The Truth About Microbiome Skincare and the role of Pre-biotics and Pro-biotics
Everywhere I turn, the beauty chatter is about microbiome skincare. The idea being to proliferate good bacteria and go to war with bad bacteria. You may have heard about probiotic skincare? It feels urgent, almost scary and I am concerned that you are being fear-mongered, once again, into buying ridiculous claims from brands, beauty ‘experts’ and clever marketing tactics.
So, I asked the king-pins of cosmetic chemistry, formulation, skin biology and scientific research, to get to the truth. My noble aim is to help prevent the frenzied fear-mongering there was when parabens were announced as skin-villains! It’s since been discovered that the common replacements for parabens, MIT and CIT, are considered carcinogens. That was quickly followed by the ‘Free From’ brigade who plastered this statement all over packaging. This spawned the Free From Awards, which I decline to participate in even though we are free-from. Winners, are those that don’t contain a particular list of ingredients, despite that they may have plenty of other ingredients that are considered to irritate the skin. I am anti-'Free From' Statements only because, as planned, a customer thinks the product is effective because of what it does not contain and often forgets to ask, what does it contain, that delivers on your product claims? e.g A 'Free From' anti-wrinkle cream reduces wrinkles, not because it does not contain parabens, but because it has active ingredients that do reduce wrinkles.
Back to macrobiotics and some facts:
• Currently, cosmetic scientists truly know the significance of only approximately 1% of the above.
• 'The notion of 'good bacteria' vs. 'bad bacteria is far too simplistic and should not be seen as the target of skincare', says Professor Karl Lintner. It's certainly not been proven if proliferating good bacteria, does reduce bad bacteria.
• It is not currently known which organisms actually serve a purpose on, and to, the health of the skin
• It is not currently known if there is an optimum balance between the various species of bacteria and if we artificially create an imbalance, what the consequences might be.
• The idea of pro-biotic skincare, is to actually include bugs/germs/bacteria into the product. Thing is, we legally have to do challenge tests on products to make sure that no bugs are growing in the creams we sell you. So, how is that going to work? Thus, most brands that claim to be pro-biotic are actually including pre-biotic ingredients. Altogether different (see below).
• In the USA, someone has launched a facial spray that literally puts bugs on your skin but then their safety legislation is more lax than ours and honestly… Eeeeew!
The research on skin’s microbiome and macrobiotic skincare and ingredients, started in the 1990’s and we’re still another 10 years off achieving a full understanding by current estimates. Even then, it might throw up more questions than answers.
The above is the reason why I have not launched such a probiotic product… Yet. However, one of our esteemed scientists reminded me that we launched this brand using pre-biotics, which are ‘food’ for good bacteria. Thus it supports the health of the good bacteria on our skin. Iconic Youth Serum™ contains yeast based Biodynes TRF, which has been clinically tested to improve skin soothing and skin immunity. We are not a trendy brand but when it comes to common sense and integrity, we win, every time!