Pre- and probiotics, yeasts, ferments… these ingredients have been emerging as the new cosmetics stars. Beauty is in full fermentation! After the success of fermented food (yoghurts, tea, rice, vinegar…) and the advent of the microbiome, they are now invading the world of skincare.
If they used to be unpopular, (good) bacteria have become the new darlings of the cosmetics industry, which feeds them with ‘fertilizers': pre- or probiotics (mainly sugars and fibres).
Bacteria with good intentions…
These ingredients of a special kind pamper our microbiome, a system which gathers all the micro-organisms living on and in the human body: an integral part of the skin's barrier function. That is where an extraordinary microbial activity takes place: our skin hosts over 500 different species of micro-organisms which reproduce every day. This invisible world cohabits in a unique balance specific to each individual.
Every microbiome is different and plays an essential role in preserving our skin's health. The less diverse the skin flora, the easier it is for pathologies to develop, in particular psoriasis, eczema, and acne. By forming a protective barrier against external aggressions, inflammations, infections, and certain diseases, in the long run, the microbiome could help the skin age better and better defend itself against anything that may damage it.
A balanced microbiome often results in the skin looking healthy and radiant and regenerating more easily. When it is damaged, it can have problems like a dry or sensitive skin, or imperfections.
Naturally, probiotics started to emerge in ‘dermatological' face care products for sensitive or acne-prone skins.
Laboratoires La Roche-Posay are among the first brands to have used them in France, taking inspiration from publications on the intestinal microbiota to develop Aqua Posae Filiformis, an active extracted from a bacterium cultivated with La Roche-Posay thermal spring water which can stimulate the growth of certain bacteria in the skin's bacterial flora. This active is contained in Syndet Lipikar AP+ (200 ml, €11 or 400 ml, €17), Baume Lipikar AP+ (200 ml, €14.65), and Lipikar Stick AP+ (15 ml, €13.90), an anti-scratch stick whose efficacy was proven in relieving eczema.
At first, pre- and probiotics were used sparingly… they are now ranked first in many new face creams lists of ingredients. Now, that's a real tidal wave!
They can be used to purify problem skins, help rebuild sensitive skins' barrier, or protect the skin from pollution. They can be found in cleansers, primers, day creams, masks, anti-pollution mists…
Lancôme had already added a new soothing probiotic to Advanced Génifique Sensitive (50 ml, €83): lactobacillus. The brand perseveres in 2018 with Génifique Masque Fondant Hydrogel (a hydrogel melting mask, €24 each, €43 for 4, as from January 22), which concentrates in only one sheet mask the equivalent in Bifidus extracts of a whole Advanced Génifique bottle!
On February 1st, Chanel will launch D-Pollution Essentiel Brume Protection Globale (48 g, €56), a protective mist containing a yeast extract taken from a cactus to stimulate natural skin defences.
Too Faced has also developed a mist (Hangover, Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray, 120 ml, €33.10, in Sephora stores).
Probiotics, the new cosmetics tic!
Absolution protects and restores the ecosystem on a daily basis, while regulating the skin's pH thanks to the prebiotics (BioEcolia® extract) contained in La Crème de Santé (50 ml, €38).
The latest Oh My Cream Skincare Émulsion Nettoyante (Cleansing Emulsion, 150 ml, €25) reinforces the skin flora with lactic ferments to help the skin fight against imperfections.
As from January, Fresh will offer a fermented black tea essence which acts as an anti-pollution, antioxidant shield (Black Tea Kombucha Essence for the face, 150 ml, €58).
Ren Skincare has been using alpha-glucans (good bacteria are crazy about this sugar) for quite long, including in their latest creation: Perfect Canvas (30 ml, €59). This new generation primer smooths the skin, while enhancing its flora's overall balance to guarantee the best protection against external aggressions.
Vichy reinforces the skin's barrier thanks to the bifidus derived from probiotics in the rich Slow Age cream for dry skins (50 ml, €31.20).
Whole ranges dedicated to ferments…
While Yun Probiotherapy has opened their first ‘pimple bar' in Antwerp, Belgium, and has been treating acne with a generous quantity of ‘good' probiotic bacteria, Novexpert has endowed most of their formulas with a ‘pro-flora' action. The whole Hydro-Biotic line based on magnesium was enriched in pre- and probiotics (lactobacillus, oligosaccharides) for a healthy and preserved skin flora.
Their latest creations include the 100% hydrolipidic film-friendly Hydro-Biotic Milky Cleanser (200 ml, €18.90), the Detox Mask with Creamy Pink Clay (75 ml, €14.90), and the Velvety Hydro-Biotic Cream (30 ml, €21.95 each).
Oh My Cream distributes the Aurelia Probiotic Skincare line fully dedicated to this issue, which ranges from cleansers to serums, including body care products (Miracle Cleanser, 120 ml, €55; Calming Botanical Essence, 50 ml, €58, etc.). The formulas combine cultivated probiotics (Bifida ferment lysate), lactose proteins (probiotic bifidoculture milk extract), and plants to fight against aging by reducing the skin's inflammation.
The brand even imagines very useful formulas for babies' and children's fragile skins (Comfort & Calm Rescue Cream Little Aurelia, 50 ml, €44).
We have kept the best for the end! Gallinée is a French-British brand founded by Marie Drago, who lives in London (but the products are made in France). The name is derived from her origins – she comes from the French region of Périgord – where you call hens ‘galline' or ‘gallinette' in the region's dialect. That is why the logo displays a small egg. As Marie explains with humour, ‘It is also a feminist joke. We have long been hearing of the French rooster abroad, now it is the hen!'
All products are formulated with the probiotic complex (alpha-glucan oligosaccharide derived from chicory roots or lactic acid, among others) to take care of the skin, but also pamper the good bacteria that live on it. They create a perfect environment for them, while inhibiting the bad bacteria. They are universal and can be used both to purify problem skins and help rebuild sensitive skins' barriers. The brand has developed the La Culture range comprising six face and body references (Ultra-Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser, 120 ml, €19.90; Hydrating Face Cream, 30 ml, €49.90; Face Mask & Scrub, 100 ml, €25.90; Body Milk, 200 ml, €39.90; Hand Cream, 50 ml, €16.90). And the funny Coffret des bactéries épanouies, a box ‘for bacteria in full bloom', contains the Foaming Facial Cleanser, 120 ml, the Hydrating Face Cream, 50 ml, and the Face Mask & Scrub, 50 ml, €69.90).
A great introduction to these new cosmetics!
Ariane Le Febvre© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques