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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

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The information on this page is current as of Mar 22, 2024.

For the most up-to-date version of CFR Title 21, go to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR).

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Help | More About 21CFR
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 5]
[CITE: 21CFR352.72]



Subpart D - Testing Procedures

Sec. 352.72 General testing procedures.

(a) Selection of test subjects (male and female). (1) Only fair-skin subjects with skin types I, II, and III using the following guidelines shall be selected:

Selection of Fair-skin Subjects

Skin Type and Sunburn and Tanning History (Based on first 30 to 45 minutes sun exposure after a winter season of no sun exposure.)

I - Always burns easily; never tans (sensitive).

II - Always burns easily; tans minimally (sensitive).

III - Burns moderately; tans gradually (light brown) (normal).

IV - Burns minimally; always tans well (moderate brown) (normal).

V - Rarely burns; tans profusely (dark brown) (insensitive).

VI - Never burns; deeply pigmented (insensitive).

(2) A medical history shall be obtained from all subjects with emphasis on the effects of sunlight on their skin. Ascertain the general health of the individual, the individual's skin type (I, II, or III), whether the individual is taking medication (topical or systemic) that is known to produce abnormal sunlight responses, and whether the individual is subject to any abnormal responses to sunlight, such as a phototoxic or photoallergic response.

(b) Test site inspection. The physical examination shall determine the presence of sunburn, suntan, scars, active dermal lesions, and uneven skin tones on the areas of the back to be tested. The presence of nevi, blemishes, or moles will be acceptable if in the physician's judgment they will not interfere with the study results. Excess hair on the back is acceptable if the hair is clipped or shaved.

(c) Informed consent. Legally effective written informed consent must be obtained from all individuals.

(d) Test site delineation - (1) Test site area. A test site area serves as an area for determining the subject's MED after application of either the sunscreen standard or the test sunscreen product, or for determining the subject's MED when the skin is unprotected (control site). The area to be tested shall be the back between the beltline and the shoulder blade (scapulae) and lateral to the midline. Each test site area for applying a product or the standard sunscreen shall be a minimum of 50-square centimeters, e.g., 5 * 10 centimeters. The test site areas are outlined with ink. If the person is to be tested in an upright position, the lines shall be drawn on the skin with the subject upright. If the subject is to be tested while prone, the markings shall be made with the subject prone.

(2) Test subsite area. Each test site area shall be divided into at least three test subsite areas that are at least 1 square centimeter. Usually four or five subsites are employed. Each test subsite within a test site area is subjected to a specified dosage of UV radiation, in a series of UV radiation exposures, in which the test site area is exposed for the determination of the MED.

(e) Application of test materials. To ensure standardized reporting and to define a product's SPF value, the application of the product shall be expressed on a weight basis per unit area which establishes a standard film. Both the test sunscreen product and the standard sunscreen application shall be 2 milligrams per square centimeter. For oils and most lotions, the viscosity is such that the material can be applied with a volumetric syringe. For creams, heavy gels, and butters, the product shall be warmed slightly so that it can be applied volumetrically. On heating, care shall be taken not to alter the product's physical characteristics, especially separation of the formulations. Pastes and ointments shall be weighed, then applied by spreading on the test site area. A product shall be spread by using a finger cot. If two or more sunscreen drug products are being evaluated at the same time, the test products and the standard sunscreen, as specified in § 352.70, should be applied in a blinded, randomized manner. If only one sunscreen drug product is being tested, the testing subsites should be exposed to the varying doses of UV radiation in a randomized manner.

(f) Waiting period. Before exposing the test site areas after applying a product, a waiting period of at least 15 minutes is required.

(g) Number of subjects. A test panel shall consist of not more than 25 subjects with the number fixed in advance by the investigator. From this panel, at least 20 subjects must produce valid data for analysis.

(h) Response criteria. In order that the person who evaluates the MED responses does not know which sunscreen formulation was applied to which site or what doses of UV radiation were administered, he/she must not be the same person who applied the sunscreen drug product to the test site or administered the doses of UV radiation. After UV radiation exposure from the solar simulator is completed, all immediate responses shall be recorded. These include several types of typical responses such as the following: An immediate darkening or tanning, typically greyish or purplish in color, fading in 30 to 60 minutes, and attributed to photo-oxidation of existing melanin granules; immediate reddening, fading rapidly, and viewed as a normal response of capillaries and venules to heat, visible and infrared radiation; and an immediate generalized heat response, resembling prickly heat rash, fading in 30 to 60 minutes, and apparently caused by heat and moisture generally irritating to the skin's surface. After the immediate responses are noted, each subject shall shield the exposed area from further UV radiation for the remainder of the test day. The MED is determined 22 to 24 hours after exposure. The erythema responses of the test subject should be evaluated under the following conditions: The source of illumination should be either a tungsten light bulb or a warm white fluorescent light bulb that provides a level of illumination at the test site within the range of 450 to 550 lux, and the test subject should be in the same position used when the test site was irradiated. Testing depends upon determining the smallest dose of energy that produces redness reaching the borders of the exposure site at 22 to 24 hours postexposure for each series of exposures. To determine the MED, somewhat more intense erythemas must also be produced. The goal is to have some exposures that produce absolutely no effect, and of those exposures that produce an effect, the maximal exposure should be no more than twice the total energy of the minimal exposure.

(i) Rejection of test data. Test data shall be rejected if the exposure series fails to elicit an MED response on either the treated or unprotected skin sites, or if the responses on the treated sites are randomly absent (which indicates the product was not spread evenly), or if the subject was noncompliant (e.g., subject withdraws from the test due to illness or work conflicts, subject does not shield the exposed testing sites from further UV radiation until the MED is read, etc.).