3D printing is a growing technology that is disrupting many industries. From healthcare to manufacturing, innovations in 3D printing are not only changing the way we make things but adjusting the realms of possibility, creating capabilities and functionalities that were previously out of reach with traditional production processes.
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Recently, the 3D printing industry entered the cosmetic and skincare space, with scientists leveraging additive manufacturing to enhance their ability to create customized products. Here, we discuss the latest 3D printed innovations that have emerged from a collaboration between BASF and Natural Machine, customized 3D printed face masks and eye masks.
Expanding the Possibilities of the Cosmetics and Skincare Sectors
Over recent years, the cosmetics and skincare sectors have begun to greatly benefit from advances in 3D printing. For example, 3D printed skin offers the industries a means of testing their products without relying on animal testing, and 3D printed production methods have been leveraged to enhance personalization capabilities alongside mass production.
Now, a new advancement from a recent collaboration between BASF, a German personal care company, and Natural Machines, an industrial solutions company, will see 3D printed face masks and eye masks emerge on the market soon.
Previously, face masks and eye masks had faced a major hurdle in that they could only be produced as a one-size- (and shape) fits-all. There is huge variation between people’s face shapes and the position, size, and shape of their features.
For this reason, currently available face and eye masks do not optimally fit all faces, they are made to fit the average face, meaning that most people will find some sort of issue with the fit in some way, be it the spacing of the eye, nose or mouth holes, or the width or length of the mask. This limitation greatly restricts the potential consumer experience and efficacy of the product.
To overcome this limitation, BASF and Natural Machine are using 3D printing to develop individual, custom-fit masks to suit the needs of the individual.
The masks are expected to be commercially available by next year. The partnership will leverage BASF’s expertise in cosmetic ingredients while utilizing Natural Machine’s experience in developing 3D printing innovations for the food sector.
Additionally, BASF’s privileged position within the personal care market gives the team the opportunity to commercialize their innovation in this space, bringing 3D printed skincare to the masses and opening up the possibilities of the industry.
Opening the Door to Mass Customization
BASF aims to use 3D printing to offer a unique, holistic solution to the personal care industry, comprised of machines, cartridges, and skincare formulas. The team’s initial tests have demonstrated that face masks and eye patches can successfully be 3D printed based on BASF ingredients.
Further Reading: Alginate-Based 3D Printed Inks For Biomedical Models
Over the coming months, BASF will work on adapting the technology to develop an entirely novel approach to mass-producing personalized face masks based on biological and biodegradable solutions.
The greater freedom offered by 3D printing in comparison to traditional, subtractive manufacturing allows custom-made products to be produced to fit specifications unique to the individual customer without the need for producing molds or causing production delays.
The time-consuming and costly processes required to produce personalized products with traditional manufacturing are overcome by the additive nature of 3D printing.
The market for personalized skincare has shown rapid growth in recent years. It is predicted that innovations such as that produced by the partnership between BASF and Natural Machine will help this space grow further and open up more potential capabilities of the skincare and cosmetic market.
3D Printing Innovations Will Advance the Skincare/Cosmetics Sectors
BASF and Natural Machine are not the only companies working on personalizing the skincare/cosmetics industry. Major industry player Neutrogena is also developing personalized face masks with the help of 3D printing. The innovation uses smartphone photos to micro 3D print a face mask to suit the customer’s skin type and desired treatment.
Their system 3D prints the mask so that its active ingredients are uniquely positioned, placing them just where the customer needs them, rather than applying them to the entire face. This innovation not only overcomes the limitation of one-size-fits-all face masks but also overcomes the limitation of one-treatment-fits-all.
Not every person requires the same skin care treatments, and not every area of every person’s face requires the same treatment. Dry and oily patches, issues with skin tone, and blemishes are often restricted to certain areas of the face. The 3D printed mask from Neutrogena addresses this, producing one mask to tackle multiple issues simultaneously.
This, and other 3D printed innovations that are also emerging in the skincare/cosmetics space will likely facilitate a shift in the industry towards personalized products. The trend is already apparent, but technological advancements in 3D printing will encourage it and open up a new realm of possibilities to be explored.
References and Further Reading:
Deanna Pai. (2017). 3D Printing Skin Is Real: Here’s What You Need to Know. [Online]. Allure. Available at: https://www.allure.com/story/3d-printing-skin (Accessed 9 November 2021)
Emily Folk. (2019). How 3D Printing is Changing the Cosmetics Industry. [Online]. 3D Print. Available at: https://3dprint.com/254128/dhow-3d-printing-is-changing-the-cosmetics-industry/ (Accessed 9 November 2021)
Mikahila L. (2021). BASF & Natural Machine to Create Customized 3D-Printed Skincare Masks & Eye Patches. [Online]. 3D Natives. Available at: https://www.3dnatives.com/en/basf-natural-machine-3d-printed-skincare-masks-eye-patches-181020214/#! (Accessed 9 November 2021)
Tia Vialva. (2019). Neutrogena to launch personalized 3D printed face masks. [Online]. 3D Printing Industry. Available at: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/neutrogena-to-launch-personalised-3d-printed-face-masks-146307/ (Accessed 9 November 2021)