Microbiome Movement | Skin Health and Dermatology | Congress report

The 4th Microbiome Movement – Skin Health & Dermatology Summit took place online from 3 to 5 August.
Table of Contents

Setting the Stage for a Successful Launch Into the Microbiome Space

The 4th Microbiome Movement – Skin Health & Dermatology Summit took place online from 3 to 5 August. Guests and speakers from all over the world discussed for three days the latest news in the field of characterization and modulation of the skin microbiome.

The first day of the congress was dedicated to the discussion on how consumers perceive bacteria, what the characteristics and dimensions of the “microbiome market” can be, such as the strategies of companies to create a solid brand in this market.

It emerged that still, and perhaps even more so from the pandemic, the information that consumers receive (from advertising, social networks, search engines, etc.) on bacteria is mostly linked to their negative aspects. Even the current rules for cosmetic companies are linked to the need to prevent the presence of “harmful bacteria” in the products and the “antibacterial” or “antimicorbic” claims are still very much in vogue, although the FDA has banned the use of certain antibacterials in daily hygiene products. However, there is interest on the part of the public with respect to the microbiota including the skin and, recently, also towards the “microbiome skincare”.

One of the problems is that this “science” arrived on the market very early, before the data were sufficiently clear, risking a lot of confusion among consumers and exposing researchers and companies to the risk of making a bad impression every time the data shows new evidence.

It emerged in fact that the topic, the definitions, the claims are extremely complicated (and confusing) and this can send away the most superficial consumer from the desire to investigate. We need to clarify and “demystify” the complexity of the issue. Control bodies must clearly establish whether probiotics (and all their “derivatives”) should be considered as drugs, supplements, food ingredients, or other, arrive at clear and unambiguous definitions of what they are pre- and post-biotic, define the criteria for being able to vindicate a health-related claim.

Undoubtedly, the main needs of consumers concern three specific areas: sensitive skin, eczema and acne, and almost all the conference reports have focused on these issues. It was also highlighted how widespread the desire of patients to share their experiences and their problems is and how essential it is to listen to them, since many of the effects of the products were studied only after patients had reported them.

One of the considerations that emerged is that before even bothering to include pre- pro- or postbiotics in cosmetics, it is necessary to evaluate the impact of all the other ingredients (“All the ingredients matter” says Elsa Jungman, Founder & Chief Executive Officer – Dr. Elsa Jungman) on the balance of the microbiota and arrive at a “microbiome friendly” cosmetics or at least free of ingredients that can interfere with the microbiota.

Finally, someone also said “It is not so important that the final consumer “understands” how the microbiota works. The important thing is that we understand it and that we make a product that works. Consumers don’t know how cell phones work, but they buy them and use them anyway! “