Deter is a cruelty-free company, meaning we do not test our products on animals. Our decision is based on the idea that animal lives matter, and subjecting animals to harmful tests for which they cannot consent to is a cruel practice. Our decision also comes from the fact that animal testing is not required for skincare products, and this form of testing is inaccurate for measuring human safety. We’d like to provide you with a little more background on animal testing and the reasons behind our choice to be cruelty-free.
How Animal Testing Works in Skincare & Cosmetics
For many, the basis of the argument to avoid animal testing has to do with a concern for animal welfare. So what goes on in an animal testing scenario anyway? Two common tests include:
- The Ocular Irritation Test
In this test, a small amount of the test substance is placed into the eye of the animal (typically a rabbit). The animal is then monitored for any signs of redness or swelling, which may indicate that the product is an irritant.
- The Skin Test
In the skin test, an area of the test animal (once again, typically a rabbit), is shaved off. The test substance is then applied to the shaved area, and the animal is then monitored for any signs of irritation.
Many people see these tests as cruel and a reason to choose a cruelty-free approach. However, as we will explain next, that is only the tip of the iceberg in what is wrong with animal testing of skincare products.
Issues with Animal Testing
Beyond animal welfare, there are many scientific reasons why animal testing is not helpful in assessing skincare products and, therefore, should not be used. This includes:
- Animal testing does not accurately predict if the product being tested will be irritating to human skin. Rabbit and other animal skin is very different from human skin and does not respond the same way.
- These testing scenarios don’t accurately reflect how the product is used in the real world.
- Taken together, it is questionable whether animal testing has any value in determining the safety of skincare products for human use.
If animal testing of skincare products is not accurate or helpful, why do it? Assessing the safety of products is important, but there are better alternatives.
Alternatives to Animal Testing
Deter Outdoor (and other cruelty-free companies) still takes the safety of our products very seriously. The good thing is there are alternatives for testing skincare products. One popular option is called the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test. In this test, human volunteers are gathered, and then the test substance is placed on a small area of the skin. The skin is monitored for redness and irritation, and the test is repeated several times on each individual to also assess whether sensitivity develops over time. In addition to the Human Repeat Insult Patch Test, there are several “in vitro” tests that companies can perform as an alternative to animal testing. “In vitro” tests do not involve animals or people.
Animal Testing Is Not Required
A final reason why we avoid animal testing is that animal testing is not required by the U.S. FDA for cosmetics products and most over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. In some countries (for example, China) the government does require animal testing. However, the U.S. sees very few safety problems with topical skincare products and, therefore, does not require this testing. Companies are still responsible for the safety of their products – but they can work with professional formulators, use ingredients with good safety histories, and employ other testing methods to avoid animal testing.
Deter Outdooor’s decision to be a cruelty-free company is based on a lot of considerations – the cruelty of subjecting animals to testing, the fact that these tests are not accurate or predictive of human sensitivities, the availability of alternative safety testing methods, and the fact that animal testing is not required by the FDA. We are proud to be part of a movement where companies are moving away from animal testing and toward cruelty-free product formulation. We thank you for supporting us in our efforts.