by Lisa Keilhofer

SkinBiotix® publishes its first successful study on human microbiome

Dr. Kristin Neumann and Cath O'Neill (SkinBiotix®) at the Microbiome Congress in Rotterdam, 2018.
Dr. Kristin Neumann and Cath O'Neill (SkinBiotix®) at the Microbiome Congress in Rotterdam, 2018.

Dr. Cath O’Neill, senior lecturer in Biochemistry at University of Manchester and CEO of the biotech company >>> SkinBiotix®, met with Dr. Kristin Neumann, founder of MyMicrobiome, at the Rotterdam Microbiome Congress in March 2018. With the two ladies being experts on skin microbiome, the meeting resulted in a profound in-depth interview on the current state of research on skin-microbiome. The field is being explored gradually, right now, and SkinBiotix had a pioneer role back from the beginning. It was as early as 2012, when the team around Cath O’Neill published studies on the effect of pro- and prebiotic treatments on the skin.

And again today, SkinBiotix is able to set a milestone in microbiome research: It recently released the first studies carried out directly on human skin (>>> study). In the following abstract, we take a closer look at the content and outcome of the study:

The study was carried out over 29 days on intact skin of 129 voluntary participants. It was aiming to show the effects on SkinBiotix on the skin barrier and prove the product’s tolerability. The findings could provide clear evidence for this assumption, none of the participants in the study had skin irritations of any kind.

Technical background for a better understanding

The indicator for effects on the skin barrier is the water diffusion rate of the cornea and is determined by so called >>> corneometry. Results are displayed in TEWL (transepidermal water loss), meaning the specific amount of water passing the epidermal layer per time unit (of human skin on this study; TEWL is, however, also used in plant studies). The measurement unit is g/m²/h or µg/mm²/h.

The active SkinBiotix is based on Lactobaccillus and Bifidobacteria lysates, meaning extracts of probiotic bacteria that can naturally be found in the human gut. Even though the skin is not the natural habitat of these bacteria, their lysates still showed positive effects on the skins physiology – in the laboratory. With the application of these lysates, the skin barrier is meant to be strengthened and the permeability against harmful toxins, molecules, and ions, is reduced. This reduced permeability results in lower infection rates and improved healing of wounds. Preceding lab tests proved these assumptions and now the study should show that they also apply for use on human skin.

How was the experiment designed?

The participants were split up in three groups. Group 1 applied the active on one leg, leaving the other untreated. Group 2 applied only the cream as carrier media to rule out that possible irritations resulted not directly from the active but from secondary substances in the cream. Also in this group, the second leg was left untreated. The comparison group 3 was asked to apply the active on the one leg and the carrier media without active on the other. The main goal in this group was to show that possible irritations might be due to overall sensitivity of a particular participant.

The TEWL was measured after 15 days in the middle of the test run and again after 29 days at the end of the test run.

The results showed great tolerance on the skin

As previously mentioned, none of the participants showed any skin irritations to the active. With the participants of under 50 years of age from group 1 and 3 using the active, a significantly increased skin hydration could be measured after 15 days, already. In comparison, the increase in skin hydration was only moderate with participants of groups 2 and 3 using only the cream. After concluding the test cycle, all participants of under 50 years of age, reached a similar hydration level. Younger skin seems to be able to react more quickly on the active than older skin.

Participants of over 60 years of age showed a slight decrease in skin hydration after the full 29 days cycle. There was no difference in TEWL and skin elasticity for other age groups.

To summarize, SkinBiotix can be rated a very well tolerated product. The effects differ slightly between the age groups. This finding can result either in adapted instructions for use or – as Cath O’Neill speculates – in a possible adapted formula for different age groups. The results meet the expectations that previous lab tests indicated, that is the active is enriching the protein level of the skin, showing a positive effect on the skin barrier.

Cath O’Neill is especially happy with the consistently positive feedback of the participants. A healthy skin barrier is difficult to be changed and that positive reactions were achieved is a good sign for potential applications for eczema or similar skin diseases.

We are looking forward to future publications of SkinBiotix and keep our fingers crossed for the further research on this exciting issue.

Lisa Keilhofer
Lisa Keilhofer

Lisa Keilhofer studied at the University of Regensburg. She works in internationalization and as a freelance editor.

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