More than 100 years later, Nobel Prize Winner Joshua Lederberg defined “microbiome” in 2000 as “an ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and perhaps pathogenic microorganisms that inhabit the human body, determining health and disease.”
But what is the microbiome? Kurebayashi firstly explains the microbiota concept, as a collection of microorganisms present in a stated environment and so, microbiome refers to the genetic composition of the respective microbiota, including microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, yeast and viruses), genomes (genes) and surrounding environmental conditions. Therefore, the cutaneous microbiome is composed of bacteria, fungi, viruses and symbiotic mites. Humans have, on average, 10 trillion cells and 100 trillion microorganisms, a ratio of 10:1 microorganism to human cells.
Given these data, what does it mean to have a healthy microbiota? Presence of only good bacteria? Absence of bad bacteria? A healthy microbiota is bio-diverse. When unbalanced, it cultivates a variety of skin conditions as acne, atopic skin, rosacea, dermatitis, psoariasis, melasma, difficulty healing, among others, according to Kurebayashi.
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. According to Euromonitor International, dermocosmetic/skin care companies can offer a range of formulas:
- Prebiotics: food ingredients that induce bacterial growth;
- Probiotics: microorganisms (usually living bacteria) believed to provide health benefits when consumed;
- Postbiotics: bacteria-derived ingredients, such as enzymes, peptides, lactic acid, and
- Biome-friendly: ingredients that do not harm the beneficial bacteria of the skin, and/or mimic the natural healthy skin barrier.
Europe was an early proponent of skin microbiome formulas, followed by Asia and China. More recently, according to Euromonitor, the US has come on board. Now, in Brazil, marketers and suppliers are entering the category.
Vinicius Bim, innovation specialist for personal care at BASF South America, highlighted three personal care ingredients:
- ProductBix’Active promise to reduce oily skin, enlarged pores, imperfections by decreasing hyper-keratinization and sebum production by propionibacterium acnes.
- Relipidium is a biotechnology-modified yeast extract that rebuilds the skin barrier. It stimulates the synthesis of epidermal lipids, such as cholesterol and ceramides, and restores long-term hydration to dry skin.
- Purisoft is an anti-pollution peptide obtained by extraction from Moringa seeds and clinically proven to protect and purify the skin.
Givaudan Active Beauty recently published skin microbiome research featuring clinical data for Vetivyne, the vetiver-inspired skin youth booster, and Yogurtene Balance, a unique yogurt powder and prebiotic combination. Yogurtene Balance is an active rich in yogurt constituents and prebiotics that supports the skin -friendly bacteria. According to researchers, the active ingredient helps rejuvenate the skin microflora while improving skin hydration. This performance was clinically proven in a rinse-off application (bar soap). After application, the skin microbiota was modified toward the typical composition of a younger skin microbiota. The study also revealed a significant 2.6 times increase in skin hydration versus placebo.
Researchers also performed a new clinical test with Vetivyne, an anti-aging active derived from vetiver. According to researchers, the results revealed that Vetivyne avoids dysbiosis by preserving actinobacteria abundance, which typically declines with aging, therefore protecting the skin microbiome composition.
“Skin microbiome is one of the fastest growing trends in the beauty industry as it is a major scientific new area,” noted Mathias Fleury, category manager, actives, Givaudan Active Beauty. “This is why we keep investigating new benefits from active ingredients and connect them to the consumers’ expectations. We are delighted to regularly bring our customers new possibilities grounded in solid science.
Balancing the skin microbiota is essential to get a healthy and beautiful skin and protecting its composition is crucial. These new microbiome-based rinse-off and leave-on applications will offer additional product development opportunities for our customers.”
Natura launched the Chronos Acqua Biohidratante Renovador (Chronos Acqua Renewable Biohydrate) in April, with exclusive active, prebiotic and intelligent hydration technology that promises to repair hydration levels. The light, ultra-moisturizing formula includes Fevillea, an exclusive Brazilian ingredient that reportedly stimulates natural mechanisms of hyaluronic acid production, a potent prebiotic to balance the microbiota and help strengthen the skin barrier, and hyaluronic acid-BT to increase skin hydration levels.
Anna Pegova is a well-established French dermocosmetics brand that has been available in Brazil for 43 years. In May, the company launched Sérum Pro Âge Pérolas Essenciais (Pro Âge Essential Pearls Serum) which promises to bring more elasticity, tone and structure to users 45 years of age and older. Its formula has calcium, which restores skin density and firmness; vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, as well as biopeptides extracted from porcelain flower nectar, which rebalances the microbiota and restores filaggrin, according to the company.
Árago, a Brazilian dermocosmetic brand, launched its prebiotic line with eight products for functional and deep skin cleansing for home and professional use. The products combine prebiotic technology with plant acids to prevent and reduce daily skin reactions that cause aging, peeling, redness and unbalanced skin.
Adcos, another Brazilian dermocosmetics brand, recently launched Emulsão Suavizante (Soothing Emulsion), a formula to soothe and regenerate sensitive or sensitized skin. It contains highly hydrating ingredients as well as prebiotics to balance the skin microbiota and strengthen the natural defense barriers to prevent the proliferation of unwanted bacteria. The company also launched Sabonete Suavizante (Soothing Soap), a formula that’s rich in allantoin and pro-vitamin B5 and prebiotics. This formula cleanses gently, leaving the skin hydrated.
These launches follow the introduction of other prebiotics including Aqua Pro.Bio, a spray that regenerates and strengthens the biological barrier and balances the immune system; and Sabonete Antiacne (Antiacne Soap), which promises to deeply cleanse pores and promote a balance of oiliness and microbial skin flora, avoiding irritation. The Água Micelar (Micellar Water) has many benefits all in a non-greasy and rapidly-absorbed solution.
La Roche-Posay expanded its Toleriane line with Sensitive and Caring Wash, both formulated with “lighter” ingredients to reduce the risk of allergic reactions. Toleriane Sensitive is a prebiotic moisturizing facial care that promises to provide skin barrier repair, promote hydration, soothe and reduce the symptoms of sensitive skin. Toleriane Caring Wash is a complementary step of cleansing sensitive skin. Its formula contains cocobetaine technology which cleanses without drying or causing skin discomfort and an exclusive protective complex consisting of La Roche-Posay thermal water plus glycerin, niacinamide and ceramides.
These and other microbiome launches, according to Kurebayashi, underscore the industry’s drive to create formulations that are gentle and biocompatible.
No surprise, then, that Euromonitor predicts microbiome-based skin care will take off in the Brazilian prestige sector—but some mass players will also capitalize on the trend by offering easy-to understand prebiotic formulas. The research firm called for further exploration at the intersection where skin and gut health meet. Here, there may be opportunities in hair care, oral care, baby care and child-specific products.
Daniela Ferreira is a marketing and communication professional in both consumer and B2B cosmetic markets. At present she is master´s degree student in fashion program at São Paulo University (USP) with research project about fashion and fragrance and also including works presented at conferences. Her expertise comprises managing and launching products, communication planning and market studies for identifying new business opportunities. She also has a blog about perfume, its interactions and insights for the market (https://olfativo360.com.br/)