L’Oreal joins forces with Bioprinting Company to 3D print human skin

In an attempt to suspend animal testing and upsurge lab-based skin production L’Oreal is going to 3D print human skin — That means no more animals for testing procedures.

The French cosmetic giant L’Oreal has already forayed into growing skin samples that replicate human skin features, now they want to fully terminate their animal testing procedures. The 3-D Bioprinting human skin has been on the scene for some time, but L’Oreal is too eager to join the brigade now.

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The French beauty enterprise recently announced that it is affiliating with Organovo, a 3-D human tissue company, to 3-D print their innumerable culture skin samples to imitate wounds and diseases so their procedures can finally be free of animal testing.

Image Source: Inhabitat.com

It’s quite a breakthrough for L’Oreal’s extensive research and development as they are already growing human skin grafts in large proportions and a 3-D printing technology may further upscale the exploration and become useful for the treatment of burns, bruises, and reconstructive surgery.

However, this is the first time such a technology is to be applied in the beauty industry. Decades earlier L’Oreal vowed to discontinue animal testing by using skin culture technologies and growing human skin samples. Their recent technique implicates incubating human skin, taken from donations of plastic surgery scrap, nurturing them and growing new cells from it by providing a similar environment as the human body.

Animal testing is universally detested as proven by the European Union’s ban on animal-tested cosmetic ingredients in 2013, AND that’s what makes this lab-grown skin all the more vital in the world of cosmetics. Moreover, the bioprinting process, which is anticipated to be fully automated, is going to produce larger quantities of skin for L’Oreal for further testing and exploration.

The company believes their emphasis is on refinement and quality not speeding up their processes. Guive Balooch who is the global vice president of L’Oreal’s technology incubator, told Washington post that 3-D printing comes with a host of advantages including accelerated speed of production and enhanced precision, he further added that L’Oreal’s key focus is not upon producing enormous quantities but accuracy, precision and steady duplication of the skin engineering process.

“Some of the biggest potential advantages are the speed of production as well as the level of precision that 3-D printing can achieve. “L’Oreal’s focus right now is not to increase the quantity of skin we produce but instead to continue to build on the accuracy and consistent replication of the skin engineering process.”

Bloomberg suggests that with Organovo’s technology and L’Oreal’s skill in synthesizing human skin, the two companies are sure to go places in skin regeneration.

Research for this huge project will take place in Organovo’s labs and L’Oreal’s new California research center. L’Oreal will take up expertise and cover all initial funding whereas Organovo, already in collaboration with companies with the likes of Merck to print liver and kidney tissues, will bring forward the technology.

Because the processing is done manually by hand L’Oreal has assigned almost 60 scientists for skin processing at Lyon, France, lab. They work hard to yield almost a cowhide worth of human skin samples annually, according to Bloomberg. The process harvests nine different types of human skin samples — demonstrating various ages and ethnicities — that can be utilized for product testing. 

An automated procedure using Organovo’s 3-D printing technology is estimated to speed up the production process tremendously which will be quite a boost for L’Oreal in this fiercely competitive world of cosmetics. As for now, the technology is in its initial research phase and it is still not confirmed as to when L’Oreal will begin using the technology for product testing.

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Bloomberg Organovo

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