Mother Dirt: Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria central to skin microbiome health

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Mother Dirt: Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria central to skin microbiome health
Mother Dirt, a brand leading the push toward skin microbiome related skin care, suggests that Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) can ‘restore skins native, healthy state’.

The brand, which began in the US and recently expanded into Europe​, positions itself as a ‘microbiome-friendly’ brand, and says that its products’ use of AOB is how the brand taps into the trend.

Historically, AOB (Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria) would have populated our skin microbiome naturally, acting as peacekeepers for the microbial community, but widespread use of soaps, deodorants, and other personal care products wiped them out​,” Mother Dirt suggests.

“By applying them back to your skin, you're restoring your skin to a native, healthy state.”

Cosmetics Design is hosting an industry-leading conference dedicated to the skin microbiome and its potential for beauty and personal care in June 2019. Full details here​.

How do AOB work?

AOB convert irritating components of our sweat (ammonia & urea) and turn them into byproducts that bring benefits to the skin (Nitrite and Nitric Oxide), says Mother Dirt.

Nitrite helps keep bad bacteria in check and Nitric Oxide is an antioxidant that helps calm and soothe the skin.

This action can help restore balance to the skin's ecosystem and in turn reduce dependence on conventional products like soaps, moisturizers, and deodorants.

“The presence of AOB on your skin is important not only because of what it continuously produces while on your skin, but because of the broader impact it has on the ecosystem of your skin as a whole,​” says Mother Dirt.

In fact, AOB are so influential that they only need to be present in small amounts to have an effect on your skin's microbial ecosystem: helping keep the bad in check and allowing the good to flourish​.”

Replacing lost AOB

When it comes to how microbiome-related skin care can tap into all of this, Mother Dirt says traditional soap and skin care can reduce and remove AOB on the skin, and products can be used to reintroduce them.

AOB have elaborate membranes that make them very sensitive to chemicals found in modern soaps, detergents, and preservatives. A single use of a conventional soap will very likely wipe them right out​,” the brand suggests.

“Wiping them out is not harmful on its own. Instead, not having a way to repopulate the good guys that we've lost is what causes the longer term challenges.

“When the peacekeepers are wiped out, it becomes easier for the bad guys to have a stronger presence. This is why the best time to apply AOBs is after showering, using conventional products, or swimming in pools, etc​.”

More research needed

While the potential of the skin microbiome to ‘revolutionise’ skin care has been suggested by some, including Euromonitor​, more research is needed, and further clinical data required to determine the impact of such products.

On top of this, consumer appetite for the trend remains to be proven: with several brands like Mother Dirt now on the market, will the bigger players begin moving in this direction?

In any case, Euromonitor’s senior consultant, Maria Coronado, suggests skin microbiome products can tap into a sweet spot of consumer demand.

“The idea of using products that help to build up the skin own defences as an antidote to urban life and premature skin ageing seems to convince consumers,​” she explained recently​.

The combination of botanicals, vitamins, and ingredients that support the skin defence appear to be the magical recipe for products carrying “microbiome friendly” claims​.”

CosmeticsDesign will host a dedicated conference on Skin Microbiome Innovation next year, in June 2019. Full details of this unmissable industry event can be found here​​.

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