cosmetic raw material bacteria
Article by: Perry Romanowski

Here’s a novel idea in cosmetic ingredients…bacteria. According to this report, scientists have found that they could improve the condition of skin by topically applying a bacteria that could metabolize ammonia. cosmetic raw material bacteria

In the study they took an ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (Nitrosomonas eutropha) commonly found in soil and created a suspension for application to skin. They created a placebo suspension then got two groups of people to apply either product to their face and scalp for 3 weeks. The test group reported an improvement in their skin condition while the control group didn’t.

Study critique

While this is a pretty interesting approach and suggests that more research is worthwhile, I’m a bit skeptical of results or even the approach. First, it doesn’t seem like there were any statistically significant improvements. Next, the results were all self-reported. Why wasn’t a dermatologist involved in evaluating the participants? Perhaps that would be the next step.

Anyway, this is an innovative approach to solving cosmetic problems. Could you get rid of acne by applying “good” microbes to kill off the “bad” microbes? What other problems could be solved by the application of “good” microbes? Perhaps a living deodorant? Or a mouthwash with microbes that kill off the plaque causing bacteria?

Lot’s of possibilities.

On the other hand, this would be a significant formulation challenge. How would you keep the microbial culture alive? And how would you prevent contamination by “bad” microbes? The preservatives we use today kill microbes indiscriminately.

Something to think about (along with other ideas for good microbes in cosmetics).


  1. Avatar

    Wow! Atlast Microbiologists like me who also love to be involved in formulating have found research responsibilities

  2. Kelly

    This research is still in early stages and I agree live microbes may not be the right approach. Bacterial lysates (probioactives) may have activity, prebiotics may selectively stimulate beneficial bacteria… We still have a lot to learn. I cover the topic in an article for Cosmetics and Toiletries which can be found here:

  3. Avatar

    I read an article on this and have been thinking about how this would work commercially. I think the only way they could do it would be for the actual bacteria would be applied at some kind of clinic or doctor where the bacteria could be stored and controlled. Then we could formulate the supporting products. This would include things like preservative free moisturizers (water free or with weak preservative systems), shampoos and conditioners all formulated to not harm the bacteria. They would have to be in packaging that wouldn’t allow contamination, like pumps or something similar. It could be very interesting from the formulation side but also very frustrating. We would still have to be able to prove that our products would be microbiologically stable and safe…

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Yeah, this certainly seems like it would be a significant challenge!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.