A New Assay to Support Ethnic Skin Lightening Claims by Phenocell

8 June 2021

Measuring melanocyte pigmentation with flow cytometry ?

In a recent report published in Experimental Dermatology Vol 30, Issue 5, the Phenocell’s team describes a new in-vitro method based on flow cytometry to quantify pigmentation levels in ethnic melanocytes. With this assay, dozens to hundreds of different samples can be tested in parallel to support skin lightening or tanning claims.

The article was highlighted by Dr. Tobin, the director of the Charles Institute of Dermatology, in the editorial of Experimental Dermatology :

“Thus, the core value of this study, to my mind, is that it describes a simple, yet powerful, high-throughput assay to assess the impact of pigmentation modulators and information on the effects of these agents on cell survival.”


How does it work ?

The novel assay combines two key elements :

– high throughput flow cytometry assessment of forward scatter area (FSC-A), which correlates with melanin levels in pigmented cells.

– hiPSC derived melanocytes, produced through a proprietary protocol by Phenocell, which are reproducibly available in large numbers and more closely related to their primary counterparts than non-human or immortalized melanocyte cell lines, such as B16 melanoma.

As a reminder hiPSC (human induced Pluripotent Stem Cell) are a special kind of stem cells that can differentiate unlimitedly into any cell type of the human body.


What are the benefits?

In a Pigmentation Product market worth billions of dollars nowadays, this assay will interest cosmetic ingredient developers for three reasons :

  • Test both melanogenesis activity and cellular toxicity in a single assay
  • Cost-efficiently assess hundreds of test conditions in parallel in a high-throughput format
  • Validate your claim in ethnic skin cells to better target your market


To get more information :

The original article : https://phenocell.com/learn/publications

The editorial : https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/exd.14350

Contact us : https://phenocell.com/contact


Julien Maruotti

Chief Scientific Officer


Tel: +33(0)4 89 35 43 32



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