trends in microbiome

COSSMA: Trends in Product Developments- Skin Microbiome

Note: This article was originally published in COSSMA 01/2022 edition.

Scientists pinpointed that every individual has a unique ecosystem of microorganisms on their skin and scalp. These microorganisms are important as they promise good skin and hair health balancing the production and consumption of various beneficial molecules.

The skin and scalp microbiome environments are exceptionally fragile. Already small variations in the external conditions such as extreme weather or diet change can lead to imbalances in natural activities of microbiome. This can result in complications such as acne, dandruff, micro-inflammations, and even eczema.

Scientists are now focusing on leveraging the skin microbiome to benefit the overall skin and scalp health by using various probiotics (“good bacteria” for skin and hair), prebiotics (fibres that are food for probiotics), and postbiotics (products or metabolic by-products secreted by live bacteria, or released after bacterial activities, such as enzymes, peptides, teichoic acids, peptidoglycan derived muropeptides, polysaccharides, cell surface proteins, and organic acids). These targeted bacteria have been proven to maintain the required balance of the microbiome for optimal health of skin and scalp by enabling the microbial activity.

Increased Consumer Awareness

In the past several years, consumers have become much more mindful of what kind of ingredient their skin is handling and the repercussions may be. It has ushered companies to develop formulations for so called clean products while considering their impact on the human skin. With the expansion of the internet and information being a click away, consumers now have easy access to the list of ingredients used in the formulations and their added benefits. Finally, the coronavirus crisis has made them even more attentive and critical. All these factors were the primary reasons for the increased popularity and high demand for microbiome-friendly products.

Similarly to the rise in popularity of probiotics that helps gut microbes, many beauty companies – big players as well as start-ups – are now offering skincare formulations that contain prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to “rebalance” the microbiome or fight the bacteria that are associated with peculiar skin or hair conditions.

Since 2019, many companies have focussed on offering microbiome-friendly formulations that can help in clearing the skin from hyperpigmentation and scars, alleviate sensitive skin, and improve hair and scalp health (1,2). In the past year, there has been a tremendous growth of about 300% in product launches that claim to boost the skin and hair microbiome. This kind of boosted focus on microbiome health and the rising preference of consumers to source products from small-scale businesses with cleaner labels will enhance the presence of similar companies in the personal care space.

skin microbiome is the new trend in personal care industry

Extensive Microbiome Research

New research is further leading to discoveries such as the impacts of multiple ingredients on the skin microbiome. Ingredient manufacturers are making sure that they are investing their efforts in offering microbiome-friendly ingredients (3,4) so that personal care formulators can come up with microbiome friendly products.

The emphasis is put on 3D-printed skin technologies to identify the unique microbiome of a consumer and further understand the impact of each ingredient on their overall skin and scalp health (5). Companies are investing in these research activities to develop the right ingredient, ensuring consumers get a balanced microbiome through their formulations.

New Demands of the Consumer

The need for personalised personal care products rose exponentially while the coronavirus pandemic is going on because the consumers began to understand the need for products that shall work specifically for their skincare and haircare challenges instead of providing an overall vague benefit.

On the other hand, new requirements rose in the market for issues related to personal protective equipment usage. With the rise in skin sensitivity issues, continuing mask mandates, and excessive use of harsh active ingredients and exfoliants, there is a rapid shift towards a focus on repairing, protecting, and strengthening the microbiome to protect and enhance skin health.

In the past few years, consumer inclination has been towards clean formulations and now the space in the incomplete sustainability puzzle has been conveniently filled with microbiome-friendly products. With ingredient and end-product manufacturers constantly upping their activities in the microbiome space, we can expect the overall industry to steadily start depending on microbiome friendly ingredients.

Moving further, a specified focus on the microbiome wellbeing should definitely be part of both personal care ingredient manufacturers and end product formulators’ holistic approach towards their development strategies of overall skin and hair health products, so as to ensure a positive presence of their brand in the market.


  1. Synbiotic Polymine Shampoo by Venn, with a proprietary combination of probiotics and prebiotics and polyamine from soybeans
  2. Advanced Génifìque by Lancôme, anti-ageing serum with seven prebiotics and probiotic fractions
  3. Three new grades of Hya-Act hyaluronic acid by DSM that are certified microbiome-friendly
  4. Mangix by Givaudan, microbiome-friendly cosmetic ingredient targeting oily skin through sebum regulation
  5. GSK & Eligo Biosciences collaborate on a £185mn microbiome deal to precisely understand the composition of the skin’s microbiome

Share this post with:


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *