Space-age SPF: Delavie on how they developed an SPF booster with space-tested bacteria

By Ravyn Cullor

- Last updated on GMT

The bacteria used to create this SPF booster was tested on the ISS and found to have promise in improving UV protection in cosmetics products. © Getty Images - gremlin
The bacteria used to create this SPF booster was tested on the ISS and found to have promise in improving UV protection in cosmetics products. © Getty Images - gremlin

Related tags Spf spf boosting Sun care Sun protection UV protection Skin care

Ingredient supplier Delavie has created a SPF booster from bacteria tested at the International Space Station. CosmeticsDesign spoke with Delavie President Kyle Landry about the development of the ingredient, which is still undergoing safety testing.

Can you tell me about the ingredient?

It's a bacterial lysate. The ingredient was developed from research projects that were done aboard the International Space Station. The research basically demonstrated that an organism could survive outside of the space station for 18 months when exposed to space conditions. 

The actual UV absorption profile was very exciting for us because we looked at it as a potential SPF booster. We took that organism into our lab and we worked on it for a year and a half.

We were able to develop Bacillus Lysate, which is a product that was derived from the organism that survived outside of the space station. It's patent-protected, we have exclusive rights to it.

What's the benefit of this ingredient over similar ingredients that haven't been spaced tested?

There's a lot of scrutiny right now around the current UV filters. If you do a quick Google search on it, you'll find there's a lot of press on currently approved UV filters and any potential negative environmental or health implications associated with them. 

We were looking for an alternative way to give this SPF protection to consumers without those negative attributes. If you look in the SPF booster realm, a lot of things like color, texture, feel, compatibility, are just not there for some of the SPF boosters that are available. 

This product is interesting because it's not pigmented, it's not orange, it's not green. It's not like what you see from plant extracts. It's a bacterial lysate product and it's beneficial in terms of a post biotic.

It’s an antioxidant, it's not just an SPF booster, and we're currently looking at other activities that are associated with it so we could show the depth and breadth of its activity,

What else do formulators need to know about this product?

If they've ever worked with any type of lysate, or fermentation product in the past, it would be very familiar to them. It does have some particulates in it, which is always something to keep in mind when you're formulating. 

This is actually the first biological product ever certified by the Space Foundation as certified space technology. It's a pretty big deal for them because they've certified Tempurpedic mattresses and polarized lenses and things of that nature and the material science aspect, but never any biological ingredients. That is also very exciting for that marketing angle. 

In the data, we're getting significant boosting in the single percentile. Between 1-7% depending on the formulation, we're showing boosting well over 20%.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the value of ingredient testing and development in space?

There's a group called CASIS and the whole mission for that unit is to take advantage of our position in space to benefit human life on Earth. The use of space technology or the space program to develop new drugs or new ingredients is enticing because you can simulate those conditions on Earth.

There's a lot of data out there, at least in the pharmaceutical realm, that shows that exposing things to lower earth orbit allows organisms to produce things that aren't normally produced here on Earth. 

The CASIS program is available to help develop new technologies that wouldn't be able to develop here. Working with these agencies has allowed us to make creative and novel ingredients that no one else can.

What kind of products do you see your ingredient going into?

Right off the bat, because of the SPF boosting capability, it can be added to sunscreens, can be added to lotions, anything that is advertised as a sun protection factor, with the goal to help reduce the number of harmful ingredients needed in the formulation. 

But it's also shown to be an antioxidant and have other benefits associated with it. It could be used in any other product that needs or would like to have those properties.

What else do professionals in personal care need to know about this ingredient?

It's just one of many that we're developing with really cool novel stories. This ingredient was originally designed for SPF boosting, but we're going to leverage all we can out of it to make a safe and effective ingredient that both consumers and formulators want in their products.

Related topics Formulation & Science Skin Care

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