A healthier microbiome: Evonik partners with UC San Diego on cosmetic raw material research

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Evonik and CMI will be investigating current and emerging potential cosmetic raw materials for skin microbiome protection - Getty Images
Evonik and CMI will be investigating current and emerging potential cosmetic raw materials for skin microbiome protection - Getty Images

Related tags microbiome skin microbiome Cosmetics Raw materials synbiotics Science clinical data Evonik Innovation Skin

German chemical major Evonik is partnering with the University of California San Diego’s Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) to research and develop cosmetic raw materials for a healthier skin microbiome.

The three-year partnership will investigate the potential of existing cosmetic raw materials but also focus on improving and developing new ones that provide better skin protection, including microbiotics – a strong focus for Evonik under its Care Biotics tech platform. Under the partnership, the chemicals specialist will also explore model systems for the skin microbiome to accelerate systematic evaluation of raw materials.

Cosmetics a ‘highly promising application area’

Dr. Tammo Boinowitz, senior vice president and general manager of Evonik’s business line Care Solutions, ​said the partnership would enable the company to “dive deeper into the fascinating field of the skin microbiome”. ​It would also enable the firm to realise the vast potential of its technology platform and create and commercialise improved products, Boinowitz said.

Dr. Peter Lersch, vice president of Evonik’s innovation growth field Cosmetic Solutions, said the skin microbiome remained “of enormous interest”​ for consumers and from a scientific standpoint.

“The microbiome supports the epidermal skin barrier and plays also a role in the ageing process of the skin. The development of microbiome-friendly cosmetic products is therefore a highly promising application area,”​ Lersch said.

Collaboration moving at ‘lightning speed’

CMI’s faculty director Professor Rob Knight said the centre was delighted to be partnering with Evonik.

“The combination of CMI’s first-rate academic research and prominent opinion leaders, as well as the opportunity for scientific exchange with Evonik’s team of skin product experts, will lead to fascinating discoveries together,” ​Knight said. “Our collaboration is already moving at lightning speed, with our first joint project expected to be initiated before the end of the year.”

According to the centre, the CMI’s ultimate goal was to increase knowledge of the microbiome’s impact on human health and the environment with the view to providing innovations that could treat major diseases and prolong wellness.

Skin microbiome spotlight

At CosmeticsDesign-Europe’s inaugural Skin Microbiome Innovation Summit held in Amsterdam this June, a panel of experts unanimously agreed the skin microbiome trend was set to stay​ and that it would only continue to evolve further as science and clinical data came to the fore.

David Tyrell, global beauty and personal care analyst at market intelligence firm Mintel, told us that over the next five years there would be more clinical data on the benefits of synbiotics​ (prebiotics + probiotics) to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing as well as a flurry of Indie and prestige brands with ‘synbiotic’ facial skin care launches. Tyrell said skin microbiome technologies were also expected to have an impact on acne treatments.

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