Cosmetic products have to undergo laboratory tests to ensure their safety before being used on our skin. For a long time, these tests were carried out on animals, but since 2004, the European Union has banned animal testing for cosmetics and their ingredients since 2009.
However, this practice continues in some countries and the European Chemicals Agency sometimes wants to relax the rules. To address this problem, researchers at the University of Western Brittany (UBO) are working on a model of reinnervated human skin, which reacts like real skin to external aggression.
This skin is obtained by grafting sensory neurons from human stem cells onto human skin recovered from plastic surgery. According to Laurent Misery, director of the LIEN laboratory, this technique is unique in the world and offers a more effective response than the in vitro reconstructed skin currently used in the cosmetics industry.
Innovation welcomed by the cosmetics industry
At the Cosmetic Victories ceremony in Paris on 4 April, this Breton innovation was awarded an academic prize. The organisers highlighted its potential to simulate irritated or sensitive skin, thus encouraging the development of new ingredients and products adapted to atopic skin.
The UBO researchers have begun the process of patenting their invention, which could be used not only in the cosmetics industry, but also in the pharmaceutical industry to test products for skin problems.