The synergy between the skin and its individual network of commensal microflora is a trending topic and the market is quickly becoming saturated with different probiotic products targeted towards skin care.
However, there is a distinct conflict between the addition of live bacteria to a formulation, the legal requirements of a safely preserved cosmetic product and the subsequent effects on sensitive skin and the microbiome. With consumer and regulatory pressure changing how people seek to preserve products, not just in personal care but across many markets ranging from food to fertilisers, emerging ‘non-preservative’ technologies are taking centre stage.
In personal care, we use preservatives in order to prevent microbial contamination of a product during its foreseeable life in use by the end consumer. In Europe, we have a clearly defined list of permissible preservatives as described in Annex V of the EU Cosmetics Directive. These more traditional preservatives are highly effective and relatively easy to use. So, formulators have grown very comfortable with this list and can preserve a product without much adjustment or tinkering to the formulation. Although these systems are extremely effective at keeping a product clean and safe none are intelligent enough to distinguish between the ‘bad’ bacteria, that can contaminate a cosmetic product, and the ‘good’ bacteria, of the skin microbiome.
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