How to market skin microbiome care: 'The more I advance, the less I talk about the microbiome'

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Beauty from within Skin microbiome

A skin care expert who founded the first microbiome-focused skin care brand Gallinée would love to get stuck on the scientific backing of her probiotic products, but the consumer understanding just isn't there yet.

Marie Drago, founder of the French beauty brand, which has been selling topical and ingestible skin microbiome focused solutions for the last eight years, shared insights into this fast evolving market during NutraIngredients' Probiota conference in Milan earlier this month.

She revealed that around 10% of microbiome research is conducted on skin. Looking at PubMed, articles on the gut-brain axis hit more than 1,500 publications last year, compared to just 41 on the gut-skin axis.

“I think it’s kind of a shame because the skin microbiome has a big advantage compared to the gut microbiome in that it is right there—you can see it and see how you can affect it with therapies more easily...

“It’s due to the fact the importance is not considered the same when you talk about ‘health’, and a lot more money is being invested in the gut-brain."

But commercial interest is definitely growing with an awareness of the importance of 'gentle' skin care routines to protect the skin's bacteria and far fewer antibacterial solutions on the market.

And Drago noted the product cycle is quite fast in the beauty industry, so products are already on the market which have been tested to have an impact on the gut-skin axis.

“Beauty manufacturers are always looking for ‘newness’ and something with a story," she said.

Fuzzy understanding

Health claims in this area are very restricted, however, making it difficult for brands to explain the benefits of the products and how they work to consumers.

"As a business owner and someone who does the marketing for the product, the consumer’s understanding of what is a pro, a pre or a postbiotic is fuzzy at best—they don’t really see the difference," Drago said. "I’ve been selling these products for the last eight years now, and the more I advance, the less I talk about the microbiome. We talk about the results and what we can achieve for people.

"As someone who loves the science of the microbiome, that’s something that’s a bit disappointing for me as I really want to see it pronounced more on the product but, to be honest, the consumer only cares about the effects on the skin."

Skin health trends

She said today's more 'holistic' view of beauty is very beneficial to this market, as is awareness that the less you put on your skin, the better for its health.

She revealed that modern skin problems tend to revolve around inflammation and dry and sensitive skin, with eczema and acne prevalent and both impacted by barrier inflammation and overgrowth of specific bacteria.

However, ageing is the main ‘bulk of skincare’ sales, she said, and this is another area largely impacted by inflammation – which the brand refers to as ‘inflamageing’.

"The scalp is a really rising area in the skin microbiome because there is a trend for skinification of hair care and the more you treat your scalp the more you treat your hair,” Drago added. 

Another aspect of health that she said would likely become more popular is intimate hygiene, where there is increasing investment thanks to a growing interest in women’s health.

The brand sells a range of ingestible supplements with formulations including: Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactococcus lactis spp lactis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei ​and Lactobacillus helveticus ​alongside the prebiotic inulin, vitamins and minerals.

It has also developed one of the first skin microbiome tests which involves a skin patch that analyses the bacteria present in order to recommend an appropriate skincare routine.

Related topics Markets and Trends Nutricosmetics

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