Perfect match: Microbiome beauty opportunities abound in APAC but challenges remain - DSM

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Uncharted territory brings challenges along with opportunities in microbiome beauty. ©GettyImages
Uncharted territory brings challenges along with opportunities in microbiome beauty. ©GettyImages
DSM is confident the microbiome trend will be hugely successful in APAC, but believes that the uncharted territory brings challenges along with opportunities.

Director of personal care and aroma ingredients APAC Yusuke Saito said the idea of treating skin as a living ecosystem sits well with the current consumer trends, making microbiome beauty the ‘perfect match’ ​for the market.

“We believe that this is going to be a big success. We want to bring this idea into APAC region. This is what we are aiming for.”

According to Saito, the Asia-pacific market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% from 2016 to 2021 and he expects skin care sales growth to be strong.

He added: “APAC, of course, is the single largest market for probiotics in beauty products, accounting for 90% of current global demand. However, the opportunities are not limited to the skin care category.

“Other applications such as anti-agers, oral care and cosmeceuticals to treat skin issues. These will also benefit from microbiome research in the medium to long-term.”

Opportunities and challenges

Saito explained that microbiome beauty was still a fairly new concept, not just in APAC, but in other markets as well.

“Skin microbiome as a beauty concept is certainly creating a buzz. But this topic is still uncharted in terms of personal care.”

Fabrice Guillemard, regional marketing lead for personal care APAC added: “It’s a totally new dimension, even for consumers who are familiar with the gut microbiome and products like Yakult.”

At this early stage, Saito highlighted that this presents opportunities for cosmetic companies in the APAC region.

“There is plenty of opportunity for innovation and to redefine and reposition so they can establish new products.”

However, one biggest hurdle the industry has to cross is separating the negative perception consumers usually associated with bacteria.

“The health benefits of maintaining balance in the gut microbiome are known but when it comes to the skin care, bacteria has been generally perceived as something we need to take out,” ​said Saito.

In order to understand this better, DSM has carried out an in-depth study on the market and a consumer study.

The research highlighted the need for clear explanations on how products work and the beauty benefits they bring.

Saito said: “We already established the scientific background but how we translate to the consumer is most important.”

Guillemard believes that consumers need more explanation on the link between microbiota, microbiome and the skin condition.

“This can help them understand that enhancing and reinforcing this skin flora and microbiota will be relevant to their specific skin care concerns.”

Saito concluded: “We can’t change the consumers’ mind overnight but we believe that it’s going to be a new way to improve skin and lead to new innovations in the market.”

Striving to improve understanding

Guillemard expressed that DSM believes that maintaining balance in the skin microbiome is an integral part of skin care.

“Our EPIBIOME beauty approach is built on the belief of our division that a strong epidermal barrier and a balanced skin microbiome are both needed to restore strengthen and preserve healthy skin.”

He said the company will continue to innovate in this area with the help of its expertise in microbiology and skin science.

“Definitely we have the legitimacy to create new innovative solutions in the scope of microbiome research.”

However, he admitted that there is still plenty to learn about the skin’s microbiome and DSM will continue to improve its understanding on the microbiome.

“We want to develop a clear and scientifically proven link between the changes in the composition of the skin microbiome and the changes in physically skin conditions so that we can also identify a link with the effects of specific ingredients to the microbiome and skin condition,” said Guillemard

By developing a deeper understanding, the company will also be able to address the questions and concerns of its customers, which is one of the company’s challenges.

“We want to understand which products work and how it works to improve skin condition through this skin flora enhancement. We have a lot of things to address for potential communications with our customers.”

As a response, DSM has created a resource platform called The Secret Life of Skin where its customers can gain a better understanding of the skin microbiome and the potentials behind it.

“If you are a scientist, dermatologist, brand owner or just a curious consumer, you can link to this platform and get a better understanding of the skin microbiome thanks to this platform we have created.”

Find out more and register ​​HERE​​ to join us at the Cosmetics Design Summit 2019: Skin Microbiome Innovation​, which is sponsored by DSM​ and Givaudan​ (Diamond sponsors); Solabia​ and Sabinsa​ (Platinum sponsors); Mibelle​ and Atlantia​ (Gold sponsors), and Indena​ (supporter).

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