The Microbiome of the skin - New avenues of research

The Microbiome of the skin - New avenues of research

17 April 2018, 14:00 - 17:30

Workshop Room G102 - G103

14:00 - 14:20     Introduction - A short literature review of the most recent science in skin flora
Dr. Karl Lintner, President, KAL'IDEES

Interest in the microbial flora on the human skin is a relatively recent topic of research, especially with respects to its effects on appearances and “beauty” aspects. While diseases such as acne and psoriasis and eczema are closely connected to  microbial disturbances to the microflora, more sophisticated technologies (genomic screening) allow scientists to study the complexities of  microbial equilibrium, individual differences, influences of cosmetic products (good and bad) and potential ways to modulate these with appropriate treatment. A review of the scientific background is proposed.

14:20 - 14:50     Skin microbiote: Variability and new perspectives
Marc Feuilloley, University of Rouen Normandy

The skin microbiote is essential in skin homeostasis. However, as an interface with the environment, it is affected by both external (pollutants, cosmetics, …) and skin internal factors (anti-microbial peptides, neurohormones, …) which modulate its aggressivity and contribute to its variability. The puzzling question of this variability also results from our still incomplete knowledge of its composition. Cultural techniques give access to a maximum of 1% of the real skin microbiote. In contrast, metagenomic approaches over estimate this microbial population and lives us in the ignorance of its physiological activity. Metatranscriptomic techniques, still under development, should provide a more realistic vision of this microbiote, but the final target is to culture “uncultivable” microorganisms.

In this talk we will review some of the more recent data on the interactions of the skin microbiote with its host and environment, and evoke new promising techniques to give access to this essential partner for cosmetic development.

14:50 - 15:15     The Microbiome: Paradoxes and new insights from the market
Dr. Barbara Brockway, Director of Personal Care, AppliedDNA Sciences

Without a doubt the microbiome is much more than a fashionable trend. Discoveries relating to human health, are headlining in newspapers and driving interest beyond pre- & probiotics. As a result, the familiar global probiotics market is expected to reach $66 billion by 2024 and the new human microbiome market is anticipated to grow to $899 Million by 2025. The rapidly expanding number of research publications, which were a mere 35 indexed in PubMed in 1996 and had increased to over 7,000 articles by 2016, are revealing an increasing amount of promising information for the personal care industry to adopt and adapt for its needs.

Today the most valuable insights are coming from research into the gut microbiome, however this is expected to change as more papers on the skin and scalp microbiome begin to be published. The immediate questions needing answers include...

  • How is the skin microbiota affected by preservatives in our products?
  • Should we be adjusting the way we preserve products to be more sympathetic to the microbiota? Are there benefits in including live microbes personal care products?
  • If live microbes are allowed then how can the product pass challenge?
  • With the emerging technologies changing microbiology by replacing the need for many culture techniques, should the industry now be re-visiting the challenge test with the aim of making it more relevant?
  • As skin microbiota seem to follows ecological rules, will products claiming to reduce the 'bad' bugs and/or feeding the 'good' bugs result in a damaging imbalance? 

Before claims of restoring a healthy Microbiome can be made, it is important to establish what is understood by a healthy microbiome.

 Despite the many taboos many consumers have against thinking and talking about the communities of microbes living in an on us, the microbiome is an exciting area for the cosmetic industry and it is likely to yield a new generation of efficacious products.

15:15 - 15:40     How to support the biodiversity of our planet skin?
Pierre Yves Morvan, R&D Director, CODIF

Interested in the effect of a stressful life on human skin microbiota, and more especially on skin bacteria, we studied the skin microbiota from the face of 70 healthy human subjects, selected according to their stress level, using a validated stress score evaluation (PSS). We also evaluated the skin parameters in the 2 groups, such as skin pH, imperfection and redness. Then, we tested the effect of a topical treatment on the skin microflora of one group of 30 volunteers with high stress index (PSS>27). We sampled using one calibrated method of collection on cheeks (4 cm² per sample). Then, to determine the complexity and identity of the microbiota inhabiting the skin, we sequenced bacterial 16S small-subunit ribosomal RNA genes isolated from the face of all these 70 healthy human subjects.

Our analysis revealed the operational taxonomic units (OTUs; “phylotypes”) that belong to six main bacterial divisions. I will describe the main characteristics of the skin microbiota (species and number) on the stressed group compared with unstressed group. We showed a “bacterial signature” of the stressed people compared to unstressed people, in term of richness and diversity. Then I will present the effects of the treatment on the skin microbiota of stressed group, before and after 8 days of treatment, and improvement of skin parameters.

15:40 - 16:05     Coffee and networking break

16:05 - 16:30     Methods and results in 3D skin biopsies
Dr. Giuseppe Percoco, Research Engineer, BIO-EC

The term “cutaneous microbiota” refers to all the microorganisms which colonize our skin. The heterogeneity of the skin, including its structure, its composition and its physical and chemical properties induces a biological response of the cutaneous microflora: qualitative and quantitative differences of skin microbiota have been described according to the body site analyzed. Other factors, including the age or differences in hygiene can affect the bacterial composition of the skin. 

The spectacular increase of research projects focused on the cutaneous microflora have contributed to elucidate its role in maintaining a healthy skin state and in parallel new perspectives of innovation in the cosmetic field has been created. Nowadays, different models including cell culture, reconstructed human epidermis or human skin explants ex-vivo are used in order to characterize the interaction between skin cells and the cutaneous microbiota. 

The aim of this work is to describe the use of human living skin explant model for the development of claim substantiation methods allowing the characterization the activity of active molecules/end-products able to favour a healthy microbial balance in the “skin-microbiota” ecosystem.

16:30 - 16:55     Recent advances and new strategies to substantiate microbiota-related cosmetic claims
Dr. Boris Vogelgesang, BASF

Until recently, microbiota was considered a medical matter. Dermatological research had mainly concentrated its efforts on skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis and therapeutic strategies were mainly driven by anti-bacterial solutions. But recent studies, backed by improved methods and tools with higher sensitivity have unveiled the unexpected complexity of skin microflora. Consumer awareness and expectations also have dramatically increased. Cosmetic science has no choice but to integrate new data and knowledge into product developments. In vitro models used to sustain cosmetic claims should now reflect the complexity of skin microflora and skin ecosystem to help design more specific solutions adapted to each and every skin condition. Likewise, clinical studies should take into account the consequences that may affect, or may be mediated by, the skin microbiota.

16:55 - 17:20     The armpit microbiota – a complex target for deodorants
Rainer Simmering, Senior Scientist, Henkel KGaA

The human skin is densely colonized by a diverse microbial community, which differs considerably between various sites of the body. Undoubtedly, the skin microorganisms fulfill several beneficial functions for their host. However, from a cosmetic point of view, skin microorganisms are also responsible for several negatively perceived skin phenomena, such as impure skin or body odor. Since long, it is well known that composition and activity of the microbial community of the human axilla play a key role in the formation of body odor. A complex mixture of several classes of compounds, among them steroids, carboxylic acids and volatile sulfur compounds causes body odor. In several cases, these malodorous compounds are excreted onto the skin as water-soluble, non-volatile precursors, from which the volatile parts are subsequently released by microbial enzyme activities. In this context, aminoacylase and cystathionine-ß-lyase probably represent the best-characterized malodor releasing microbial enzymes so far.

From the consumer´s point of view, human underarm perspiration and body odor formation are important topics. Hence, a better understanding of the composition and the activity of the human armpit microbiota is closely linked to a better understanding of the formation of human body odor.

The presentation will give an overview of the human armpit microbiota and their enzyme activities. Furthermore, it briefly discusses strategies and technologies to influence this microbial ecosystem to better support the development of innovative and more effective deodorants.

17:20 - 17:30     Wrap-up and discussion
Dr. Karl Lintner, President, KAL'IDEES



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  • Dr. Karl Lintner




    Dr. Karl LINTNER obtained a Degree in Chemical Engineering from Vienna University (Austria) and a PhD in Biochemistry from the same University. After...

  • Marc Feuilloley



    University of Rouen Normandy

    Dr. Marc G.J. Feuilloley realized his PhD and started his carrier in an INSERM unit working on physiology before turning to microbiology and joining...

  • Dr. Barbara Brockway


    Director of Personal Care

    AppliedDNA Sciences

    Barbara's background is in Applied Biochemistry. After completing an OND/HNC in Microbiology she studied at Kent University for both BSc Hons and PhD...

  • Pierre Yves Morvan


    R&D Director


    Dr Pierre-Yves MORVAN has a PhD in Biochemistry and Biology obtained in 1996 at the University of Rennes, France. He was study director for...

  • Dr. Giuseppe Percoco


    Research Engineer


    Giuseppe Percoco is since 2013 a research engineer and project leader at BIO-EC laboratory, a research center specialized in the development of tests...

  • Dr. Boris Vogelgesang


    Technical Key Account Manager Europe

    BASF Beauty Creations

    After graduating in Cell Biology and Physiology at the University of Lyon (France), Boris Vogelgesang qualified in Scientific and Technical...

  • Dr. Rainer Simmering


    Senior Scientist

    Henkel KGaA

    Dr. Rainer Simmering is a Senior Scientist in the Corporate Microbiology group of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA in Düsseldorf. After finalizing his study of...

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