Skin microbiome, more than just a trend
Once the gut microbiome started to be better understood, consumers welcomed the fact that they have bacteria in the digestive system and saw the importance of keeping the balance of these microorganisms. Globally, 85%* of consumers are aware of the existence of microorganisms in their digestive system versus 69% for their skin. Consumers now know that a disbalance of the skin microflora can lead to skin disorders.
After the gut microbiome, the revolution of the skin microbiome has started and is here to stay. It is known that the skin microbiome evolves upon ageing and has very important roles, for example in the education of our immune system. Givaudan Global Consumer Study about skin microbiome shows that 70%* of people think that cosmetic products acting on the skin microflora can deliver health and wellness benefits, while 70% of them are willing to pay more for such cosmetic products. Yet very little is known about the connections between skin microbiome and skin type/status.
Understanding skin microbiome/skin type relationship
With all those perspectives, Givaudan scientists were thinking of a beauty 2.0 approach based on microbiome decoding. Leveraging Givaudan’s proprietary database of more than 2,000 human microbiomes from diverse skin types (sensitive, young, old), they have been able to establish links between skin types and specific bacterial populations. Combining new DNA sequencing, miniaturised device technologies and big data processing they developed i-MAPS, the Instant Microbiome Analysis and Profiling System. This new technology will help customers to be at the cutting-edge of the skin care movement by mapping consumers’ skin microbiome in only a few hours. It will open the door to offer an absolute customisation of beauty products.
Offering a new way of designing skincare products
i-MAPS is the opportunity to bridge the gap between the lab and the visible world of cosmetics. Here, Givaudan Active Beauty will show how science and new technologies can directly serve the cosmetic market. For the first time, a technology will allow people to get a picture of their skin microbiota in a few hours. Everyone can see dark spots appear after catching the sun, the wrinkling due to ageing, but no one can see the microbiome. People only start to see and feel it when an important dysbiosis occurs (eczema, acne…). With this new technology, Givaudan scientists hope enabling people to identify the living microorganisms that are taking care of their skin and help them to maintain the important balance of their microbiota.
i-MAPS is actually the first step in the personalised skin microbiome care area. It was designed using only portable devices to provide a result “in the field” in a very short time. People do not need to send their samples: with this technology scientists can go somewhere and provide a result in less than 7 hours while it usually takes 7 days. The combination of different techniques and technologies used in a specific sequence makes it easy. Basically, a swabbing is performed on a volunteer’s skin, the DNA is extracted from the cells, read (sequenced) and analysed to determine which bacteria the DNA comes from. Finally a map is generated with the ratio of the different microorganisms present on the skin (bacteria, fungi, viruses…). This microbiome profile is a good indicator of the real shape of the skin. It is actually more stable than for example the hydration level that can change throughout the day. Once the microbiota skin type of someone is defined, it is possible to say if it tends to be sensitive, prematurely aged, dry etc.
i-MAPS is the very beginning of an adventure that will lead to a new way of designing beauty products. “Our microbiome experts know this is a very first step in the field of instant personalisation,” Catherine Zanchetta, NGS Senior Specialist, said: “We need to be humble: the microbiome-skin relationship understanding is still in its infancy, yet the work done by our biostatisticians enables to make the first connections between the human skin microflora and its status, and the i-MAPS technology makes it happen in few hours. We are the first to offer a personalised approach about the microbiome and it’s great to see that it opens many perspectives for the future. We are going further of what actually exists in term of personalisation. We are able to tell people what their skin really needs. We already look forward for the development of new actives with interesting properties on the microbiome. Anyone would then be able to go into a shop and get out 15 minutes later with a dedicated cream to keep or rebalance his own microbiome.”
*Givaudan Global Consumer Study Skin Microbiome – November 2018