Development of in-vivo test models for skin cleansing products

Project No. FF-FP 0276


completed 06/2011


In the cooperation project of three centres involved in occupational dermatology in Germany (Heidelberg Prof. T. L. Diepgen; Jena Prof. Dr. P. Elsner and Osnabrück Apl. Prof. Dr. S. M. John) in-vivo models for irritancy and efficacy tests of skin cleansers used in the occupational setting will be developed and validated.
Appropriate skin cleansing at work places is relevant in the context of prevention of occupational irritant hand dermatitis. Harmful substances such as irritants and allergens should be removed effectively, but as gently as possible. Unnecessarily intensive and aggressive cleaning procedures may harm the skin barrier and should be avoided. To date, it is difficult to select appropriate skin cleansers due to lacking uniform test criteria.


An innovative in-vivo model serving both for efficacy as well as irritancy testing of skin cleansers used in the occupational setting was developed and validated in a cooperation research project of three university centers involved in occupational dermatology in Germany (Heidelberg, Jena and Osnabrück). In a first step, professional skin cleansers were classified and categorized according to exposure profiles and cleansing scenarios of work places in industry, crafts, as well as in the service and health sector. Six skin-compatible model soils, being representative of the most prevalent stainings, were developed together with corresponding model cleansers. In addition, a newly developed skin cleansing device that facilitates standardized and simultaneous cleansing procedures, was inaugurated in a test protocol to evaluate the cleansing efficacy of commercial cleansers compared to the reference model cleansers. Parameters derived from non-invasive bioengineering methods serve to quantify both the cleansing efficacy and the cumulative irritant potential, and the results obtained can be related to each other. Finally, the test model was validated in a multi- centre trial in order to investigate applicability and reproducibility of the results.


The validated test methods developed in this research project may contribute to a better transparency in the market of commercial skin cleansing products and enable consumers to select appropriate products according to relevant workplace-oriented criteria.

Last Update:

6 Jun 2012


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
  • Universität Osnabrück
  • Universität Heidelberg

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Hauterkrankungen (außer Krebserkrankungen), Prävention

Description, key words:

Skin, skin cleansing, efficacy, evaluation