Refers to tests or experiments that have been performed “in glass” such as a test tube or petri dish, rather than studying a living organism. Such tests are usually less expensive and can give some insight into how an ingredient might work (called a mechanism of action), they are not the same as testing on a living body, which is called in vivo testing.
“Laboratory studies, also called in vitro studies, are considered to be a low level of evidence, but are important for establishing a mechanism of action. In vitro literally means ‘within glass,’ so if you imagine beakers, test tubes and petri dishes, you’re envisioning the right kinds of studies! These studies can help explain the why and how behind what we are seeing in a human study. However, just because we see something in an in vitro study does not mean it will translate into the same effect in a human. Having access to both in vitro and in vivo studies is ideal.”
- Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, Board-Certified Dermatologist, Scientist, Founder