Animal testing by the cosmetics industry may seem downright barbaric, but it could also be obsolete, as well. Synthetic skins are now good enough to mimic animal skins in lab tests, according to research that will appear in the June 5 issue of the Journal of Applied Polymer Science . Bharat Bhushan , a professor at Ohio State University and Wei Tang, an engineer at China University of Mining and Technology used atomic force microscopes to observe the responses of pseudo and rat skins to a generic skin cream. The result? Even at a scale of 100 nanometers—or one-thousandth the width of a human hair—all the samples reacted in a similar fashion. Both Bhushan and Tang may be onto something here. While their findings could save many a hapless critter, it could also weigh in positively on burn victims’ futures.