Microbiome skincare is currently one of the hottest concepts and most researched areas of cosmetics. The research has demonstrated that the skin microbiome plays a critical role in maintaining a normal barrier function and a healthy skin has a diverse, and balanced microbiome.
The human microbiome is defined as a community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that reside in the gut, mouth, on skin and other body cavities. All of these regions have their own microbiome and an individual’s microbiome is as different and unique as their fingerprints.
Skin is the largest organ of the body containing a diverse community of beneficial and potentially harmful microorganisms coexisting on the surface. Each 1cm2 of skin contains approximately 1 billion microorganisms with up to 500 different species present (5). The types and quantities of microorganisms present are determined by their locality on (dependent on humidity, moisture, sebum), genetics, age, gender, diet, hygiene, and environmental factors such as climate and pollution.
A healthy skin microbiome prefers an acidic environment (pH ~5.0) which inhibits the growth of many pathogens and pH that is too high can contribute to an impaired skin barrier function. This is commonly seen in patients with eczema that typically have an elevated pH and an impaired barrier favoring the growth of S. aureus and S. pyogenes (2). Dry skin for example favors the colonization of S. aureus, which can be a contributing factor causing Eczema (6).
Microbiome of different skin types has been previously shown to be comprised of over 96% P. acne, S. capitis, and S. epidermidis bacteria in all skin types. The majority of fungi present were different Malassezia species(7). The presence of S. epidermis bacteria may significant because they can produce anti-microbial peptides and bacteriocins, which can inhibit the colonization of skin pathogens and help regulate/promote the host inflammatory response. P. acnes, which can cause Acne, also are beneficial to the maintenance of healthy skin by metabolizing sebum triglycerides to short chain fatty acids which exhibit anti-microbial properties protecting against invading pathogens s and by helping to form the acid mantle of skin.
Actives in microbiome skincare products
The types of actives used in microbiome skincare products include prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics (5). Most actives used are either pre or postbiotics
Prebiotics are ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of endogenous beneficial bacteria. Several prebiotics with proven clinical efficacy include
- Oat Kernel Four (OTC category 1 active for Eczema) – a clinical study involving subjects with mild to moderate eczema using a moisturizing cream containing 1% Oat Kernel Flour experienced significant improvements in eczema symptoms, skin pH, barrier function, skin hydration, and an improvement in the skin microbiome of lesional skin after 24 hours (2).
- Thermal Spring Water was shown to exhibit both probiotic and prebiotic properties enhancing the diversity of skin microbiota bacteria with a reduction of Gram-positive bacteria, and improvements in skin microbial diversity. At the same time the skin condition in subjects with atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and dry skin also improved (3).
- Niacinamide may act as a prebiotic by increasing the natural antimicrobial peptides in skin (EP2742942, Unilever, 6/18/14).
- A Niacinamide containing hand sanitizer formulation was shown to boost the skin’s own germ protection properties and provides long-lasting protection from E. coli for up to 6 hours after application. Niacinamide also boosted the level of antimicrobial peptides in skin such as Psoriasin (8).
Probiotics contain living microorganisms that can produce beneficial ingredients on skin or alter the microflora of skin. The main issue using probiotics is that formulations need to be preservative free and that they require refrigeration or be in a powder form to maintain activity. Several probiotics with proven clinical efficacy include
- Topical treatment with Roseomonas mucosa (R. mucosa), a bacterium that is naturally present on the skin, was shown to help to treat atopic dermatitis. The study demonstrated a greater than 50% improvement in the severity of atopic dermatitis in 80% of children and 60% of adults (9).
- The use of topical Nitrosomonas eutropha (an organism found in soil) was shown to be effective in reducing wrinkle depth and severity in the high concentration probiotic group. There was also a statistically significant reduction in pigmentation of the forehead and glabella in the higher concentration group (10).
- ST 11 (Lactobacillius paracasei) is a probiotic developed by L’Oreal and Nestle that has been shown to significantly reduce dandruff and its symptoms (itching, rash) by stimulating the scalp’s barrier function.
Postbiotics are products that contain ingredients produced by probiotic microorganisms that have biologic activity on skin. The most common type of postbiotics are fermentation by products, also called ferments, produced by bacteria or yeast.
- A live yeast cell derivative was shown to accelerate the healing of burns (11).
- A cream containing 5% Bonicel (Bacillus ferment-Ganeden Biotech) was shown in a 28 day placebo controlled double blind study to decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by 62.9% and pore size by 48.1%. Hydration also increased by 19.1%.
- SK II is the number 1 prestige skin care brand in the world. It contains a hero ingredient called Pitera which is a Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate extract.
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- Effects of topical lotions on the atopic dermatitis skin microbiome and associations with itch and skin barrier function. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. poster presentation at the 76th Annual Society for Investigative Dermatology (SID) Meeting: April 26-29, 2017; Portland, OR, USA.
- Joshua Zeichner and Sophie Seite. From Probiotic to Prebiotic Using; Thermal Spring; Water. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018; 17(6):657-662.
- Grice EA, Segre JA. The skin microbiome. Nature reviews Microbiology. 2011;9(4):244-253.
- The interplay between keratinocytes and skin microbiota-BASF (IFSCC 29 2016 poster, Orlando Florida).
- Characterization Of The Microbiota Of Different Skin Types-Service de Dermatologie, Centre D’Investigation Clinique (IFSCC 29 2016 poster, Orlando Florida).
- Niacinamide leave-on formulation provides long-lasting protection against bacteria in-vivo. Ms, Mruthyunjaya, Shilpa Vora, Jyoti, (AAD 2018 Poster).
- JCI Insight 2018;3(9): Volume 3.
- Notav M, Saric-Bosanac S, Vauahn AR1, Dhaliwal S, Trivedi M, Reiter PN, Rybak I, Weiss LB, Ambroaio L, Burnev W, Sivamani RK. The use of topical Nitrosomonas eutropha for cosmetic improvement of facial wrinkles. J Cosmet. Dermatol. 2020 Mar;19(3):689-693.
- Kaplan JZ. Acceleration of wound healing by a live yeast cell derivative. Arch Surg. 1984 Sep; 119 (9): 1005-8.
- Bonicel product brochure.
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4 Responses to “Microbiome Skincare”
bonjour nous some une societe de fabrication des produits cosmetic. nous aimerions savoir sur quel Basse votre société peuvent nous être utiles en coopération
Dear Mr George,
I am trying to make a pet fragrance that will also help in eradicating fleas or minimizing the number of fleas , ticks on an animal. I am using dipropylene Glycol as my solublizer. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations on what I need to add to help with this
Dipropylene Glycol is not a solubilizer but a solvent that helps increase the effectiveness of surfactants used as solubilizers.
Thanks for reading,
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