A major trend in the cosmetic industry is targeting the human skin microbiome when formulating cosmetic and personal care products. The microbiome refers to the collection of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. that live on or in human cells. There are trillions of microbes living on and within the human body. We rely on our microbiome to perform essential functions like protecting from pathogens, building essential vitamins and providing digestive enzymes in the body.
While the food industry works to market products that claim to balance and promote healthy bacteria inside your body, the personal care industry is increasingly looking into the diversity of the skin microbiome and how to develop skin care products that are tailored to such. Many studies, including one done by Johnson & Johnson, have found a strong connection between a balanced microbiome and healthy skin. Johnson & Johnson are one of the many players in the cosmetic industry who are researching and producing products containing probiotics and prebiotics in efforts to enhance the skin microbiome.
Much of the research that can be used for cosmetics and personal care products includes identifying the makeup of bacterial populations present in both men and women, understanding how skin micro flora affects and induces acne, and how the metabolism of bacteria affects body odor. This can allow for long-term effectiveness against body odor by reducing bacteria or inhibiting certain enzymes.
However, many critics of this trend in the industry show skepticism of the concept of microbiome-enhancing cosmetics. This includes the many obstacles to consider such as how these cosmetics will be preserved to ensure stability but without comprising the population of the probiotic/prebiotic bacteria present in the product. In this case, more research is required to determine effective solutions to these issues.
Although the study of the skin microbiome is still in its infancy, it is developing rapidly and holds a lot of promise for the future.