Long pressured to end animal testing in cosmetics, L’Oreal has been in the cultured skin business since the 80s. But it remains a relatively slow and expensive process. Earlier this month they announced a partnership with 3D bioprinting firm Organovo—3D printed skin, it’s thought, may offer a more scalable solution.
Currently, L’Oreal’s cultured skin is basically handmade. It takes a large team of scientists about a week to slice and separate cells—sourced from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients—and grow samples layer by layer, in succession.
For now, they’ll work with Organovo to improve the quality of 3D bioprinted skin. But the ultimate goal is to automate the process, speeding production, increasing output, and in the end, hopefully lowering cost.