by Lucy Korn
image via L’Oreal
Call me ignorant but when I see a beauty product that bears the not tested on animals stamp (which is all the time because I don’t buy things have been tested on animals and neither should you) I don’t wonder about what it has been tested on. I just figure they know what they’re doing and trust whatever it contains is not going to poison me.
I certainly never thought that my L’Oreal UV Protect had once been tested on a piece of dead-but-not-dead skin made from donor cells harvested from plastic surgery. But that’s exactly what did happen, with UV protect and every other L’oreal product on the shelves.
According to an article published in Bloomberg, the cosmetics giant produces roughly 100,000 skin samples per year in a lab the size of three Olympic swimming pools. ‘The skin, grown from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients in France, is then cut into thin slices and broken down into cells. Those cells are placed in trays, fed a special, proprietary diet, and exposed to biological signals that mimic those of actual skin.’ A process that is incredibly awesome and awesomely nightmarish at the same time.
IMAGE VIA L’OREAL
L’Oreal, who has been farming skin since the 80s is now taking a step further into the future by partnering with Organovo a bioprinting startup whose goal is to 3D print living, breathing skin that can be used to for product testing. If this venture is successful, L’Oreal will be able to produce more skin, and faster. Who new L’Oreal was so Techie?
You can watch a video HERE of the current skin farming process, but it’s, you know, a bit gross.