“In terms of sun protection, the key question that consumers are entitled to ask concerns efficiency. Our mission is to enable manufacturers to respond to this question with certainty, and guarantee in a virtually foolproof manner that a sun care product plays its role appropriately in protecting the skin and maintaining the genome. In my view, what is most important is to establish “a good correlation between in vivo tests and in vitro tests,” explained Jean-Claude Hubaud, President of Helioscience, who is also a lecturer at the University of Aix-Marseille and at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Montpellier.
A broad palette of tests
Located within the Cité de la Cosmétique - which comprises, in Marseille, businesses, research centres and training organizations - Helioscience ranks among the most renowned French specialists in the assessment of products for the protection against solar radiations. This independent laboratory offers a comprehensive range of in vitro and in vivo tests, on both toxicology (Comet assay, AMES assay, Micronucleus, etc.) and objectification, performed on skin explants, cell cultures. Helioscience can also perform many other tests ,from the quantitative assay of filters and other preservatives, of melanin to the objectification of an anti-radical, or soothing effect, by means of a cytokine assay, including water resistance, or photostability. “Our privileged interlocutors are R&D labs from brands of converters who entrust us generally with the control of the SPF and UVA protection indices, or of the Critical Wavelength (CWL),” added the President of Helioscience.
In practice, the Marseille-based lab can handle any sample coming from development laboratories or from a pilot manufacturing, but it can also monitor the first production batch, or any subsequent production. All types of finished products on the market can be tested, whether they are cosmetics, emulsions or oily formulas and whatever the claimed SPF.
Helioscience relies on state-of-the-art equipment, enabling a totally reliable analysis of the most diverse finished products. ”We can handle all types of finished products known as photo protective (day creams, make-up, etc.). As well as certain raw materials presented to formulators as ’SPF boosters’,” emphasised Hubaud.
Another asset of the company are the very short deadlines required – about a week – to undertake a test. Especially since in terms of objectification, Helioscience not only validates allegations, but also produces a comprehensive report on the efficiency of the concerned product.
An international reference
An internationally recognized expert in the field of in vitro testing of suncare products, Helioscience aims to become a reference centre in terms of solar expertise. For its president, “Helioscience’s position on the French market is now well established, and we want to further develop our global presence.”
From this point of view, the context looks quite favourable. Given the proven importance of sun protection products in terms of public health, the regulations affecting them tends to strengthen in all countries, regardless of their legal or cosmetic status or status or as an OTC drug. “The new FDA rules, or the mandatory nature of the ’Broad Spectrum’ test (when the SPF is higher than 15) are examples of interesting perspectives offered to Helioscience to conquer new markets,” confirmed Hubaud.
Indeed, beyond the EU regulations, the laboratory already performs many tests on the safety and efficacy of finished products following various international standards, including U.S. standards.