It is becoming increasingly evident that scientific research to expand our understanding of the skin microbiome is the most important event that has happened to the beauty industry in a very long time. The implications of skin microbiome research will have far-reaching consequences and it is already under way. While the science and applications of skin microbiome has mainly had upstream demand, we are now witnessing downstream demand for the applications of skin microbiome research. All brands and market players further downstream will need to learn how to incorporate the science of the skin microbiome into their product offerings.
What is driving this development?
Firstly, understanding the science of the skin microbiome plays an essential role in the development of truly effective skincare. Researchers have uncovered the fundamental role that the skin microbiome plays in skin health. If brands wish to remain competitive about product development, this is an area of science that should not be neglected when making decisions about formulation. Apart from the scientific implications, the concept of the skin microbiome resonates with modern consumers and it is highly compelling from a storytelling perspective. End consumers no longer associate beauty with the short-term fixes of some skincare products but rather from the standpoint of a long-term investment in achieving lastingly healthy skin. Healthy skin is equated with both health and beauty, and the microbiome is our most important ally in preserving a healthy skin.
Secondly, downstream market players, such as B2C skincare brands, are becoming increasingly curious about new scientific and product development pathways. Scientific evidence to back claims is one of various levers that brands can pull to improve their offering and storytelling. In an ever-more crowded marketplace, brands are opening up to new science and concept explorations as a way to differentiate and evolve. The skin microbiome is a new lever that is growing in importance in a climate where both consumers and investors are demanding scientific evidence to back claims of efficacy.
Thirdly, the skin microbiome is concept- and legacy-neutral. Essentially, skin microbiome claims can be dropped in into a brand’s current offerings and branding, and retroactively fitted to current products. Similar to the concept of vegan ingredients, “skin microbiome gentleness” is a concept that may be applied to any product that fulfils that criteria, and it is not limited solely to brands or products that have the skin microbiome as their main articulated focus. On the contrary, brands that are positioned as natural, clean, etc. can further develop their offerings to include formulations that are gentle to the skin microbiome. Hence, skin microbiome gentleness is a feature which works well with most brands regardless of their concept legacy and communications strategy. Skin microbiome gentleness can be added as an underlying communication point, without conflicting with other concept points. The adoption of the skin microbiome as a product feature is frictionless.
The beauty industry is reaching a point of no return wherein the skin microbiome will be a new baseline standard for the entire industry. The only question is how quickly this transition to skin microbiome-gentleness will occur in the next five years. With a significant portion of the industry comprising of young, dynamic independent brands, the transition will likely be rapid. Beauty brands must be ready to meet the growing consumer demand for microbiome-gentle products.