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DSM in Personal Care

The skin microbiome – a new hot topic

Creating the right environment for healthy skin

Like the digestive system, the skin has its own individual community of microbiota which changes throughout a person’s lifetime according to their age, diet, environment and lifestyle. We know that maintaining balance in the gut microbiome contributes to overall wellness, including skin health, but does the skin’s own unique ecosystem also have an impact on its appearance and feel?  In recent months, there has been growing interest in this question from scientists, brands and consumers.

Skincare and bacteria – a changing narrative

In the past, bacteria have, more often than not, been perceived as something that need to be removed from the skin, to combat acne for example. But are skincare products that strip away bacteria doing more harm than good? Creating a healthy environment for all bacteria on the skin is increasingly thought to be key to achieving a balanced, resilient complexion and natural glow, and to slowing down the signs of skin aging.

The skin microbiome can be viewed from four perspectives: removing bacteria, prebiotic, probiotic and post-biotic. Of these four pillars, the anti-bacterial approach is long established and now commonplace in cleansers and acne treatments while the probiotic field currently has the best potential for product and ingredient innovation.

A number of prebiotic skincare products have also been launched recently to a positive reception from consumers wanting to take a different, more natural and holistic approach to beauty.

Fresh research, fresh data, and a fresh perspective on skincare

There is still much to discover about the symbiotic interaction between skin and the microbiome. For example, what effect do different levels of bacteria have on skin barrier function or skin vitality?  And which products can rebalance these bacteria and improve such conditions? DSM’s Nutrition cluster already boasts leading scientific expertise in the gut microbiome. Our scientists are therefore well placed to embark on original research into the skin microbiome, in conjunction with experts and research institutes around the world.  

Contact DSM’s experts to learn more

Plans for the future

DSM will be introducing its initial findings and product offering at in-cosmetics. Ongoing studies will then go beyond researching the strains of bacteria commonly associated with acute skin conditions, to investigate how less usual strains of bacteria affect the skin’s appearance.  

In parallel to its scientific research DSM is also engaging with bloggers and beauty experts to study consumer perspectives on the skin microbiome and personal care. Early feedback is generally positive and there is particular enthusiasm for products that can help consumers make the most of their skin in a natural way. However, there is also a sense of confusion about what types of products can best unleash the skin microbiome’s potential and how these products work.

Through its research, DSM hopes to provide greater clarity on this topic to consumers and manufacturers, and to develop new products to rebalance the skin microbiome, thus promoting skin health and stimulating skin’s own natural defenses.