Cosmetics giant L’Oreal is no stranger to what can be done with the human epidermis. They know how to color it, shade it, moisten it, condition it and make it look younger. Now they’re getting into the business of literally growing the stuff.
This isn’t new to them — L’Oreal originally started growing skin in labs so they could test their products on it. The company also markets it as Episkin to other cosmetics companies.
However, what is new is that they’re stepping it up and printing tissue from what are essentially 3D printers spitting out biological material instead of plastic. Once the goop’s in a dime-sized petri dish, it’s given scaffolding to grow on.
These printed skin grafts have huge medical potential outside of cosmetics research. If the body accepts it, it will be a revolutionary new treatment for burn wounds. L’Oreal is teaming up with Organovo, a company that pioneered the 3D printing of human organs and had successfully printed a liver system.
In the agreement, Organovo gets access to L’Oreal’s expertise and research into skin; L’Oreal gets Organovo’s experience in printing tissue and hopes that the partnership can scale its skin production to a commercial level.