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Seal of Acceptance™ FAQ’s

Products eligible to apply for the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ are those that have been created or intended for use by persons with eczema or severe sensitive skin conditions. The overall standard for an accepted product is that it does not contain ingredients, contents or chemical processes that have been known to irritate the skin. Criteria for the Seal of Acceptance™ include review of ingredients, formulation and contents, as well as safety, toxicity and skin sensitivity testing data.

What are the steps a company needs to take to apply for the Seal of Acceptance™?
  1. If your company is interested in applying for the Seal of Acceptance™ you may apply for up to 3 products or 3 SKU’s per application. If you have more than 3 products you will need to fill out a second SOA application for the additional products.
  2. It will be necessary to first complete a preliminary review of the ingredients before submitting the SOA Application. We will work with you in determining if the product(s) are acceptable to move forward in the application process. If you wish to keep this information confidential, we can send you a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  3. Clinical Safety Testing is required for every product you submit for the SOA. The Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT) is our minimum requirement for clinical safety testing. We also accept a Cumulative Irritation Test (CIT). We prefer to have the HRIPT but will accept a CIT or both.
    1. A final HRIPT report is required noting all testing subjects and individual results. If you need a list of companies who perform these tests, please fill out this form.
    2. A Phototoxicity Report is required for products that have ingredient(s) that may increase skin sensitivity to UV rays.
    3. For Fabrics and Clothing, where there is no “Cosmetic Soothing Ingredients” an HRIPT or CIT is not required. We do require STANDARD 100 BY OEKO-TEK® Certification or any other Certification for that particular fabric validating the source and type of fabric.
  4. Once the ingredients have been reviewed and approved to move forward, a Seal of Acceptance™ Application will need to be filled out. We have different applications for each product category. The categories are Cleansers, Clothing & Fabrics, Cosmetics, Disposable Wipes, Hair Products, Household Products, Moisturizers, OTC Drugs and Sunscreens. To receive an application please fill out this form.
  5. Five Product Samples, in retail packaging, are required along with four hard copies of the SOA application and clinical safety testing paperwork. If retail packaging is not available samples may be provided in the expected packaging style (jar, tube, bottle, etc.). When submitting product samples, if the product is not branded, it is acceptable to place a label on the packaging referencing the product name or formula number.
  6. Final submission includes SOA completed application, HRIPT clinical safety testing, the non-refundable application fee has been paid and samples have been provided. The final submission is mailed to the NEA office.
  7. The application is ready to be submitted to our SOA Panel Review Committee who will vote on whether or not the product(s) are acceptable for the Seal of Acceptance™.
  8. The whole application process from start to finish can take 60 – 120 days.
  9. Once the product(s) is accepted, you will receive an award letter, enter into a License Agreement, and you will be supplied with SOA logo files and usage guidelines. We will place your product(s) in our SOA product directory on our website.
The following summarizes what we do not accept:
  1. We do not accept products that have been “tested” on animals.
  2. We do not accept products with fragrance.
  3. We only accept products where the “Parent” company is based in the United States or Canada.
    • For example, we cannot accept applications where the base company or headquarters is in a country outside of the USA even though there might be a regional office located in the United States.
  4. We don’t accept products with CBD.
  5. See our Ingredient Guide on more specific ingredients that we do not accept or ingredients that we suggest avoiding.
What is the yearly fee to renew the Seal of Acceptance™?

The yearly non-refundable fee is required to continue use of the SOA logo. The date the License Agreement is created, is the date the renewal fee will be due each year. You will pay the same yearly fee as the initial application fee. The fee helps to cover operational and administrative expenses for the Seal of Acceptance™ program.

When and how do I receive the SOA Logo files?

Once your SOA Application has been approved and the License Agreement has been signed, the SOA logo files will be sent to you along with the SOA usage guidelines. You can place the SOA logo on your packaging, social media and on your website. We ask that all SOA logo usage and wording around the SOA be approved by NEA first before printing or publishing.

What is an HRIPT or a CIT and how many subjects are required for the HRIPT and/or CIT test?

Human Repeat Insult Patch Test (HRIPT) is a clinical study meaning a scientific experiment being performed on human subjects that are volunteers or testers of the topical product. Cumulative Irritation Test (CIT) is used to assess the irritancy of topical products on human skin.

A minimum of 50 subjects is required to fulfill the HRIPT and/or CIT test. We must receive a full “Final Report” with “Individual Scores” of each product you want to apply for. We do not accept products that have been tested on animals.

Do I have to have both CIT and HRIPT to apply for the SOA?

No, you do not have to have both tests completed. We prefer the HRIPT test but will accept the CIT. We will accept both tests if you have it.

When is a Phototoxicity Report needed?

