Our expert says:
Hi ‘Confused’, thank you for the question.
The true names for studies performed today are: in vivo and in vitro.
In vitro (Latin: within the glass) refers to the technique of performing a given experiment in a controlled environment outside of a living organism; for example in a test tube. Many experiments in cellular biology are conducted outside of organisms or cells; because the test conditions may not correspond to the conditions inside of the organism, this may lead to results that do not correspond to the situation that arises in a living organism. This term is most probably what is termed as tested in a laboratory.
In vivo (Latin: within the living) means that which takes place inside an organism. In science, in vivo refers to experimentation done in or on the living tissue of a whole, living organism as opposed to a partial or a controlled environment. Animal testing and clinical trials are forms of in vivo research. It is often better suited for observing the overall effects of an experiment on its living subject (see in vitro for its description and respective merits).
In molecular biology 'in vivo' is often but incorrectly used to refer to experimentation done in live isolated cells rather than in a whole organism, for example, cultured cells derived from biopsies. In this situation, the correct term is 'ex vivo'. Once cells are disrupted and individual parts are tested or analyzed, this is known as 'in vitro'.
I hope the above has not confused you but simply put skin products tested in a laboratory is either in vitro or ex vivo and is not an accurate depiction of what will happen on our skins. Clinical studies are any studies done in a ‘clinical’ setting, including a laboratory, living cells in a Petri dish, etc.
Ultimately, the only studies that one can use to predict a topical products' effectiveness, with a certain level of confidence, are in vitro studies, double blind and randomized, and performed by independent medical practitioners with histological evidence (biopsies). These type of studies are not easy to find with most 'anti-ageing' products on the market today.
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