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DSM in Personal Care

Helping consumers make sense of the skin microbiome

Skincare and bacteria – a changing narrative

The skin microbiome as a beauty concept is challenging current perceptions about the role of bacteria in the skin. Our qualitative consumer research revealed that beauty influencers are receptive to the idea of the skin as a living ecosystem as this supports broader trends for more natural, holistic and healthy beauty. Regular consumers are still somewhat reticent however as the idea of bacteria as “bad” still dominates.  
DSM consumer research on skin microbiome

Four approaches to skin microbiome beauty

As new product launches pique curiosity, this view is beginning to change; and this is where the beauty industry should step in. Consumers need clear explanations now about why enhancing their skin flora is relevant to their specific skincare concerns. Above all, they want to understand which products work and how. 
To help bring clarity, DSM has analyzed the current skincare market and identified four approaches to skin microbiome beauty: 

  • removing bacteria, 
  • prebiotic – feeding “good” bacteria, 
  • probiotic – adding “good” bacteria, 
  • postbiotic –  adding by-products of bacteria.

Current market offering in skin microbiome

At the moment, the market is generally focused on offering prebiotic and probiotic solutions. Consumers are likely to be familiar with probiotics in relation to gut health and live dairy products, although it should be emphasized that when it comes to cosmetics, products contain extracts made from bacteria rather than live cultures. Some brands take a scientific stance with products designed to address specific concerns and benefits, such as reducing wrinkles, while others place the emphasis on nature, overall skin health, holistic lifestyles and green beauty.  

From skin microbiome-friendly cleansers and moisturizers, to skin microbiome-enhancing probiotic mists and serums, there is plenty of opportunity to innovate and also to redefine or reposition established products.