Imagine the human microbiome as a planet with millions, and possibly billions, of microorganisms living in harmony to protect their host – our skin and scalp. Incredibly, one square centimetre of our skin, depending on the part of the body, could have that number of microbes living on it. We are in the early days of scientific research on the skin’s microbiome and its function in maintaining the health of our skin and body. How then is it possible to have cosmetics sporting labels that say their formulations are microbiome-friendly?
In this episode, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier dives into the mysterious and magical world of our skin’s microbiome. Her guest is Leo Salvi, a chemist, qualified safety assessor for cosmetics, and the Co-Founder and Head of Science at Kind to Biome® which provides a scientifically validated methodology to back up microbiome-gentle claims for beauty products. Will microbiome-friendly cosmetics be the next big industry trend? Listen in to discover and make your mind up.
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In this episode on the microbiome, you will hear:
- That the microbiome is an ensemble of millions of bacteria, fungi, mites and viruses that live on our skin, and in different clusters depending on the area of the body. Our foreheads, which are more sebaceous, have more flora, for instance, than drier areas of skin like our forearms.
- How next-generation genome sequencing has helped boost research into the human microbiome and advance our knowledge of these microorganisms, but we do not yet know what constitutes the “ideal” microbiome to have.
- That a healthy, natural microbiome does help combat skin issues, and that in its healthy state, the microbiome is your best friend.
- The term microbiome friendly – or gentle – means that a cosmetic product does not interfere with the natural health of the microbiome. It is possible to verify this claim through scientific testing protocols such as those that Kind to Biome® carries out.
Key takeouts include:
- You might think that not using cosmetics at all would be the best way to maintain a healthy microbiome. However, cosmetics play numerous valuable roles in our skincare, such as protecting the skin from excess UV rays, moisturising and hydrating, and so on.
- There are challenges in formulating microbiome-gentle cosmetics. Foremost among which is the use of a preservation system that prevents the growth of bacteria, fungi and moulds in our cosmetics and is therefore applied to the skin and its microbiome.
- Essential oils also have antimicrobial properties, and certain core cosmetic ingredients like surfactants and emulsifiers may also damage a healthy skin microbiome.
- Kind to Biome® would like to see microbiome claims become the norm – a baseline standard – across the cosmetics industry to ensure all personal care products are formulated at the very least to protect the microbiome, which in turn is critical to skin barrier function.
Meet our guest: Leo Salvi
Leo Salvi is co-founder and head of science at Kind to Biome®, an entity that provides the skin microbiome-gentle seal of quality for all types of personal care products. It was founded in 2022 with the objective of making all personal care products skin microbiome-gentle within the next five years. He holds a master’s degree in Chemistry (MChem) from Durham University and subsequently held a role in pharmaceutical quality control. Before founding Kind to Biome®, Leo Salvi worked as a study design specialist for cosmetic product testing. He is also a qualified safety assessor for cosmetic products.
Find out more:
Kind to Biome® is offering a 10% discount on testing for any companies that come through this podcast. Just put “Formula Botanica” in the subject line of your email.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.