Phototoxicity Report is needed for all sunscreens. If your product(s) has ingredients that react to light, we require a Phototoxicity report. We don’t require this test if there are ingredients that don’t react to light.
Phototoxicity test requires a minimum of 20 subjects.

What is the Review Process?

The review process will include the applicant’s submission including all relevant data for review by the Seal of Acceptance™ Review Panel, established by the National Eczema Association. The number of members on the Seal of Acceptance™ Review Panel shall not be limited.

  • The Panel will work independently of the NEA Scientific Advisory Committee and Board of Directors.
  • The panel member’s identity will remain anonymous.
  • Each member of the Seal of Acceptance™ Panel shall sign the Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality and Disclosure policy agreement.
  • They will carefully review and make recommendations on each Seal of Acceptance™ application as assigned using the criteria established by the Panel.
What Happens Once a Product is Accepted?

If your product(s) are accepted, you will receive an award letter. You will enter into a License Agreement with NEA that states the annual date when the renewal fee needs to be paid, along with the terms of payment, usage guidelines, and product review(s).

Once the License Agreement is signed by both parties, you will be provided with the Seal of Acceptance™ logo files and usage guidelines outlining the requirements on sizing and color. All usage of the SOA logo and any mention of NEA or the Seal of Acceptance™ must be approved in advance by NEA. Your product will receive a listing in the Seal of Acceptance™ product directory on the NEA website.

What happens if we do not renew?

The Seal of Acceptance™ must be renewed annually to remain in good standing. A formula certification attesting to no changes and a renewal fee is required. If the fee is delinquent, we will ask you to “Cease and Desist” all use of the Seal of Acceptance™ and the product will be removed from our directory. You will no longer have rights to use the Seal of Acceptance™ Logo or make any mention of NEA.

What if my product has undergone a change in formulation?

If your product has been accepted and “minor” changes are made to the formula or ingredients where ingredients are added, removed, or concentration levels change, you will need to submit a “Change of Formulation” application. We will first review a side by side comparison of the ingredient changes and determine if a Change in Formulation is acceptable. Clinical safety testing and an application fee will be required. If the Change in Reformulation application is accepted, you may continue the use of the SOA. A Change in Formulation application process can take approximately 30 – 60 days to complete.

Where do I get clinical safety testing completed?

We can refer you to companies that conduct testing. Please fill out this form to receive a list of companies.

What if my product is not accepted?

We can’t guarantee your product will pass but we will not accept your completed application and fee unless we feel the product has a reasonable chance of being accepted. Applications are reviewed by a blind panel of leading physicians in the field of allergy and dermatology. The application fee is non-refundable.

How do I get my product listed in the Seal of Acceptance™ Product Directory?

Once your product is accepted, we will ask you for all the necessary details and include the product details in our Seal of Acceptance™ product directory on our website.

What do the Star Rankings mean?

The National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ awards accepted products either a five- or four- star rating. This is based on the product’s ingredients, formulation, and submitted clinical safety testing. A product awarded five stars have no ingredients that are currently thought to have a sensitizing impact for eczema patients. Products awarded four stars contain ingredients that may be of concern to certain individuals but are acceptable for most. Ingredients of concern will be noted in the product review.

  • 5 stars: This product does not contain known irritants to eczema or sensitive skin at any level.
  • 4 stars: This product may contain potential irritants at concentration levels thought to be insignificant for most patients. Manufacturer has provided sufficient sensitivity data to determine acceptability. This product may also contain known allergens that may cause reactions for some food allergic patients.

The Seal of Acceptance™ will be granted only to products that achieve 5- and 4- star rankings.

Disclaimers

NEA will publish Seal of Acceptance™ disclaimers as it deems appropriate.

Marketing

If an applicant who has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance™ wishes to market it beyond the recognition activities described above by conducting a promotion which displays the SOA program on the product or package itself and include the Seal of Acceptance™ in any advertising, point-of-sale, or other consumer promotion, the company must obtain prior approval from the National Eczema Association. NEA retains the right to review and approve any material or advertising in which the NEA or the Seal of Acceptance™ appears or is referenced. The following outlines the general conditions that will be applied:

  • The National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ logo may appear on a product or package as long as it does not imply any endorsement of the product by the National Eczema Association.
  • The Seal of Acceptance™ may be used in advertising and other consumer promotions with the review and approval of the National Eczema Association.
Once my product(s) are accepted, can I extend the License Agreement to other countries?

The initial license agreement covers North America. A separate fee applies for additional regions.
Extensions Include:

  • Central & South America = includes Mexico and Caribbean
  • Africa
  • UK/Europe
  • Australia/New Zealand
  • Middle East/Asia = includes Middle East, Russia and non-EU countries, China, SE Asia and Japan