Whilst shiny hair, strong nails and glowing skin had long been on the beauty supplements agenda – think collagen, evening primrose oil and iron, zinc and vitamin B12 blends – ingredient innovation and scientific advances had more recently thrust probiotics onto the edible beauty stage. But whilst probiotics in the food world were being tapped for a plethora of wider gut health benefits, in beauty, industry had homed in on very specific skin conditions.
Research on probiotic supplements for psoriasis and acne, among other skin conditions, was building fast, and interest in product development for oral care was building as innovative companies worked hard to refine blends that achieved clear results.
Probiotics for psoriasis – supplementation working via the gut-skin axis
In August this year, UK skin health specialist SkinBioTherapeutics unveiled a probiotic powder it had developed to target psoriasis. The AxisBiotix probiotic powder was made from a blend of Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactococcus lactis and had been developed to alleviate symptoms of the long-term chronic skin disease associated with red, itchy, scaly patches on various parts of the body.
Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe at the time, SkinBioTherapeutics CEO Stuart Ashman said the company had started with this skin condition because there was “no other cure” and it had “huge implications” on a person’s physical and mental health.
According to FMCG Gurus’ 2021 Beauty from Within report, 40% of global consumers wanted to address psoriasis over the next 12 months.
Ashman said targeting this chronic skin condition with a daily inside-out beauty supplement was an important and fresh approach, with the product working via the gut-skin axis – a “stunningly exciting area of science”.
“…We are literally just scratching the surface. Once we understand more about the gut microbiome and the impact it can have on overall health, I think we’ll see a whole raft of products coming into the space,” he said.
SkinBioTherapeutics had already conducted a consumer study looking at the impact the probiotic powder had on psoriasis sufferers, but early findings also indicated it may prove promising for applications targeting other skin conditions like eczema, acne and rosacea.
Probiotics for acne – consumer interest rising and research fast-evolving
In February this year, CosmeticsDesign-Europe caught up with French probiotic indie beauty brand Gallinée about how its pre- and probiotic supplement had become the brand’s best-selling product in its domestic market.
Launched in August 2020, Gallinée’s Skin & Microbiome supplement was made from an ultra-concentrated blend of four live probiotic strains, inulin, selenium enriched yeast and vitamin B2 and had been designed to help fight signs and causes of skin sensitivity and inflammation. However, company founder Marie Drago said the product had garnered interest amongst a specific set of consumers – those suffering from acne.
“I think it makes sense because it’s very highly dosed in probiotics, so it reduces systemic inflammation in some way, but that’s not what I was expecting,” Drago said.
Whilst no reference or claim was made on the supplement around acne, as this was not allowed in the EU market, the supplements had clearly found a niche beyond what the product had been designed for, which was sensitive skin, she said.
And research efforts looking into probiotics and acne was building. A study conducted this year by US firm CJ Foods on a kimchi-isolated proprietary probiotic strain showed promise in targeting acne with probiotic supplements. Results from a 12-week randomised controlled human trial showed supplementation reduced acne severity, notably decreasing acne lesion count and sebum triglycerides. The researchers leading the study theorised that the beneficial effects seen during the trial could be because the gut-brain-skin axis was at work.
Similarly, the postbiotic LactoSporin – a product produced by Indian firm Sami Labs Limited Bangalore and marketed by US supplier Sabinsa – had also been proven effective in treating mild to moderate acne in a study in India. Results published in the journal Cosmetics showed the strain also reduced acne lesions and mean sebum secretion.
Probiotics for oral health – mouth melt innovation
Industry had also started investing research efforts in probiotic blends for oral microbiome health.
South Korean firm Bifido INC, for example, was conducting further human clinical trials on its tablet melt that contained proprietary probiotic strains and had been designed to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Chief technical officer of Bifido INC recently told sister site NutraIngredients-Asia that industry was in “the microbiome era” and that everyone was looking to develop “products related to the microbiome”. The company already offered a range of other probiotic-based supplements, including some targeting atopic dermatitis eczema and gut health in babies.
Gallinée also recently launched an oral microbiome supplement made using a blend of pre- and probiotics in the form of a dissolvable tablet – designed to diffuse in the mouth over 15-20 minutes.
Drago said the tablet was a “category all by itself” and offered a “very innovative” alternative to traditional oral care products on the market today.