From The Editor's Desk

What will make skin microbiome a long-term trend?

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images
Getty Images
This week’s two-day Cosmetics Design Summit on Skin Care Microbiome Innovation concluded with a panel discussion to explore whether the microbiome trend is a fad or here for the long-term. The consensus was unanimous…

The Cosmetics Design team put together a varied group of panelists from very different areas of the industry to discover their take on the trend, how it was evolving and what its future looked like.

The discussion lasted almost an hour, and was the session in a two-day programme that explored everything from the specifics of packaging microbiome-targeted products, to ingredients innovation, regulation updates and brand marketing strategies.

But discovering whether or not this trend is going to go beyond a niche and become a fully fledged category was one of the crucial questions everyone in the room wanted an answer to.

The team of panelists

  • Celine Hanani: Development Product Manager, Solabia
  • Dr. Umar Jan, Resident Director, Sabinsa Europe
  • David Tyrell, Global Skin Care Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care, Mintel
  • Kit Wallen Russell, Co-founder and R&D Director, JooMo

The panel discussion was chaired by myself, Simon Pitman, and I asked the group a series of questions, which was kicked off by trying to discover why the microbiome trend is deemed to be an essential part of the ‘next generation’ of skin care products.

Skin microbiome has been long overlooked

Kit Wallen Russell believes that that skin’s microbiome has long been overlooked as a crucial aspect of skin care and that the increasing body of scientific research is backing this belief as fact.

“Skin is an ecosystem and we need to let skin fend for itself. If we let microbes on skin a healthy eco-system skin will be able to fend off disease,”​ said Wallen Russell.

“In the Western World rely we too much on medications but we need to let the body able to fend for itself and that’s why the microbiome is so important. It’s interesting to not that you’re less human (40%) than you are microbe (60%).”

On the subject of how science can continue to take the microbiome trend further, Celine Hanani, underlined how Solabia has been working on this area for over decades and that current advances in defining strains of bacteria were all helping to move things forward.

“Solabia has been working on the skin microbiome for 30 years now and now and we still feel like we need to learn more,”​ Hanani said.

“We are still only at the beginning in the science and have different projects relating to pre and probiotics. Relating to these, the science can be the departure point because when you have pro- or prebiotic you first need to think about what you want and need for your skin.”

Will microbiome skin care become even more effective?

Following on from this, we put to the panel if the efficacy of microbiome targeted products still had some way to go, and asked if future product launches would be very different.

“Yes, it can still go 10 levels up because there is still not enough scientific claims to back product claims,”​ said Wallen Russell.

“We need a science-backed and health-giving industry focus. In terms of understanding skin microbiome, we need more research as to how to understand whether the product has a good effect or not.”

But when asked if the skin microbiome trend was long-term, the panel responded with a unanimous belief that it would evolve beyond and trend and become a fully fledged category at some point in the not too distant future.

“There are more than 1 million bacteria per square centimetre on this skin, which reflects in the shear enormity of this area and the fact that skin microbiome is so vital to skin care,”​ said Dr. Jan.

“Bearing this in mind, I believe in the long-term sustainability of microbiome but we also need  more science and more studies to give it greater focus and in-depth understanding of what it is.”

What the future holds for microbiome skin care

David Tyrell foresees a future whereby prestige brands will develop products around more sophisticated microbiome claims that will be focused on enhancing skin health.

“Because the microbiome is so essential to skin health, I believe that the evolution of this category will continue and that these kind of products will be around for the long-term,”​ said Tyrell.

“In the future I expect to see a lot focusing on the pre, pro and postbiotics enhancing claims , and I imagine a lot of these will be prestige products. The stories behind the brands could be interesting but there needs to be a central focus; specifically that these products target can ehance skin healthier by making the skin microbiome healthier again.”

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