French cosmetics firm L’Oreal are already in the business of growing skin sample. In fact, they already produce more than 100,000 skin patches per year and grow nine varieties across all ages and ethnicities. In order to do this, they use tissues which have been donated by plastic surgery patients and grow in a Petri dish.
Organovo is an early-stage medical laboratory and research company who develop functional human tissue and have already 3D printed human liver cells. It‘s their first partnership with the cosmetics industry.
In a statement by L’Oreal, they said: “Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless.”
3D Printed Skin Could Save Thousands of Lab Animals
Interestingly enough, some experts said the science might be legitimate but were skeptical about the reasons why a beauty firm would want to 3D print skin.
Adam Friedmann, a consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic, told the BBC: “I think the science behind it – using 3D printing methods with human cells – sounds plausible.” He added, “I can understand why you would do it for severe burns or trauma, but I have no idea what the cosmetic industry will do with it.”
However, Alan Faulkner-Jones, a bioengineering research scientist at Heriot-Watt University, gave reasons as to why the 3D printed skin may be useful in the cosmetic industry.
He told the BBC: “Skin is quite easy to print because it is a layered structure. The advantages for the cosmetics industry would be that it doesn’t have to test products on animals and will get a better response from human skin.”
Of course, it could be argued that there are even more benefits to being able to 3D print skin. Watt said: “It would be a great thing to have stores of spare skins for burn victims.”
What do you think about this futuristic use of 3D printing? Let us know in the comments.
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