Unveiling Future Opportunities in Microbiome-Infused Personal Care – Euromonitor International

Research has revealed the connection between microbiome and skin health. Imbalanced skin microbiome can result in various skin issues, including acne, eczema and dryness. Incorporating the microbiome-infused concept in beauty and personal care products is poised to expand as consumers increasingly seek comprehensive wellbeing and transparency on ingredients. Here, we outline five opportunities in microbiome care, which are set to introduce fresh prospects within the industry.

“Microbiome-friendly” verification to flourish as an attempt to assure ingredient transparency

The first trend centres around the concept of “microbiome-friendly” products. Ingredients such as preservatives, alcohol and essential oils have the potential to harm the skin microbiome. Microbiome-friendly products are formulated with gentle ingredients and appropriate concentrations, to ensure that they don’t disrupt the skin microbiome while providing support.

“Verified microbiome-friendly” became a recognisable label for consumers seeking assurance as to the safety and transparency of ingredients. Representative verifiers include Kind To Biome, MyMicrobiome, and Labskin. According to Kind To Biome, there was a noticeable surge in interest from beauty brands for microbiome-friendly verification. David Koo Hjalmarsson, CEO of Kind To Biome, notes, “Skin care and hair care brands are eager to enter this burgeoning sector and are actively seeking novel ways to distinguish themselves from other microbiome-related claims amidst the competition.”

Retailers have also begun recognising “microbiome-friendly”. In May 2023, European beauty retailer Dover Street Parfums Market took a step by introducing specialised sections in France. These sections curate a collection of microbiome-friendly products, all approved by Kind To Biome, reflecting the growing importance of this trend.

Some Kind To Biome approved productsSource: The Nue Co; Duolab (L’Occitane Group); RMS Beauty

Technology innovations to tackle probiotic viability in skin care

Microbiome beauty brands emphasise using specific ingredients to restore a healthy microbiome, including prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics. Euromonitor International’s Product Claims and Positioning database reports a 78% increase in the number of products claiming to contain “probiotics” between 2019 and 2022 within beauty and personal care. Usually, non-living ingredients like probiotic lysates or ferments are added to deliver the benefits.

However, substantial technological challenges remain when attempting to include live probiotic bacteria in topical products. Leo Salvi, Head of Science at Kind To Biome, notes that the understanding of probiotics and their potential benefits on skin still needs further exploration. The industry eagerly anticipates innovations to overcome these technological hurdles, particularly in preserving the viability of probiotics. One promising development involves packaging companies exploring technologies like capsules to maintain probiotics’ vitality before topical application.Chart showing Number of SKUs with "Probiotic" Claim in Beauty and Personal Care

The synergy of supplements and skin care to maintain microbiome health

The introduction of microbiome-focused claims in the beauty sector has prompted exploration into concepts like the gut-skin axis and has led to the creation of products that combine probiotic supplements and skin care. Some microbiome brands have introduced products that combine probiotic supplements with skin care offerings.

The Nue Co, a health and beauty brand, has introduced a hydrated skin routine comprising three products. This routine includes a vegan gut microbiome supplement, a probiotic-infused face wash, and a probiotic moisturiser. This combination claims to enhance the skin’s barrier function, restore balance and provide nourishment. Larger beauty companies also embrace probiotic supplements into their product lines. In June 2023, Shiseido launched a probiotic powder as part of its renowned Ultimune hero product line. This probiotic powder is marketed as an “eatable serum”, emphasising its role in repairing the skin barrier from within.

Diagnosis and personalisation by understanding the individual skin microbiome

The skin’s microbiome is a distinctive feature that varies among individuals and changes over time due to the environment and food. The skin microbiome holds the potential to serve as a novel standard to offer insights into one’s skin condition, suggesting personalised recommendations.

In March 2023, Shiseido-owned Gallinée launched skin microbiome test kits. These kits enable the analysis of 20 types of skin bacteria diversity by simply applying a patch to the forehead for 10 seconds. Another player in the field, Hello Biome, introduced a microbiome testing kit under the brand of Dr Elsa Jungman. The testing kit allows consumers to collect a skin sample by easily swabbing. After the lab analyses the sample, the consumer receives a personalised report featuring personalised regime recommendations.

The advantage of microbiome tests lies in their non-invasive and low-cost nature, as they only require a swabbing on the skin’s surface. A microbiome test offers a more accessible means to gain insights into the personalised characteristics of the skin.

Dr EJ Products

Source: dr-ej.com  

Microbiome balance concept to expand to intimate, scalp and baby care products

Consumers have developed a heightened interest in approaching health more holistically with increasing blurring in wellness spaces, along with the skinification trend. As an essential indicator, the microbiome extends its influence beyond facial skin to encompass other facets of the body’s wellbeing, such as scalp, vaginal and baby care.

Living Proof, a professional hair care brand, launched a dry scalp treatment to restore the natural scalp microbiome, offering long-lasting scalp relief. For intimate care, using probiotic supplements has gained considerable traction as a nutritional approach to maintaining the natural balance in the vaginal region. The concept of microbiome balance can be harnessed across broader categories to develop novel products that cater to holistic health.

Future outlook: More investment expected in microbiome skin care

The emerging concept of microbiome care has spurred global companies to invest heavily in its potential. In December 2022, Beiersdorf acquired a majority stake in Belgian skin microbiome research company, S-Biomedic. Since 2020, L’Oréal has pursued a collaborative path by partnering first with biotech firm Micreos and, subsequently in 2022, with Korean original design manufacturer (ODM) COSMAX, with the goal of advancing microbiome research. As beauty consumers grow more interested in science-backed ingredients and formulations, momentum in microbiome skin care will likely accelerate further.

Read our report on World Market for Beauty and Personal Care for more analysis on the global industry trends.

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