritation.3) Micropipette: a pipette specifically used to handle volumes of liquid in the microliter scale.⊙ Test procedure: 20 microleters of each #frameless solution was loaded to the center of an IQ Ultimate Chamber, which were completely adhered to the skin and fixed with micropore tape.  After 24 hours, the IQ Ultimate chamber was removed. After 1 hour of removal of the patch, the researcher took a picture of the area where the test product was applied and evaluated the degree of skin reaction in a primary reading. A secondary reading was performed after 24 hours of patch removal.  
  1. 5. Method of Assessment

Once the primary and secondary readings were performed, the degree of skin irritation was visually evaluated by the researchers according to the criteria of Frosch & Kligman and the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) guideline.   Who are Frosch & Kligman you ask? They were a pair of researchers who led a study in 1979 that pioneered a new method for assessing the irritancy of soaps. This test is now better known as the soap chamber test, which has now formed the basis of evaluation for cosmetic testing.  Researchers recorded each solution’s reaction grade according to the table above, then used the value to calculate the product’s skin reactivity score. This score was then used to determine the final reaction score.   
  1. 6. Conclusion

So, what do all of these numbers and results mean? According to the Primary Skin Irritation Tests conducted at both GMRC and P&K, the reaction score of all four frameless solutions is proved to be 0.00, which are considered non-irritating products. 
 There’s so much that happens behind the scenes when it comes to creating a skincare product. From ideation and formulation to testing, there are months of preparation that go into ensuring products are fully optimized before hitting the shelves. Without brand transparency and proper education, it can be difficult to fully understand the products we’re using on the daily, or even ask the right questions about them.  The topics we can talk about are endless, so check back for the next session of ELMT 101 to learn more about your favorite #frameless solutions! 

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