Probiotics in skin care - what is your opinion? - Cosmetic Science Talk

Probiotics in skin care - what is your opinion?

Hi, this is my first post here and I am happy to have joined your corner! <span>:smile:</span> 
I have developed my own natural skin care in Norway and I have been using probiotic juices in some of the skin care products. I am not an educated chemist, I am self taught and passionate about skin care!

I recently got an email where another brand suggests that my probiotic juice is not any good and that they are actually the only brand in the world who has live, active bacteria in their products, because they use level 4 of probiotics. This was new info for me and I would like to know if you have heard of these levels of probiotics before?

The levels are as such:
Level 1: These products use the “broth” from a microbial soup. The microbes are grown on a substrate (think of this as a watery solution of microbial nutrients) and then the probiotic microbes are filtered off. The “broth” is the remaining solution (which has the products of the microbes in it.)
Level 2: These probiotic extracts are called lysates because the probiotic cells are ruptured – obviously killing them in the process. In this technique, the probiotics are again cultured in a nutrient-rich substrate but instead of filtering them off, the cells are broken so that their cell contents leak out before the mixture is filtered. This method results in an “extract” that contains the cytoplasm (cell contents) of probiotic microbes.
Level 3: In this technique, the microbes are kept whole but they are killed with heat. This process is called tyndallisation and here the culture of probiotics is heated to 60 °C and cooled again over three days. These probiotics can still dock onto skin cells but obviously can’t grow and divide to significantly alter the skin’s microbiome.
Level 4: This is the incorporation of live probiotic microbes in the final product. There are a number of difficulties in this process. Firstly, the use of a preservative system would kill the microbes, so the product needs to be preservative free. Secondly, it is exceedingly difficult to ensure that the probiotics are not killed during the production process. Thirdly, there are storage considerations for the final product … if the temperature drops too low, then the water in the probiotic cells will freeze and, because water expands when it freezes, the cell membrane of these cells will break and most of the cells will die. If the temperature rises above 40 °C, the enzymes in the live cells will start to denature and, again, most of the probiotics will die. 

The brand then claims that they have overcomed these challenges and that they are the only brand in the world to have active, live bacteria in their products that can live up to 2 years.

I would love to know your take and opinion about probiotics in skin care. Thank you so much for any comments :) 

Comments

  • edited April 11
    A very dangerous path you are going along.

    If a cosmetic product has the ability to maintain the life of its intentionally included micro-organisms it will also have the ability to similarly maintain the lives of any contaminant organisms. The consequences of that could be catastrophic. Even if your packaged product complies with your requirements of a mono-culture, as soon as it is opened there is a distinct danger, almost a certaintly, of contamination.

    Use the search facility (top, right) for more posts on this subject. Use the keyword probiotics
  • What is the name of the Brand that claims they are the only ones in the world to successfully incorporate live bacteria in a cosmetic product?
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • although they have Lactobacillus listed among their ingredients, it is only ever sold as dry, i.e. dead cultures (as far as I know), and it is not possible to sustain a live population of bacteria in a cosmetic product without severely compromising its safety

    even if they did have cultures which were live at the point of manufacture, there are a number of preservatives listed in their formulas, so these cultures would not survive for long 

    in short, they are either lying or severely mistaken
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Here's the INCI for their Serum:

    Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Isoamyl Laurate, Lactobacillus, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Vanillin, Gamma Decalactone

    What they are doing is including lyophilized (free dried) Lactobacillus in an anhydrous base.  Upon contact with the skin, the lyophilized Lactobacillus reconstitute.

    The "trick" in the marketing language is the statement about over 1 billion "live" bacteria ... technically, that is correct as the Lactobacillus will reconstitute upon contact with water.

    @Bill_Toge:  Lyophilized cell culture are not dead ... more like in suspended state ... once they come in contact with water, the bacteria will repopulate.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • edited April 11
    @MarkBroussard That is very interesting information. 

    In my own forumula I use fermented broccoli sprouts and also tomato, aloe vera, green tea etc. The process is that these ingredients is made into a juice (we use the whole fruit, also seeds and stilk and root if possible) and then mix this into a live probiotic bacteria ''soup''. this is stored on tanks that are temperature controlled. After 30 days this mix is used in the final product. Do you think that our bacteria in our mix survive or reconstitute when in contact with the skin? Is there a way to test this? I would like to have as good products as possible and also to be able to say that our probiotic juices are alive.
  • the other big question is that even if you do create a product which is microbiologically live for a substantial period of time, how would you convince European national authorities that your product is safe if they test it, find it full of live bacteria, and order a recall?
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • The 4 level classification system above sounds like something made up by the marketing department.
  • @marinam:

    I'll caution you that the only "safe" technique to incorporate bacteria into cosmetic products is to use lyophilized bacteria in an anhydrous matrix.  Anything other than that and you're courting trouble.  There is no reason to take that risk.

    To answer your question:  Any bacteria, when lyophilized, will reconstitute when it is rehydrated with water.

    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • Very, very dangerous!

    Extreme risk of something horrible (and costly in legal fees) resulting from this exercise.

