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Skin Irritation

Topical exposure to chemicals can lead to adverse skin effects. According to the severity and reversibility of effects one distinguishes skin corrosion (=skin burns) from skin irritation.

Corrosive substances irreversibly damage the skin beyond repair, while irritant substances lead to a reversible local inflammatory reaction caused by the innate (non-specific) immune system of the affected tissue: in response to chemically-induced tissue trauma and cell damage, skin cells release inflammatory mediators (chimokines and cytokines) which increase the diameter and permeability of blood vessels, attract immune cells (e.g. mast cells, neutrophiles) to the site of injury and trigger the migration of immune cells through the endothelium into the tissue where they participate in antigen clearance and tissue repair.

Moreover inflammatory mediators stimulate nerve endings leading to itching and stinging sensations.

Regulatory context and legislation

EURL ECVAM validated test methods

Test methods under validation by EURL ECVAM

Development and optimisation of alternative methods