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Alternatives to Animal Testing

At Beiersdorf, we are committed to making animal testing obsolete worldwide. We are convinced that animal testing is not necessary to prove the skin tolerability and effectiveness of our cosmetic products. This is why we do not conduct any animal testing for our cosmetic products and their ingredients, and do not have any animal testing done on our behalf – unless, in the very rare case, this is specifically required by law.

For us, consumer safety always comes first. As one of the leading researching companies, we have been at the forefront of developing and promoting alternative test methods for 35 years. We have been – and still are – intensively involved in the successful development and validation of key methodologies that are now internationally accepted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and are already approved by key regulatory agencies. We invest significant resources for this, and have worked in joint collaboration with more than 50 partners and stakeholders on this effort worldwide to date.

In the EU, animal testing has been completely banned for cosmetic products since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products since 2013. Beiersdorf, of course, is in compliance with these legal requirements and, for a long time before, already actively forewent animal testing worldwide whenever legally possible. It is our stated goal to advance research to the point when animal testing can be completely abandoned worldwide.

Alternatives to Animal Testing

Our commitment includes:

Intensive research of alternative test methods for 35 years

Beiersdorf is one of the pioneers and global leaders in the field of alternative test methods. For 35 years, our research and development has been actively promoting the topic – through the own development of suitable methods as well as active participation in validation studies and research projects.

Development of one of the world’s first officially approved test without animal testing

In 1992, our researchers at Beiersdorf developed the basic method of the so-called 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test, thereby setting an important milestone: Following a formal ring study for validation, the test was the first officially accepted alternative method to animal testing (in 2000 in the EU and in 2004 within the OECD). Today, the method for testing the tolerability of new ingredients under the influence of UV lights is the worldwide standard and the first in vitro test to also be accepted in China for instance.

International collaboration with renowned partners

We are actively promoting the development of innovative alternative methods and the international acceptance of existing ones through joint collaboration with more than 50 stakeholders and partners to date. We are intensively involved in various working groups that fall under the European umbrella organization of the cosmetics industry (Cosmetics Europe), cooperate with the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EURL ECVAM), and support the OECD through the provision of scientific insights. We are an active member of the European Society of Toxicology in Vitro (ESTIV) and, since 2006, a founding member of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA), a cooperative organization of the European Commission and seven industry sectors. In addition, Beiersdorf has cooperated on innovative, cutting-edge research, such as studies on organ-on-a-chip technologies, which simulate the interplay of several organs.

Continuing to advance and support research in the future

Even though great progress has already been made, at the present time, there are still not officially accepted and established alternative test methods for all safety-related questions. Above all, this has an impact on the development of innovations and the approval of new ingredients for cosmetic products. Therefore, we will also continue to advocate intensively for the development and successful use of alternatives to animal testing.

Frequently asked questions

Does Beiersdorf conduct animal testing for its cosmetic products?

Beiersdorf does not conduct any animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients and does not have any animal testing done on its behalf – unless, in the very rare case, this is specifically required by law. Animal testing for cosmetic products has been completely banned in the EU since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products since 2013. Beiersdorf, of course, is in compliance with these legal requirements and, for a long time before, also actively forewent animal testing worldwide whenever legally possible. We are convinced that animal testing is not necessary to prove the skin tolerability and effectiveness of our cosmetic products.

Why does Beiersdorf not claim to be “cruelty free”? Why do Beiersdorf products not appear on “cruelty-free” lists from organizations like PETA?

At Beiersdorf, we do not make claims about our products being “cruelty-free” for several reasons:

  • Animal testing for cosmetic products has been banned in the EU since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products since 2013. In this sense, all cosmetics products available in the EU are equally “free of animal testing”. In our opinion, claims to something that is obvious from a legal standpoint can be misleading and we do not want to contribute to the confusion.
  • We also consider honesty to be important: In the past, almost every ingredient in today’s products had to be tested on animals at some point in order to comply with legal safety regulations at the time.
  • And, even today, a few local laws around the world require animal testing, for example in China.

That is why we continue to focus on developing and establishing alternatives to animal testing, and collaborating with regulatory authorities around the globe to approve these alternative methods. Our goal: to completely abandon animal testing for cosmetic products worldwide.

Why aren’t there alternative methods for all animal testing yet?

Unfortunately, despite years of immense effort from Beiersdorf, the whole industry and science, there still are not alternative methods for all of the safety questions required to be answered by European lawmakers. These particularly include questions about complex systemic effects of substances on the organism under repeated or long-term use. Above all, this has an impact on the development of innovations and the approval of new ingredients for cosmetic products. One thing is absolutely certain, consumer safety always comes first. Especially against this background, the development of alternative test methods through to their validation often takes many years. The effort is very high, since various approval authorities need to check and assess the methods according to identical parameters independently of one another.

Beiersdorf is an advocate for convincing the appropriate lawmakers and authorities to accept the existing cruelty-free testing methods. We support the enormous scientific efforts with considerable manpower and financial resources to close the remaining gaps in the alternative methods.

Does Beiersdorf conduct animal testing in China?

In China, animal testing is specifically required by law for the official safety certification of certain product categories. These include, for example, imported products or sunscreen products. In this case, the tests are conducted by local, state authorized institutes, without the involvement of the manufacturers. We do not use this data and do not need it for our safety assessments. It is our goal to convince the Chinese authorities that animal testing for cosmetic products is unnecessary. Therefore, we advocate for the international acceptance of alternative test methods. For this purpose, we actively share our scientific expertise and have been collaborating with more than 50 stakeholders and partners to date. We are in contact with Chinese authorities, both as a company and as a member of industry associations, in order to work towards a stop of product testing on animals. This commitment is already showing initial successes: Authorities have offered a simplified registration procedure without animal testing for products like shampoos and shower gels that are manufactured in China. We welcome this development and will continue to advocate for making local tests on animals for all cosmetic product categories in China no longer necessary. In addition, we support training programs, which aim at making in vitro testing methods better known in China.