Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Beauty Sans the Beast

Lab-grown skin saves bunnies from cosmetics testing.

By Anne CasselmanNovember 7, 2007 6:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

In cosmetic labs, rabbits donning mascara and lipstick are on the way out, while patches of lab-grown skin are in. L’Oréal has developed an uncanny human skin substitute called Episkin that is animal friendly and can determine whether an ingredient will turn toxic in the sun or corrode, penetrate, or irritate human skin.

To make Episkin, a layer of fish collagen is seeded with human skin cells discarded from plastic surgeries. “One hundred cells are able to multiply, and you can get 20 million cells within a week,” says Patricia Pineau, research communications director at L’Oréal. After seven days, voilà! You have a patch of skin that can tan and age under UV light. Last year, Episkin was used to test some 3,000 products.

Episkin is in part a response to the European Union Cosmetics Directive, which calls for a ban on all animal testing by 2013. The skin substitute is also being used to make customized grafts for burn victims and for children who can’t handle exposure to UV light without risking cancer.

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In