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Probiotics can be included in topical beauty products
Considering how popular probiotics are in the food, beverage and supplement spaces, it’s no surprise that these healthy bacteria are becoming a popular beauty ingredient. Probiotic anti-aging cream, anyone? Sounds like the next frontier in beauty. But is it? Here we take a look at the reality of what could be a big boon, or bust, for beauty companies.
Intuitively, it makes sense that probiotics, active living organisms that can greatly benefit our body internally would offer some benefits to our body’s largest organ, the skin. If only it were so simple, says David Keller, VP of Scientific Operations for probiotic ingredient supplier Ganeden.
“There are a number of challenges to making an actual probiotic beauty product, and it is highly unlikely that any company will be able to produce and legally market any such product,” Keller says. Here are his 3 main reasons why this is the case:
- First off, you need to have a specific strain that has been shown to produce the claimed beauty benefit. This requires rigorous research.
- You then need data to ensure that this specific strain survives at adequate levels until the end of shelf life, and that it will grow on the skin after application. Dead bacteria are not probiotics! Most probiotics are susceptible to the rigors of manufacturing and shelf life, particularly in a topical cosmetic product and will not survive throughout the long room-temperature shelf life required of these products. Even spore forming bacteria that may survive - will not germinate on the skin to create cells that will have a benefit on the skin. To date, I am not aware of any strains that have been shown to meet these criteria that have been included in a beauty product.
- If you do happen to find a strain that fits the above criteria, there may be an FDA issue that would have to be addressed. A recent FDA warning letter states: “FDA’s guideline is that the Aerobic Plate Counts (APC) should not be greater than 500 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/g for eye area cosmetics and 1,000 CFU/g for all other products.” Considering that most probiotics require billions of CFU to be effective, if FDA applied this guideline it is highly unlikely that the low levels of allowable bacteria above would offer any probiotic activity or skincare benefit.
Based on all of the above challenges, while it is theoretically possible, it would be highly unlikely that you could find a strain that could meet these criteria.
The solution: probiotic-derived beauty ingredients
Topical beauty ingredients derived from probiotic technology can offer manufacturers benefits without the survival and other issues facing actual probiotics. Keller points to Ganeden’s ingredient Bonicel as a case in point, “Bonicel is not a probiotic, but rather a probiotic-derived ingredient. When probiotic bacteria grow, there are many beneficial by-products that are produced. This is true both when it grows in the body, and when grown in a fermenter. Ganeden has optimized the fermentation of its patented GanedenBC30 probiotic strain to produce these beneficial by-products for use in cosmetic products.
There are no live cells in Bonicel but rather metabolites from the original live probiotic bacteria that interact with the skin and offer clinically proven benefits such as:
- Improved skin hydration and elasticity
- Reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, roughness, pore size and redness.
The bottom line is: The definition of probiotics is clearly defined by the WHO: “Live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Research may ultimately find probiotic strains that thrive on the skin’s surface and provide a benefit – but until then, focus on ingredients, probiotic derived or otherwise, which have been shown to benefit users in actual clinical trials.
Be the hero in the skincare space by offering a product that actually performs. Contact Ganeden to find out more.