When there is a new research trend in skin research, the beauty industry likes to surf on the wave and use these findings in their marketing. This makes sense, but it also has inevitable consequences for the consumer. The most recent craze has been the skin microbiome. What is it? Skin is colonised by a wide variety of microorganisms, most of which are harmless and even beneficial to the host. These include bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, and mites. On the individual level, many factors can shape the diversity of your skin flora. Your job, age, lifestyle, clothing, hygiene habits, and even how much time you spend in the sunlight can all affect the types and amount of microorganisms inhabiting your microbiome. Skin microorganisms are essential to your skin’s health. They protect it from invading pathogens and educate your immune system. The issue with the microbiome skincare trend: The relationship between your skin’s APPEARANCE and microbiome isn’t completely clear yet. That’s partially because the vast majority of skin microorganisms haven’t been cultured or extensively studied yet. On top of that, products available on the market that claim to be “probiotic” do not have evidence behind their effectiveness (from what we’ve seen). So even though probiotic supplements and skincare lines can seem new and exciting, it doesn’t mean your current routine is worthless - you achieve ’probiotic skincare’ for free by avoiding certain things like overcleansing.
Our conclusion There are limits in taking new scientific research and directly applying it to the market. Research around the skin microbiome is fascinating, and there are numerous innovative startups pushing boundaries, yet on the flip side are companies that immediately use these new terms in their marketing and misguide the consumer into thinking this new trend is the answer to all skincare issues. But from what we’ve seen, the microbiome skincare bandwagon is actually a part of a wider movement, skincare minimalism! And that it is way more exciting 😉