In recent months, Johnson & Johnson partnered with Xycrobe Therapeutics on bacteria research, Mother Dirt launched a moisturizer “created to work in conjunction with…live peacekeeper bacteria,” IFF Lucas Meyers debuted a hair care ingredient meant to “regulate the scalp ecosystem homeostasis,” and experts have spoken up about the challenges and opportunities of this emerging technology.
Here, two industry insiders weigh in on the current state of bacteria, probioactives, and the microbiome.
Kelly A. Dobos, MS. Cosmetics Technical Manager for the Americas Region at Sun Chemical Corporation
“Cosmetic products are not yet ready for the incorporation of live bacteria.
“The skin’s microbiome contributes to the protective barrier through sophisticated mechanisms like educating the immune system to recognize commensal microorganisms and the simple exclusion of transients by competition for food or space. Balancing the microbiome certainly presents an interesting approach to skin care, but there are complex relationships between skin and microbes that need to be further elucidated.
“Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis are abundant members of the skin’s resident microbiome, but they can become opportunistic pathogens. Opportunistic pathogens are typically described as organisms that can become pathogenic following a disruption in the host environment like reduced immune response or wounding. Additionally, there are complications in ensuring shelf stability and preservation with live cultures.
“A more preferable approach may be the use of probioactives, bacterial lysates, which also have the potential to elicit immune response and influence skin health.”
Shaheen Majeed, Marketing Director, Sabinsa Corp
“Probiotics have well been documented for their beneficial role in improving health in general and gut health in particular. However, these microscopic wonders can also play a vital role in skin health.
“The skin has its own resident microflora that is protective in function from harmful environmental conditions and pathogenic microbes. The addition of probiotics to skin care formulations can enhance skin protection and help maintain homeostasis. Studies report that Lactobacilli extracts may help repair the skin barrier, thus playing a role in hydration of the skin. They also reduce erythema and acne lesions effectively. Anyone looking for healthy and nourished skin would appreciate the presence of a probiotic in their skin care regime.
“A challenge to incorporate a probiotic in a cosmetic formulation is that it has to withstand the preservatives that are added in order to prevent the growth of other microbes in the finished product. Sabinsa’s LactoSpore, composed of Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856, has been found to restore viability even in the presence of Neolone PE and thus successfully incorporated in an all-natural, hand-crafted soap.
“This may be just the beginning of many more cosmetic products on the shelf that would highlight these probiotics and their benefits.”