    I strongly suggest that you give up with this and work on something more conventional and safer.
  • I agree with John.

    The potential for truly catastrophic levels of damage is immense. Moreover, if someone gets harmed by your product, the potential legal disaster could spill over onto everyone who works for you, who does business with you, and even onto anyone who's ever even given you advice.

    You could lose your business. In some places, you could even be convicted and sent to jail, as could your employees.

    The only thing worse than what you're doing would be to deliberately include deadly levels of poison into your products. I just don't have the words to tell you how bad this is. Are you taking any precautions at all to make sure that you're not introducing lethal levels of pathogens into your products?
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • edited April 12
    I have looked at these products. I had to go the South African site to obtain any ingredient information. Here, most offer a LOI and of those declared, all contain at least one conventional preservative - possibly not a commonly used one but a preservative nonetheless. There are one or two products which give no formula details on the website.

    This company has an excellent marketing division turning something quite ordinary into something quite magical.

  • "I am not an educated chemist, I am self taught and passionate about skin care!"

    This alone should discourage you from attempting this project.

    "I am not an educated Veterinarian, I am self taught and passionate about animals", yet my neighbors get angry if I try to spay or neuter their pets.
     

    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • @Microformulation no worries, i am in cooperation with an educated chemist that helps me with my ideas and formulations. I am very successful and will never quit, but i will make sure my products are safe. But thank you for caring enough to share your comment.
  • @Bobzchemist Thank you for your comment.
    To be honest, I really do not get why you are so worried about probiotic juices that are developed to be used in skin care? And yes, I do make sure that the end product is safe to use. 
  • @MarkBroussard Thank you for the advise. Appreciate it!
  • Because you're not selling probiotics, you're selling biotics. Living organisms in your products, And the potential for harm to customers is high. And harmed customers, wherever in the world they are, affect the industry I work in negatively, which then affects me.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • edited April 12
    I may have missed something but this makes no sense to me.
    1. Living bacteria in cosmetic products (good or bad) are forbidden in EU. 
    2. Tyndallisation is performed at 121 °C for 15 minutes (see wiki) and still not reliable
    3. Just add level 5 - make sure everything is dead - and your juice might be successful! ;)
  • In Belgium there are number of producers with live bacteria in the skin or surface care and cosmetics. I know of Chrisal who does everything from the industrial spray cleaners to feminine hygiene.

    As far as I understand the big problem is the bactericidal action of surfactants. Sodium lauryl and laureth sulphate kill the bacteria. Unless you have a solution, you need a surfactant to suspend the bacteria. And you need a lot of it. I have read that glycereth is milder, i guess you should just use the glycereth and be fine. The Chrisal is extremely thick but almost not oily - I would guess 10 to 15 weight % of surfactant and ten times less of bacteria.
    Bacteria is probably better than the typical vaginal soap - Lactacyd ( as the name says) is based on lactic acid. Imagine the lactic acid bacillus in Lactacyd. Just use enough lactic acid to have the right pH needed for vaginal care (acidic, but not too much) and let the bacteria produce it on the spot. 

    Does Lactacyd have any preservatives? I guess it is designed to kill the "bad" bacteria but it should not interfere with the "good" bacteria?

  • edited April 12
    @eisen cosmetic preservatives are not chemically sophisticated enough to tell the difference between 'good' and 'bad' bacteria; anything which is effective against Gram positive bacteria will prevent the growth of (or directly kill) Lactobacilli
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Interestingly, this company has been making a big deal about selling live bacteria. This is in the US though where we're a bit less restrictive than in the EU.

    https://shop.motherdirt.com/shop/
  • inci of chrisal soap : AQUA (WATER), SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, ACRYLATES/STEARETH-20, METHACRYLATE COPOLYMER, COCAMIDE DEA, PEG-6 CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC GLYCERIDES, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, FRAGRANCE, BACILLUS FERMENT, CI19140, CI61585
  • edited April 13
    A picky point perhaps but I feel obliged to give a correct explanation of Tyndallisation (referred above). It is not the heating to 121 °C for 15 minutes (that is the normal autoclaving procedure for aqueous products - which is very reliable. Dry products (instruments and suchlike) are sterilised at 150 °C for one hour dry heat.

    Reading further into the Wiki entry you will find the correct procedure for Tyndallisation:
    Tyndallization essentially consists of heating the substance to boiling point (or just a little below boiling point) and holding it there for 15 minutes, three days in succession. After each heating, the resting period will allow spores that have survived to germinate into bacterial cells; these cells will be killed by the next day's heating. During the resting periods the substance being sterilized is kept in a moist environment at a warm room temperature, conducive to germination of the spores. When the environment is favourable for bacteria, it is conducive to the germination of cells from spores, and spores do not form from cells in this environment




  • @David ;
    Does this mean that because the bacteria survive in Chrisal soap because there is no preservative? If I compare the ingredients of Lactacyd and Chrisal, if one gets rid of preservatives one could just add the yogurt bacteria? 

    This probiotic / prebiotic stuff realy interests me. It is a step further from just making an emulsion? Imagine the Chrisal variant for intimal care :).
  • @eisen, if you make this, and a customer gets hurt, you could go to jail. NOT a good idea. 
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • @eisen:

    The ingredient in Crisal Soap is Lactobacillus Ferment, not live bacteria ... it is the components of the bacterial cell wall that have been sonicated to release the contents and then, most likely, any remaining solids are filtered off.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • @David living bacteria in cosmetic products are not actually forbidden, but there is a well-defined COLIPA standard for microbial quality, and enforcement agencies over here crack down on bacteria- or fungus-blighted products a lot harder than they do in the USA
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • I use lactobacillus ferment in exfoliating formulas.

    For a layperson's opinion, if I saw "live probiotics" or "active probiotics" touted in skincare, I would immediately think the product is suspect.  If someone I cared about was using such a product, I'd research it for safety and come away advising against it.  Another thing to consider is that every person's skin has a slightly different optimal set point of natural skin microbes.  I wouldn't know how a "live probiotic" product might disrupt or enhance the skin barrier for any one particular person.

  • edited April 16
    @eisen , no it just means that what they are using is dead-  anything else is "forbidden" - or more accurately as @Bill_Toge pointed out - has to pass the COLIPA standard for microbial quality.


  • Regarding anhydrous formulations and live bacteria, huge risk also. Remember that water condensation on the surface is common, and it would be all the bugs need to start growing. 
  • If you check amazon, hundreds of water based probiotic sprays there. Here is one of them: https://www.amazon.com/LiviaOne-Topical-Spray-Organic-Probiotics/dp/B00UNS8GOG/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1499275042&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=probiotic+spray&amp;th=1

    Ingredients: 
    Proprietary organic probiotic blend in an enzyme enriched substrate: Lactobacillus Acidophilus, L.Rhamnosus, L.Salivarius, L.Casei, L.Plantarum, Lactococcus Lactis, Streptococcus Thermophilus, Bifidobacteruim Bifidum, B.Lactis, B.Infantis, B.Breve, B.Longum; Made from water and a propretary blend of three organic grasses.
  • Here's the problem I have with product such as this.  Note the sleight of hand in the language ... essentially claiming that their product is "ideal" for a variety of medical conditions "according to our customers", but then stating that the statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and that the product is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

    Our 12 strains of symbiotic probiotics spray can help the skin stay balnced, calmer and more resisitance to aging. * 

    According to our customers, this is ideal for people who suffer from rosacea, rashes, scrapes, cuts, staph-type infections, nose, eye or ear infections, athlete's foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections.  

    LiviaOne Topical Probiotics can benefit as:

    • Protective Shield
    • Antimicrobial Properties
    • Calming Effect
    • Natural Skin Balance
    • Dental Caries
    • USDA Certified Organic - to assure quality and safety
    • Made in the USA to produce the best quality of product available
    • Multi-Strains includes: Lactobacillus Acidophilus, L. Rhamnous, L. Salivarius, L. Rhamnosus, L. Casei, L. Plantarum, Lactococcus Lactis and Casei; Bifidobacterium Infantis, Longum along with Streptococcus Thermophilus all in a enzyme enriched substrate.  
    Ingredients: Derived from a proprietary blend of probiotics in an enzyme-enriched substrate, water and a proprietary blend of 3 organic grasses.

    These statements has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases.

    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • Unfortunately many cosmetic products are marketed with unsubstantiated drug claims. Unless they are "curing cancer" FDA just don't have time to follow up. 
    Marketing aside,  do you suppose these are actually dead or are they taking a legal risk?
     
  • Here's the other issue ... the most common species found on human skin microbiome are:

    • Staphylococcus
    • Micrococcus
    • Corynebacterium
    • Brevibacterium
    • Dermabacter
    • Malasezzia

    Note that the bacteria in this product are primarily found in the human gut, not on the skin.  So, if you wanted a product that would be effective on the skin, why would you use gut probiotic bacteria instead of skin microbiome bacteria?  The skin and gut are completely different environments.


    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • I have no idea, but I think a company that makes drug claims on a cosmetic product has absolutely no credibility and I would not trust anything they say.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com

  • edited July 5
    "Unfortunately many cosmetic products are marketed with unsubstantiated drug claims. Unless they are "curing cancer" FDA just don't have time to follow up."

    If you follow recent FDA actions, this is an incorrect statement. The FDA has been following up on numerous lines which make false claims for their Cosmetic products. On one hand, the FDA does not have the staff to follow up on every line, but with the increased usage of online sales, the FDA does have to ability to identify and censure the offenders. It has been increasing of late.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications.
  • the french brand Gallinée sell cosmetic containing probiotic, prebiotic and lactic acid. I understand that they preserve their products thanks to relatively low pH (4.5), and high active ingredient amount (such as lactic acid) ... and cream are produced under GMP
  • The terminology is plain incorrect. A probiotic is something that encourages bacterial life. Inulin for instance is correctly described as a probiotic. A product  that contains live bacteria should be called a 'biotic'. 
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • I would call a product that contains live bacteria...contaminated.  ;)
  • Think @Perry sums up it best
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