Testing, Testing! How We Perform Clinical Testing (And Why It Matters)

Testing, Testing! How We Perform Clinical Testing (And Why It Matters)
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If you’re interested in skincare (and you’re here, so we’re guessing you are!) you’ve most likely heard the phrases “clinically proven” and “clinically tested.” And like a lot of people, you’ve probably wondered exactly what those phrases mean. We’re here to demystify the terms and the processes around clinical testing.

What is clinical testing in skincare? 

There are two standard ways to test the results of a skincare product or device: instrumental analysis and consumer perception tests. At DERMAFLASH we use both methods to make sure we’re getting a full picture of what our sonic devices and skincare products can do for your skin. 

Instrumental analysis (i.e. the numbers don’t lie) 

Just like it sounds, instrumental analysis uses scientific instruments to measure results, providing quantitative data about a product’s performance. Instrumental testing is performed in a controlled laboratory setting and monitored by accredited research professionals who are NOT affiliated with the brand. This typically includes dermatologists, medical statisticians or other certified technicians.  

At DERMAFLASH, we perform our testing in an independent lab that uses the VISIA® system. The VISIA is an advanced digital imaging device that captures high-resolution images of a subject’s skin—far beyond what’s visible to the naked eye. It provides measurable data about skin texture, pore size, UV damage, depth of wrinkles, moisture content, discoloration, redness, oil production and more. 

Before testing starts, subjects undergo what’s called a “washout” period, so that no outside factors will influence the results. “The washout period is used to ensure more control in our testing and ensures the results from the trial are from our products and not from previous treatments or products used,” says Joyce To, Senior Product Manager for DERMAFLASH.  

After the washout period, subjects have a “baseline” image taken, which clinicians use to compare results. Results are often compared at different time intervals, such as immediately after using the product and after several weeks. Testers use the product as instructed and they’re monitored throughout the process, returning to the lab for designated follow-up and evaluation. When testing is complete, the findings are evaluated by researchers and results are shared with the brand.  

Consumer perception testing (a.k.a. IMO) 

Whereas instrumental testing is all about numbers and data and measurable results, consumer perception testing is all about a test subject’s opinion… literally “IMO.” Subjects are asked to rate whether they agree or disagree with certain statements about the product’s efficacy and performance, from their own point of view. It’s a subjective assessment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Quite the opposite. Chances are, you have strong opinions about what certain products have done (or not done) for your skin, right? So do testers! 

In addition, test subjects are asked to keep a journal about their experiences—including any adverse reaction or beneficial results—which can provide valuable insights to a brand. 

The results of LUXE+ clinical testing 

When we launched the new and improved version of our LUXE+ Sonic Dermaplaning device in 2021, we tested it on a panel of 31 women between the ages of 31 and 65. Each woman was monitored throughout the testing process to make sure she was using the device properly and adhering to the protocols, in order to achieve a controlled and unbiased result.  

“When I saw the results for the first time, my jaw literally dropped,” says Dara Levy, DERMAFLASH founder. “Of course we were thrilled our testers saw such significant improvement immediately, but what really blew us away were the measurable improvements our testers experienced long-term.” 

LUXE+ consumer perception test (what test subjects reported) 

Instant Results​ 

100% saw instant improvement in skin texture*​ 

100% said skincare absorbed faster afterwards*​ 

100% said it effectively removed peach fuzz*​ 

97% instantly saw brighter, more radiant skin*​ ​ 

After 4 Weeks​ 

100% said skin looked younger**​ 

100% said skin felt tightened + sculpted**​ 

100% said skin looked healthier + refreshed**​ 

100% said skin looked more even** 

LUXE+ instrumental analysis (measured by scientific instruments) 

97% had less visible fine lines + wrinkles*​** 

94% had reduced appearance of dark spots*** 


*Consumer panel survey using LUXE+ 1x​ 

**Consumer panel survey after 4 weeks 

***Instrumental analysis after 4 weeks   

The results of DERMAPORE+ clinical testing 

We put our new and improved DERMAPORE+ Ultrasonic Pore Extractor through the same rigorous process. The device was tested by 30 male and female subjects, ages 19-50 years. “Again, we were so happy testers reported their skin looked clearer instantly, but the instrumental results blew us away,” says Levy. “The VISIA imaging showed a measurable reduction in pore size and oil.” 

DERMAPORE+ consumer perception (what test subjects reported) 

100% said skin felt significantly cleaner + smoother*​ 

97% said skin looked clearer*​ 

97% said skin felt less oily*​ 

97% said it was easy to extract dirt + oil from hard-to-reach areas*​ 

DERMAPORE+ instrumental analysis (measured by scientific instruments) 

97% had a significant reduction in pore size** 

97% had less oily skin**^ 


*Consumer panel survey immediately after use with PREP MIST  

**Instrumental analysis immediately after use with PREP MIST  

**^Instrumental analysis immediately after use with PREP MIST (measured area: forehead) 

Do all brands perform clinical testing? 

The short answer is no, and there are a few reasons. If a brand is introducing a skincare product with an ingredient that already has a history of proven benefits—such as retinol, for example—they may not feel the need to invest in clinical testing. “Invest” is the key word here. Probably the biggest reason many brands don’t perform clinical testing has to do with cost. Running a clinical study can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and many brands either can’t or don’t want to invest the money. 

“At DERMAFLASH, it’s so important for us to have clinical proof that our devices and product not only work, but also make a real difference in your skin. Clinical testing is something our brand will always do, to make sure we’re bringing at-home consumers and professional estheticians the very best,” says Levy. 

When we launched our Hydraflash Cocooning Serum and Botanical Ketoacid Toner, we conducted comprehensive clinical testing just like we did with our award-winning devices.

Hydraflash Cocooning Serum clinical test results

Consumer perception  

100% said skin feels softer + smoother*​ 

97% said skin is more hydrated*​ 

97% said skin feels firmer* 

94% said skin looks brighter*​ 

Instrumental analysis  

100% showed improved fine lines + wrinkles** ​ 

100% had immediate improvement in moisture^​ 

97% had firmer skin**​ 


*Consumer panel survey after using 2x per day for 4 weeks 

**Instrumental analysis after using 2x per day for 4 weeks​ 

^Instrumental analysis after 1 use

Botanical Ketoacid Toner clinical test results

Consumer perception  

100% said skin looks clearer + healthier*​ 

100% said it removes excess dirt, oil + residue*​ 

97% said skin feels balanced + less oily*​ 

97% said skin looks smoother*​ 

Instrumental analysis 

100% improvement in skin renewal* ​ 

97% showed improvement in pore size**​ 

87% showed improved radiance** 


*Consumer panel survey after using 2x per day for 4 weeks 

*Instrumental analysis after using 2x per day for 2 weeks 

**Instrumental analysis after using 2x per day for 4 weeks 

All skincare products are also required to complete what’s called an HRIPT (Human Repeat Insult Patch Test), which is used to detect irritation or allergic reactions. A patch with the formula is placed on a test subject and left in place for a specified amount of time, and then assessed by clinicians.  

With our Botanical Ketoacid Toner, we wanted to make sure the formula was safe for sensitive skin types, so we had the lab expand the number of tester subjects to specifically include people who identified themselves as having sensitive skin. Our HRIPT showed that Botanical Ketoacid Toner is safe for all skin types, including sensitive. 

So there you have it—the process used to prove that our devices and skincare products deliver real, measurable results. We’re committed to clinical testing and full transparency…and to bringing YOU your best skin!