• Jala Group, a Chinese cosmetics company, has used 3D bioprinting technology to print artificial “Asian skin,” complete with dermis and epidermis, that can be used to test cosmetics products for the Asian market.

    It is well known that the Western cosmetics industry has, for many years, fallen short in providing adequate options for those with non-white skin. In the United States, for example, where one third of the population is non-white, there is a disproportionate amount of cosmetics products, including foundations and eye products, targeted at fair skin. But the problem goes deeper than having an insufficient number of colors: different skin types all have different characteristics, making them react in different ways with certain cosmetics products. So if your skin is not like that of a cosmetics company’s target market, chances are their products may be either aesthetically or biologically unsuitable for you. Jala Group, a Chinese cosmetics producer, has recognized this problem, and has consequently developed a radical new solution to improve cosmetics specifically for Asian consumers.

    Towards the end of 2016, Jala perfected a 3D bioprinting technology that is capable of creating patches of synthetic “Asian skin,” made from human stem cells, that can be used to test cosmetic products. After carrying out 98 in-depth experiments over the course of five years, the Jala R&D department (led by Dr. Morgan Dos Santos) and French company LabSkin Creations were able to develop a unique 3D bioprinting process capable of fabricating 3D printed skin in vitro (outside of a human body). This skin, functioning just like the skin of an Asian cosmetics consumer, can be used to test the safety, effectiveness, and appearance of new products.

    The development of the 3D printed skin and its associated bioprinting process could prove important for the entire Asian cosmetics market, especially since the process can reportedly be carried out in a relatively short space of time. According to Jala, it takes just three weeks to create a piece of skin with a functioning dermis, epidermis, and dermal-epidermal junction. Getting to this point, however, has been a long process for Jala. To create its 3D printable skin, Jala researchers first had to analyze real human skin, before recreating it as a digital 3D model. Special algorithms were then used to print bio-inks into skin-like structures, similar in appearance and composition to real skin.

    The 3D printable bio-ink used by Jala was developed and subsequently patented by LabSkin Creations. It is composed of many elements, including human stem cells, and can be printed into a skin structure in just 1 minute and 56 seconds. The rest of the required 21 days development time involves simply waiting for the 3D printed skin to mature until it has the appearance, composition, and function of real skin. Once this period has elapsed, researchers are free to use the artificial Asian skin to test makeup, soap, and all manner of skin products. According to Jala, the artificial skin should react with the products just as real skin would.

    Jala is confident that its new 3D bioprinting technology will prove advantageous in several ways: for starters, testing will be more accurate than equivalent tests on animals; secondly, alterations to the stem cells and bio-ink recipe could lead to more tailored cosmetic solutions for those with different skin types. “Cosmetics is not simple,” commented Zheng Chunying, chairman of the Jala Group. “It needs to provide consumers with security. With 3D bioprinting technology, Jala can better test and develop a new generation of natural products with the use of cutting-edge technology, allowing us to develop the best products for consumers.”



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