An accessible and scientifically validated study protocol.

The cosmetics market has been seeing a steady increase in the last decades. In parallel there has been a steady increase of cases of dermatitis and other skin conditions. The forefront of scientific research over the last few years has been on examining the correlation between our skincare routine and the effects on our skin’s microbiome. KIND TO BIOME has joined the scientific community in this mission, by offering an accessible and scientifically validated study protocol, to drive product development and raw material selection towards a microbiome-friendly skincare future. 

In vivo microbiome study protocols can cost tens of thousands of euros making their rapid and wide-scale implementation by the cosmetic industry very difficult. By offering an in vitro alternative that has been validated against in vivo studies we aim to speed up the adoption of microbiome-friendly driven formulations. 

In vitro studies are fast, replicable and sensitive.

“At KIND TO BIOME we believe that skin microbiome-gentleness can and should be a baseline standard for all skincare products regardless of their brand concept.”

— David Hjalmarsson, Business Developer

“Microbiome gentleness is not only reserved for products formulated with pre-, pro- and post-biotics. It is mainly about striking the right balance between product preservation and minimal disruption to our skin’s co-inhabitants.’’

— Leo Salvi, Head of Science

Kind to Biome

Different protocols for different products

The in vitro microbiome-gentle protocol has been scientifically designed to include flora that represents the majority of the microorganisms that populate a specific body area. According to the mode of use and area of application of each cosmetic product a separate study protocol is implemented by choosing the appropriate panel of microorganisms and studying their interaction with the product.

We offer protocols that cover different product types as shown below:

  • Face
  • Body
  • Scalp
  • Foot
  • Baby's skin
  • Forehead and other Sebaceous areas
  • Armpit and other moist skin areas
  • Hand (volar fore arm) and other dry areas
  • Intimate area
  • Nasal cavity
  • Oral
  • Palm of hand

Four phases are implemented to assess the microbiome-gentleness of products

Phase 1
Microbiological purity

Similarly to when a challenge test is conducted, the product’s microbiological purity has to be verified before proceeding to testing. A microbiological test according to ISO 17516:2014 will be performed, including: Enumeration of Total Aerobic Microbial Count (TAMC), Total Yeasts Molds Count
(TYMC), detection of the specified micro-organisms: Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. Passing this phase means being able to proceed to the subsequent phases of testing.

Phase 2
Influence on our natural flora

In this second phase the product under testing is brought in contact with a panel of microorganisms representing the majority of the natural flora of the specific area of application. The product should not disrupt the composition and population of the natural flora and should maintain the healthy microbiome. This is tested against control samples.

Phase 3
Influence on the pathogenic flora

During the third phase of testing the product is brought in contact with a panel of microorganisms representing the pathogenic flora possibly present in a specific area of application. This gives valuable informationabout the action of a product against pathogenic microflora.

Phase 4
The balance of our microbiome

The final phase of the protocol is also the most crucial one. Here we examine the product’s influence on the total microflora of the skin. The product is brought into contact with swabs from certified volunteers testing therefore the product’s influence on the actual relative populations of our microorganisms. This is tested against control samples.

Phase 4 is an x-vivo approach which closely correlates the in vitro with in vivo studies. Our microbiome is something that grows in the years together with us, therefore assessing the product’s influence not only on ‘’lab-grown’’ bacteria but also on our actual microflora provides an extra step for ensuring the correlation of in vitro with in vivo studies.


When the in vitro microbiome-gentleness test has been completed successfully, companies will be awarded the KIND TO BIOME seal, which is synonymous with a product that is kind to the skin microbiome.

Supporting claims such as:

  • Skin microbiome-gentle/Skin microbiome-friendly/Kind to Biome; i.e., does not disturb/interfere with the all-important skin microbiome.
  • Skin microbiome-gentle/Skin microbiome-friendly/Kind to Biome; i.e., respects the natural microbiome of healthy skin.
  • Skin microbiome-gentle/Skin microbiome-friendly/Kind to Biome; i.e., maintains the skin microbiome balance of healthy skin.
Interested in the KIND TO BIOME mark assuring skin microbiome-gentleness?
DISCLAIMER Nothing on this website is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. © Copyright Kind to Biome AB 2022