L’OREAL TEAMS UP WITH ORGANOVO TO PRINT 3D SKIN
03 Jul 2015
Written by Alice Smithson
The iconic beauty brand, best known for its range of hair and beauty products, famous spokespeople and catchphrases, hopes to utilise the finished product to carry out extensive testing without the use of people of animals. The medical community has also noted that the process can be used to create skin grafts for severe burns and during testing to treat skin conditions.
While the news of a cosmetics company creating 3D printed human skin may sound like the latest, cutting-edge innovation, L’Oréal has long produced its own skin model, Episkin.
A lab in France, measuring the size of approximately three Olympic swimming pools, has been dedicated to analysing tissue and developing products like Episkin. Skin cells are donated by surgery patients and are grown in collagen before being exposed to everyday elements, such as UV rays and oxygen, to assess the process of ageing. L’Oréal currently uses around half of its skin tissue and sells the rest to others in the cosmetics industry.
Its current product is used worldwide, however, its most recent business partnership with Organovo will focus on efficient, mass production for the first time. The technological side to the company has expanded through the decades and it now spends around twice the industry standard in research and development.
Once mass production of testing samples is underway and L’Oréal can gauge the effects of a product on the skin’s molecular structure, consumers may come to expect sunscreen with greater protection and age-defying serums that deliver greater results in the near future.
The L’Oréal group has proudly and voluntarily not used animals for testing on any of its cosmetic products since 1989 and has since poured its collective energies into developing alternative methods, such as tissue engineering and a reconstruction skin model. Following more than twenty years of research, L’Oréal was recognised during a RSPCA Good Business Awards as a cosmetics provider of choice and now spends more than $1 billion on research and development every year.
As the beauty industry continues to integrate fresh technology into business models, innovative partnerships have been forged between established brands to deliver customised customer experiences. In 2014, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent (another L’Oréal brand) developed the facial mapping beauty app, Makeup Genius, and collaborated with Google Glass to create makeover video sessions. The latest exciting collaboration between L’Oréal and Organovo demonstrates how technology and science can benefit cosmetics consumers and skin patients alike.
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