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Who do you imagine whispering the L’Oreal catchphrase, “Because you’re worth it?” A beautiful model, or a disembodied piece of lab-produced human skin?
In news which belongs in a sci-fi movie (starring Milla Jovovich, of course), French beauty giant L’Oreal has announced it will be creating human skin using 3D printing technology.
The company has announced it “no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world”. So, what’s a beauty company to do when it needs to test its products? L’Oreal’s solution was to grow its own samples of human skin. (Post continues after gallery…)
This might sound like brand new information to you, but it’s merely another step in L’Oreal’s adventures with human skin. Since the 1980s, the beauty megacorp has been growing it in a lab in Lyon, France, according to Bloomberg. And L’Oreal don’t do things by halves: in their lab, skin samples are grown in facilities the size of three Olympic swimming pools.
Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s research and innovation incubator, says: “We create [a lab] environment that’s as close as possible to being inside someone’s body.”
The skin at these labs is grown from samples donated by plastic surgery patients. Any leftover skin is then sold to pharmaceutical companies and other cosmetics companies.
Earlier this month, L’Oreal announced that it has partnered with a company called Organovo, which specialises in bioprinting. Together, L’Oreal and Organovo plan to use 3D printing to create living human skin, which they will use to test whether L’Oreal products are safe for human use.