Microfactory: Breaking a sweat
Text: Kate Harvey | Photos: Microfactory
An innovative Parisian start-up is about to change the face of the cosmetics industry forever. With its latest breakthrough, Microfactory can effectively mimic the perspiring process using its SOD4 machinery: this tiny piece of technology will allow companies to run faster and more accurate skincare tests that are, in effect, cruelty-free.
Inventions such as the ballpoint pen, the pregnancy test – we have the field of microfluidics to thank for such ground-breaking discoveries. Now, the founding trio of Microfactory, Fabrice Monti, Patrick Tabeling and Jacques Lewiner, present their latest discovery in the field – their Smart-Pore™ and SOD4 technology.
Experts have already managed to create artificial skin, but as Monti explains: “the sweat function was always missing in skin tests. Companies were producing sunscreens and antiperspirants without figuring out how they behave when exposed to sunlight or sweat.” Given that humans produce several litres of sweat a day, it has held back significant progress for the industry.
When used in their SOD4 machine, Microfactory’s ‘transparent biomimetic pore’ mimics the human sweat mechanism on demand, at a flow rate that corresponds with the skin’s secretions. This microchip is specifically adapted to industry requirements; helping them to better understand the impact of sebum and sweat on cosmetic products.
Their discovery couldn’t be timelier, at a point when consumers continue to demand skincare that is free from controversial ingredients.
“Companies want to know how much you can lower the proportion of aluminium salts in antiperspirants without noticeably impacting their efficacy.” explains Monti.
In fact, the technology satisfies both the consumers’ ethical needs, as well as the demand for more efficient industrial testing – two things which are often juxtaposed.
As an example, the micropore will allow companies to test the effectiveness of antiperspirant in just one hour, when, according to Monti, previously this would have taken “one month of toxicology tests, and then another month of testing on humans,” a process that is both costly and time-consuming.
They are hoping to accelerate the rate at which the European cosmetics market can test new products: a crucial development, considering that “every 3 months, a new list of formula-deteriorating ingredients appears.”
Having been put to the test in the antiperspirant market with some of the world’s biggest manufacturers, the pore, which can grow artificial skin on top, will soon be able to test other products such as makeup.
If you’re interested in knowing what Microfactory can do to help understand the impact of sweat on your products, visit their website.
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