CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com spoke with Richard Martin, Head of New Technologies Pole Biotechnology at the French firm, who says that with bacteria constantly adapting to changing environments, this increases the importance of microbiota, in an ‘endless war.’
“We know that we cannot live without bacteria,” he tells us. “Our microbiota is our second skin. It educates our immune system, exchanges nutrients with the skin, and stops any development of foreign microorganisms.”
“If you want to have a beautiful garden, you must take care of its soil: the same is true of our skin. As gardeners do, we can add nutrients, oligo elements and hydration, for example.”
Richard explains that a lot of research goes on at L’Oréal into skin microbiota to help develop products that target skin health by improving, maintaining, or protecting it.
These products can help skin to regulate or change its global microbiota balance; which is what has been done for decades with Vitreoscilla filiformis - a bacteria from the environment that ‘wakes up’ skin defence.
Skin microbiota understanding
When discussing skin microbiota and its different types, Martin compares it to an astronomer looking at the earth from the moon as an example, as they can see mountains, forests, deserts and oceans: just four different biotypes.
“From a bacterial point of view, our body is also a planet with rain forests like armpits or deserts like forearms. This global picture shows that we are all the same when it comes to global biotopes. We understand that the microorganisms living on those biotopes are different,” he explains.
“However, if you look at the earth closely with a powerful telescope, you can see that each part of our planet is actually different. The same is true of our bodies: each of us is unique.”
This highlights that there are big differences between each person’s skin and different skin conditions, based on physiological make-up but also how it is treated.
Using another example from the earth, Richard draws comparisons between the ground and skin to explain why there are such big differences between each skin’s microbiota, particularly when speaking about the microflora of the skin.
He says that in the same way that the composition of the ground (pH, climate, etc.) can affect how plants are cultivated, both good and bad, the same can be said of the skin.
“Our skin is the result of our genetics, our diet, our lifestyle and the climate we live in,” continues Richard.
“Each of us has a unique skin and the microflora living on it is a unique finger print. Richer than our genome in terms of diversity, it could even be a new tool for police to use in investigations, for example.”
Richard Martin is speaking on the skin microbiome at a Workshop at the upcoming in-cosmetics event in Paris on Tuesday 12 April from 2pm to 5pm.