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Science, R&D

3D skin technology developed by the Boticário Group might change the way cosmetics are tested in Brazil

A strong advocate against animal testing, the Boticário Group is the first company in Brazil to develop a technology capable of reproducing the human skin in laboratory to be used as a testing surface for cosmetics. As well as lasting longer than in natura skin, the 3D technology is able to mimic the human skin in different stages of aging as well as reproducing the six main skin tones as described in literature. The same 3D skin sample can be used in multiple tests, such as skin irritation, skin corrosion, and product efficacy.

In an exclusive interview to Brazil Beauty News, Márcio Lorencini, biomolecular research manager at the Boticário Group, underlines the main advantages of the 3D skin technology and talks about the investments allocated to innovation projects in the company’s R&D Center, which has been operating since 2013.

The Boticário Group's R&D Center

The Boticário Group’s R&D Center

Brazil Beauty News - The Boticário Group was a pioneer in developing human skin for lab use in Brazil. Is the technology available yet?

Márcio Lorencini - The 3D skin technology is already being used to test raw materials and end products, such as skin creams, lotions, and makeup. It has allowed for more effectiveness and accuracy in choosing the right ingredients for our formulations. The technology is also an alternative to animal testing and has been duly sanctioned by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation (Concea) and the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).

Brazil Beauty News - Which features of the human skin can the 3D skin reproduce?

Márcio Lorencini - The 3D skin is made from isolated cells extracted from leftover tissue donated by plastic surgery patients upon approval of the hospital’s Ethics and Research Committee. The skin sample is developed in laboratory, cell-by-cell, layer-by-layer, just like human skin. The dermis is formed first, with fibroblasts that are responsible for producing proteins such as collagen, which gives skin its strength and elasticity. The next layer to be formed is the epidermis, composed by keratinocytes – cells that form a barrier against environmental damage –, as well as melanocytes, which produce skin tone or pigment.

Brazil Beauty News - What are the main advantages of the 3D skin for the cosmetics industry?

Márcio Lorencini - This technology allows for multiple tests using one single sample of 3D skin, which lasts seven days, as opposed to the 72 hours of human skin. It also provides a larger range of testing and more assertive results, since it’s made from a pool of cells from different individuals. And, of course, it greatly reduces the need of human testing and helps developing better, safer formulations.

Brazil Beauty News - In 2015, L’Oréal announced a partnership with a startup called Organovo to make 3D skin viable. Is the technology created by the Boticário Group any similar to that of L’Oréal?

Márcio Lorencini - Our technology is a pioneer in Brazil. For strategic reasons, I cannot comment on moves made by competing companies.

Brazil Beauty News - Other than the 3D skin, what are some recent investments made by the R&D department?

Márcio Lorencini - The Boticário Group has always had a strong R&D department focused on product development. In March 2013, the company gathered all R&D professionals in a single physical location with over 8,000 m2, the highest technology equipment available and laboratories designed by a multidisciplinary team. The new R&D Center was built with a R$ 37 million investment, which reassures the Boticário Group’s commitment to excel in the development of beauty products.

Our research projects involve several different areas and are held up by a strategic plan created by each of our business units. The projects are divided into several stages, from product conception to technical and financial viability analysis, development, conformity assessment, manufacturing and, at last, result monitoring. Where necessary, the R&D Center also seeks, through its Networks and Innovation department, partners to support the development of its research projects.

Brazil Beauty News - What percentage of the group’s revenue is invested in R&D and how many new products, on average, are launched each year?

Márcio Lorencini - The Boticário Group invests about 2.5% of its revenue in Research and Development. Our well-rounded innovation process allows us to develop about 2,500 products and introduce 1,000 new products into the market every year.

Fernanda Bonifacio

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© 2016 - Brazil Beauty News - www.brazilbeautynews.com

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