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Skin Microbiome Innovation Summit in Amsterdam

The skin microbiome innovation summit, organized by CosmeticsDesign in June 2019 in Amsterdam, brought together experts in market analysis, suppliers of active ingredients, formulators and producers of end-products including well-established brands as well as very new entrants.

Research in recent years has revealed the beneficial role of the skin microbiota (which is constituted by billions of microorganisms) on skin health, barrier function and immunity. But this field is very complex as the amount and type of microbes varies significantly between different subjects and also between different skin areas within one person.

Several scientific experts explained how urbanization, the use of detergents or the fact of having pets at home influenced the composition of our skin microbiome. Some other experts unveiled the results of their studies and mentioned some of the very numerous questions their experiments raised: What are the bacteria to look at? How can we separate the effects due to the living bacteria and to the dead ones? How to positively interact with the skin microbiome of each persons and how to prove it?

Market analysis experts explained how this topic is understood by the consumers. Interestingly, the word “probiotics” is very well perceived in general, probably because of the benefits it is bringing in yoghurts (“friendly bacteria”). However, many brands are using the word “probiotics” to define their skin care products and/or to explain how they work although they are not using probiotics on a scientific point of view. Probiotics are actually defined as living microorganisms, added in a sufficient amount to provide health benefits. Because, they are alive, they represent a big challenge for a use in cosmetics, on a technical point of view (How to maintain these bacteria alive in a cosmetic product?) as well as on safety and regulatory ones. Besides, how to prove their effects on the skin and how to claim them?

The awareness of the key role of the skin microbiome in cosmetics as well as all the discoveries / new datas will certainly redefine personal care as we know it. Active ingredients with claims related to the skin microbiome may be more and more numerous and the influence of all the other components of the formula will probably be more investigated.

This evolution goes together with the interest of the consumers for “clean beauty” (products with ingredients that do not harm the skin), for more transparency, for a simplification of the formulas and also for personalized cosmetics. Therefore, the next generation of skin care products will probably offer products which optimise, maintain and restore the healthy microbiota of YOUR skin.

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microbiome summit
Elodie Mauger
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Elodie Mauger