Skincare should be modelled on the bacteria’s natural mode of action
Hennigsdorf b. Berlin, 11 January 2022 – Many conventional creams and skincare products damage the skin microbiome, and this may in turn also harm the skin’s health. This emerged as a result of laboratory studies undertaken by BELANO medical AG in Hennigsdorf near Berlin. In addition, negative repercussions for a user’s general wellbeing and health are also possible.
The biotechnology company examined the microbiological behavior of more than 30 samples of creams and skincare products and found that many products hinder the growth of, or even kill off, healthy bacteria on the skin, e.g. Staphylococcus epidermidis. “These good bacteria, however, are tremendously important for our skin”, emphasizes Dr Christine Lang, professor of microbiology at Technical University Berlin and CSO at BELANO medical. “In these cases, skin creams can imbalance the microbiome, and in turn the healthy skin flora.”
Skincare should not be antibacterial
Dermatologists agree that the microbiome – i.e. the diverse community of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms on the skin – is crucial for a healthy skin. “Hence, there is an effort underway to make sure that, going forward, we focus far more on safeguarding that skincare or cosmetics protect and nurture the microbiome, i.e. bacterial diversity on the skin.”
During the Corona pandemic, but also in the preceding years and decades, worries about infection repeatedly drove demand for products which promise to clean and nourish the skin while simultaneously having a disinfecting or even antibacterial effect. “This approach, however, is wrong and will do more harm than good”, emphasizes Prof. Lang. In the long run, this effect and the resulting impairment of the microbiome could even favor allergies or skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis or aggravate symptoms.
“Most microorganisms on our skin are harmless”, Prof. Lang continues. “Their diversity is essential to a healthy skin flora, and hence for a healthy skin.” Good (commensal) bacteria formed a protective barrier against disease-causing (pathogen) bacteria. They could promote a more rapid healing of injured skin, and hinder the growth of tumor cells (white skin cancer) in the skin. At specialist trade fairs and conferences held in the last months, Prof. Lang has already called for cosmetics and skincare products to be more closely modelled on the microbiome’s natural mechanism of action with regard to their composition and mode of operation.
The best lotions made of bacteria
In recent years, many dermatological studies had already shown that in the case of illness or disease, patients often exhibit reduced bacterial diversity. “We see this with both skin and gastrointestinal diseases or digestive issues”, says Prof. Lang. As a rule, the respective microbiome – on the skin, on mucous membranes, or in the gut – was in these cases found to be impaired. Some studies had already demonstrated that conditions were improved and symptoms reduced if patients took specific probiotics or (in the case gastrointestinal diseases) microbiotics, or applied microbiotic medical skincare. An interview with Professor Dr. Christine Lang concerning the skin bacteria’s mode of action and their role in skin health was published several years ago, it is available online at https://www.welt.de/print/welt_kompakt/print_lifestyle/article157962643/Die-besten- Cremes-entstehen-aus-Bakterien.html. In addition, Prof. Lang has in several lectures provided details on the laboratory testing of the skin creams and subsequent results, among others at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfcmasDbYRg&t=1s.