3-D Skin: A Cruelty-Free Way to Test Cosmetics

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For centuries, international beauty brand L’Oréal has been leading the campaign on anti-aging through their various skincare products. L’Oréal USA, the cosmetic company’s biggest branch, has signed an exclusive collaboration with Organovo Holdings to print real skin tissues.

This collaboration signifies a big step on L’Oréal’s part towards their corporate social responsibility. Aside from the brand having more man-made skin to experiment with, bioprinting human skin will also help L’Oréal totally veer away from testing their products on animals, though the company claims they have ceased testing their products on animals since 2013. However, this practice is still prevalent among many other cosmetics companies.

Skin cloning is not a new feat for the L’Oréal, a company founded in 1909 by pharmacist and entrepreneur Eugène Schueller. For the past 30 years, it has been studying reconstructed skin and producing a multitude of human skin samples in their “human skin factory”. However, this is their first in producing 3-D bioprinted skin.

With its current collaboration with Organovo, who has also produced 3-D prints of multicellular human liver and kidney tissues and can print live cells up to 100% cell concentration, L’Oréal aims to advance their process of testing its product to ensure safety and performance.  Using 3-D printed skin will give L’Oréal better and more realistic data about the effects of their products on human skin.

A NovoGen Bioprinting Platform will produce the 3-D printed skin tissue. The process requires the use of a material called bio-ink to produce the structure, which is blended with a 3-D gel and laid layer by layer.

Besides its function in assessing skin products, 3-D printed skin is also being studied as a treatment for burns and reduction of scars. Maybe soon, it will also be used to get rid of crow’s feet and other laugh lines.