In 2000, Nobel Prize winner Joshua Lederberg defined “microbiome” as “an ecological community of commensal, symbiotic and perhaps pathogenic microorganisms that inhabit the human body, determining health and disease.”
A healthy microbiota is bio-diverse. When unbalanced, it cultivates a variety of skin conditions such as acne, atopic skin, rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis and more. The skin microbiome helps protect against infection, aids in wound healing, limits exposure to allergens and UV radiation, minimizes oxidative damage, and helps keep the skin barrier intact and well hydrated.
The beauty industry has taken notice. For example, The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has leveraged more than 30 years of expertise in fermentation to develop a Lactobacillus extract which has been clinically shown to improve skin soothing, barrier and acne. Since 2002, the company has been using a proprietary in-house fermentation process to support microbiome research.
To expand its expertise on probiotics and skin, The Estée Lauder Companies recently partnered with Nizo, a leading microbiome research company, to better understand the skin microbiome and its response to the topical application of probiotics. Study results were co-presented at the Skin Microbiome & Cosmeceuticals Congress in San Diego last month. It showed:
• Cheek microbiota composition was significantly different between young and old women 25 younger (20-28 years old) and 25 older (59-68 years old) women; and
• Treatment with a Lactobacillus extract, after one week, had a significant shift in the microflora of acne patients.
“The Estée Lauder Companies has been working with a probiotic culture of L. plantarum and has identified several positive benefits in topical application of Lactobacillus extract,” said Steve Schnittger, Vice President of Global Micro Biology & Fermentation Research & Development, The Estée Lauder Companies, Melville, NY. “I am excited about the clinical study with Nizo and utilizing their expertise in the microbiome along with their capability in data analysis, which successfully showed the significance and benefits of Lactobacillus to skin.”
And ELC’s work is just beginning.
By partnering with Nizo, ELC is learning more about the microbial composition of youthful and aging skin and determined Lactobacillus plays an important role in maintaining a healthy, youthful-looking texture and tone.
“These studies are helping us understand the basic physiology of the skin microbiome, giving us direction to indicate what potential shifts happen under different conditions,” Schnittger told Happi. “By revealing markers that are indicative of skin changes, we will extend the understanding of skin, which can guide us to develop effective skin care products to address multiple concerns, including aging and acne.”
Besides anti-aging benefits, in another study that was presented at the Skin Microbiome & Cosmeceuticals Congress, Clinique Laboratory scientists investigated the effect of a topical application of Lactobacillus extract on the growth of P. acnes. This study hypothesized the possibility in selective modulation of the skin microflora using a probiotic and showed that the extract can induce enough changes to improve topical conditions like acne.
“We discovered that a probiotic extract of Lactobacillus helps to shift the acne skin microbiome to a healthier state,” said Dr. Tom Mammone, VP-Skin Physiology and Pharmacology, Research and Development and Clinique Laboratories Lead Scientist, Melville, NY.
Many products in the brand’s skin care portfolio feature Lactobacillus including acne products which contains Lactobacillus ferment and other ingredients to fine tune for acne skin.
What’s next for the field? According to the current analysis by Reports and Data, the audience is growing. The global anti-acne makeup market is expected to grow 4% a year and top $3.2 billion by the end of 2026. Gains are attributed to consumers ages 15-25 who produce sebum at a rapid rate.
“Understanding the fundamentals of the skin microbiome also helps us understand how treatment can shift microbiome populations,” said Schnittger. “We are currently looking into how these changes affect skin barrier in conjunction with investigating ingredients that can improve skin condition, to be used in the development of new cleansers and/or moisturizers.”