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Skin and Scalp Testing

Laboratory Testing

The skincare market is a key segment of the global beauty industry. TRI has a powerful set of state-of-the-art tools and techniques to study the skin and the scalp. Our tests can be performed as pre-clinical studies within TRI, or as part of a full clinical studies. For the clinical studies TRI will partner with professional clinical testing companies in the US and around the world. TRI also offers skin cell culture studies, in vitro skin penetration studies, and skin lipid analysis. TRI reports are recognized around the world as being unbiased and of high quality.

Measurement Capabilities
TRI offers a wide range of skin testing methods to clients for research studies, pre-clinical studies, clinical studies and for claim support.

Active Deposition and Penetration • Imaging

FTIR and Raman Microspectroscopy

Obtaining a clear picture of how dermatological actives penetrate the skin is vital for optimizing topical formulations and supporting claims. Imaging surface deposition and retention is also important for many applications, particularly for sunscreen and rinse-off systems.

Active Deposition and Penetration • Imaging

Fluorescence Microscopy

Sometimes, for technical reasons, it is extremely challenging, if not impossible, to visualize active penetration in biological tissues using vibrational spectroscopy, especially when the actives are peptides or oils. In these specific cases, the use of fluorescence probe can offer a suitable alternative to visualize the penetration of these components using fluorescence microscopy.

Active Deposition and Penetration • Imaging

Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) Microscopy

Sometimes, for technical reasons (sensitivity), it will be impossible to visualize active penetration in the skin using FTIR microscopy, confocal Raman microscopy, or fluorescence microscopy. In these instances, Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (TOF-SIMS) microscopy might offer a suitable alternative for molecular as well as for elemental analysis.

Active Penetration · Quantification

Diffusion Cell Experiments

The clinical efficacy of any cosmetic or medicinal skin active is determined not only by its intrinsic activity, but also by its delivery to the site of action.  Pre-clinical skin delivery studies are, therefore, essential in ensuring that active delivery is maximized and that clinical tests are successful. 

Skin Moisture Levels


At TRI, skin moisture content can be measured reliably and semi-quantitatively using spectroscopic techniques.

Skin Moisture Levels

Electrical Capacitance

The Corneometer CM820 (Courage & Khazaka) measures the electrical capacitance of the uppermost layers of the skin. It provides very rapid measurements of skin hydration and is not affected by occlusion effects.

Skin and Scalp Surface pH

Flat Tip pH Electrode

Many skin problems are associated with an increase in skin pH. A flat-tip pH electrode can be used to measure skin pH across many different body sites, including the scalp.

3D Facial Mapping


Facial mapping at TRI uses data collected by a portable Fourier-transform infra-red (FTIR) spectrometer with an optical probe attachment.  Specific algorithms have been developed to create 3D images of the distribution of substances detected by the FTIR measurements.

Skin Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) Levels


An absence of NMF is believed to be linked to skin problems, such as skin dryness and atopic dermatitis (eczema).  If you are interested in measuring the levels of NMF to investigate the effects of skin treatments, you might consider using TRI’s unique, tape-stripping and spectroscopy technique.

Lipid Barrier Structure & Integrity


The way intercellular lipids are packed and organized in the stratum corneum is absolutely vital for their function.  Using unique spectroscopic techniques, TRI is able to explore these lipid packing arrangements.

Sebum Levels & Composition


TRI uses FTIR spectroscopy to measure the sebum levels in vivo without the need for any sebum extraction processes.  The flexibility provided by the optical probe attached to the IR spectrometer makes it easy to investigate all parts of the body, including the scalp.

Skin, Sebum, and Hair Lipid Composition

Chromatography and Mass Spectroscopy

In some instances, it is important to understand the precise chemical composition of hair, sebum, and skin lipids and how this might change in different conditions like aging, environmental stresses (pollution, UV exposure) or application of specific cosmetic treatments. The chromatography and mass spectrometry facilities at TRI can be used for such in-depth, lipidomic studies.

Skin Biomarker Levels

Analysis of Biomarkers in D-SquameTM tape, SebutapesTM or Skin Cell Cultures

A diverse and complex array of biomarkers can be found in the stratum corneum (SC) and on the skin surface dissolved in sebum and sweat. TRI can analyze tape samples for hormones (e.g. DHT), inflammatory cytokines and growth factors using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELIZA) or colorimetric assays. The same ELISA assays can be used in skin cell culture experiments to evaluate the impact of specific actives on important skin markers like the synthesis of collagen, elastin, etc.

Skin Anti-Aging · Collagen & Elastin Production

Fibroblast Cell Culture

The density of collagen and elastin in the dermis is well known to reduce with chronological aging.  Tests on dermal fibroblast cell cultures can investigate the effects of actives on stimulating the production of these important structural proteins.

Imaging Skin Surface Properties and Particulate Deposition

Macroscopic Imaging and Image Processing

High-quality, low-magnification images of the skin taken during clinical studies can be used to characterize a wide range of properties including skin inflammation, skin whitening, skin scaling (dandruff), hair growth and surface particulate deposition. 

Advanced Protocols
In order to fully address client and consumer needs, TRI has developed unique protocols to assess product effects and to assist in claims development.

Protection from Sunlight (UV) · Lipid Barrier Integrity


TRI protocols for the measurement of SC lipid barrier organization, using FTIR spectroscopy, are used to measure UV effects.  Our methods clearly show an increase in lipid disorder with increasing UV exposure and can be used to screen sunscreen effects.

Protection from Gaseous Pollution · Lipid Barrier Integrity


TRI has new custom-built exposure chambers suitable for use both in vivo and ex vivo to test effects of ozone and nitric oxides on skin.

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