3D Printed Skin: The Latest Innovation in Skin Care Technology
As a part of the L'Oréal family, we at Skincare.com can tell you first hand that L’Oreal is not your average beauty juggernaut, which is why they’re up to some not-so-average things—specifically, 3D printing human skin…yes, you read that correctly. The cosmetics giant has teamed up with bioprinting start-up Organovo to develop 3D printed skin tissue for product evaluation and other areas of advanced research. Human flesh printed using 3D bioprinters…to say this is impressive would be an understatement.
This is news most people would expect to hear from a rising tech company, not a beauty brand renowned for its makeup, hair, and skincare products. But is it really such a quantum leap for L’Oréal? Let’s not forget, the company has long been pushing the boundaries of science to ensure ingredient safety and efficacy. In 2015, they invested nearly 1 billion dollars in research and innovation. So, should this advancement really take us all by surprise? Not by L’Oréal’s standards. In fact, this isn’t even their first rodeo in skin production; Episkin—a subsidiary of the group—is dedicated to the development of reconstructed human epidermis to closely predict how certain ingredients will react on human skin. The lab—located in Lyon, France—grows roughly 100,000 skin samples every year thanks to donor skin from plastic surgery procedures. The samples are broken down into individual cells, re-cultured, and grown onto .5 cm testing squares, a process which takes about a week to complete. What 3D bioprinting can do is speed up the process—think: more skin, less time—and create a stronger prototype with more accurate results.
Details on when the 3D printed derma will be ready to use—it’s safe to say it won’t happen overnight—is still uncertain, with estimates pointing towards a period within the next five years. What can be confirmed is that when it comes to beauty breakthroughs and developments, L'Oréal seeks to lead the charge, bar none.