Microbiome popularity moves past skincare

Blog Microbiome popularity moves past skin health to include body and intimate personal care

https://cosmeticscientist.com and Cuross Bakhtiar

3/26/20243 min read

topless woman with brown hair
topless woman with brown hair

Products made to enhance the microbiome are on the rise, with an increasing awareness among consumers of its role in personal care.

According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, the microbiome is a community of microorganisms (such as fungi, bacteria and viruses) that exists in a particular environment. In humans, the term is often used to describe the microorganisms that live in or on a specific part of the body, like the skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Personal Care Insights speaks to MyMicrobiome and Croda International about what is trending and predicted in the future for microbiome care.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly fascinated by the world of microbiomes and their impact on skin health. This trend is fueled by a growing understanding of the importance of a balanced skin ecosystem for achieving healthy, radiant skin,” says Hanah Roberts, global VP of Strategic Marketing at Croda International.

Innova Market Insights data indicates a 68% average annual growth in product launches with microbiome claims from October 2018 to September 2023. More than two in three launches with microbiome claims were in Europe. Most of these launches were in the Sun Care category. Sunflower Seed Oil was the fastest-growing ingredient with microbiome benefits.

Trending microbiome care Roberts sees microbiome care spreading beyond skin care as the sector surges with microbiome-friendly formulas in hair, body, oral and intimate personal care products. She says this “offers vast opportunities for brands to explore new territory.”

Dr. Kristin Neumann, co-founder of MyMicrobiome.Dr. Kristin Neumann, the co-founder of MyMicrobiome, adds that there is a strong trend around the skinification of scalp care, including the healthy scalp microbiome, but the company recently released a new standard for the vaginal microbiome.

“Another big topic is women’s health [is the vaginal mirobiome]. The intimate care market shows significant growth, and we have responded to the demand for microbiome-friendly products with our new Vulvo-Vaginal Standard,” explains Neumann.

Designing for the vaginal microbiomeMyMicrobiome previously spoke to us about its Vulvo-Vaginal Standard 25.10, an assessment of products to test their safety on the vulva and vagina’s microbiome. The standard includes microorganisms that occur inside the vagina and in the external genital area, such as the labia.

The assessment is designed for creams, gels, intimate washes, lubricants, sanitary liners and diapers. Many products have a different pH level to the vagina and can alter its natural level, which is required to keep its microbiome healthy.

MyMicrobiome also recently launched a certification for textiles’ impact on the microbiome.

Microbiome-friendly frenzyCroda reports that consumers are gaining a deeper understanding of scalp health and body acne, which leads to a growing demand for microbiome-friendly formulas for specific areas — naming deodorants with prebiotics to combat odor as “a prime example.”

Microbiome-friendly makeup is also expanding.

“This is a nascent market with immense potential. Early adopters are launching tinted moisturizers, concealers and primers infused with pre- or probiotics, blurring the lines between skin care and makeup,” says Roberts.

She continues that consumers demand transparency regarding the “biotics” used in products.

“Brands are highlighting the distinctions between prebiotics (nourishing good bacteria), probiotics (live bacteria) and postbiotics (waste products of probiotics) to empower informed choices.”

Consumers driving interestRoberts believes today’s consumers are “more informed than ever,” seeking science-backed solutions and “understanding the delicate balance of the skin’s ecosystem.”

Consumers recognize the gut-skin connection With the growing focus on overall well-being. Microbiome-friendly products align with this holistic approach to beauty.The beauty industry is starting to incorporate microbiome-friendly ingredients into makeup.

Additionally, consumers are moving away from harsh chemicals and embracing gentler approaches to skin care as microbiome-friendly products prioritize supporting the skin’s natural defenses.

Ingesting probioticsThe global VP of Strategic Marketing at Croda witnesses a rise in routines combining topical microbiome-friendly products with ingestible prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut and skin health.

“While shelf life can be a challenge, there’s a growing interest in live probiotics. Research into innovative packaging and delivery systems could pave the way for more live options,” says Roberts.

Present predicting futureFurthermore, Croda says the future of microbiome skin care lies in bespoke solutions.

“Imagine analyzing your individual skin microbiome at home and creating a personalized skin care routine. For instance, Sequential Skin is pioneering this exciting space,” highlights Roberts.

“We are currently seeing a movement in the industry toward products becoming microbiome-friendly from the development of the formulation. This should be the focus for the next [few] years,” adds Neumann.

“After that, with evolving technology, everything is possible. Customized skin care for the specific microbiome would be a dream come true. However, for this, we must learn a lot more and create a lot more meaningful data.”