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Printing 3D Human ‘Skin’ Might Mean We Can All Be Cruelty-Free Beauty Addicts

Yup, you read that correctly. 3D printed s-k-i-n.

While we’re still trying to get our head around the concept of 3D printing anything, the beauty industry is way ahead of the game.

Take L’Oréal who ventured into 3D printing in 2015, or entrepeneur and owner of crazy futuristic makeup brand MINK, Grace Choi, who created the first ever make-up 3D printer way back in 2014.

MINK Make-up Printer

Grace Choi’s MINK Make-Up Printer

So we shouldn’t be so surprised that scientists at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have developed a bioprinter that 3D prints actual human skin.

Mixing a variety of slightly confusingly-named bioinks that aren’t actually ink, but instead contain different components of human-skin-like plasma, fibroplasts and keratinocytes, the bioprinter can recreate real life flesh.

Sounds slightly terrifying, but it’s a major step forward for cruelty-free beauty brands.

There are two types of skin that can be created:

1. This is made with human cells that are printed on mass and can be used for things like cosmetic testing. Which means animal trials for beauty products could easily be a thing of the past. Which also means that in the very near future all of your favourite cosmetics could be cruelty (and guilt) free.

2. This is created using an individual’s specific cells so could be used for medical incidences such as skin grafts or treating skin conditions. Although human skin could previously be recreated in a lab, it would take weeks to produce an amount big enough for a large wound, whereas a bioprinter can whip up a suitable skin graft in just thirty five minutes.

So far synthetic skin is kind of awesome.

L'Oréal 3D Printing

L’Oréal’ ventured into 3D printing in 2015

Team ELLE weighed in on whether 3D printed skin could really be the end of animal testing:

‘I’m a fairly lazy consumer when it comes to cosmetics and will put price and availability above other things (within reason). So, if this is a way of getting cruelty-free products mass-made and easily accessible I’m all for it. Also yay science, you’re so clever.’

Daisy Murray, Junior Digital Writer

‘The possibility of 3D skin printing would bring an end to animal cruelty, which, I for one, am a strong advocate for. The practice of animal testing is only to prevent the chance of leaving harmful or life-long damage to humans.

With this new science, we’d have a better idea of how human skin reacts to chemicals and products without the need to hurt animals or human volunteers.

What’s not to love? No animal should have to suffer for our vanity.’

Katie O’Malley, Digital Writer

‘Cruelty-free and vegan beauty products have gained massive momentum within the industry in the past few years with major brands like Kat Von D , Urban Decay and NARS actively embracing this type of production.

If 3D printed skin could accurately reflect the effect of cosmetics on human skin and speed up the process of production I think most people would agree to leave those mice well alone.

Because when you think about it, there’s really no need for an animal to wear your new red lipstick before you do.’

George Driver, Digital Beauty Editor

This article originally appeared on www.elleuk.com