L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin

Beauty product company L'Oreal is partnering with bioengineering firm Organovo to 3D print human skin to be used for product testing.

This is not L'Oreal's first foray into human skin production; it already produces Episkin, a skin model used to provide an alternative to animal testing.


(L'Oreal's episkin)

The Chinese Episkin model is a human epidermis model reconstructed from Asian keratinocytes, produced by the L’Oréal Advanced Research laboratories in China.

"Over the past 30 years, our researchers have developed the expertise of reconstructing skin and other human tissues. An investment in science and a strong ethical commitment have led us to implement several alternative methods and embrace the era of predictive assessment. Worldwide, we share our methods and tools and offer training to universities and authorities. With this objective in mind, we started producing reconstructed Asian skin in China in 2008, so that in the near future we can begin marketing it through Shanghai Episkin Biotechnology”, explained Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President of Research and Innovation at L'Oréal.

L'Oreal has nine of these skin varieties available, covering a range of ages and ethnicities.

Now, however, L'Oreal wants to speed up and automate skin production.

Research for the project will take place in Organovo's labs and L'Oreal's new California research center. L'Oreal will provide skin expertise and all the initial funding, while Organovo, which is already working with such companies as Merck to print liver and kidney tissues, will provide the technology....

L'Oreal will have exclusive rights to the 3D printed skin developed with Organovo for uses related to non-prescription skin care products. Organovo will retain rights to the tissue models for efficacy testing of prescription drugs, toxicity tests, and the development and testing of therapeutic or surgically transplanted tissues.

Science fiction fans are not squeamish about discussions of artificially produced human skin, having been acclimated over the years. In Frank Herbert's 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment, BuSab agent Jorx X. McKie routinely packed some uniflesh, with attached mediskin, for purposes of creating a disguise.

Robert Heinlein's 1951 novel The Puppet Masters demonstrated the use of surrogate skin, which could be sprayed on in the event of burns. Philip K. Dick's 1960 novel Dr. Futurity had art-derm, another spray-on skin product.

Looking for more real-life artificial skin alternatives? I've got you covered:

Via Bloomberg and Cosmetics Business.

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