‘The hero is the bug’: NZ biotech firm Blis Technology launches new brand with ‘skin-specific’ probiotic strain

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unconditional Skincare Co. utilises a probiotic strain that is naturally found in the skin. [Blis Technologies]
Unconditional Skincare Co. utilises a probiotic strain that is naturally found in the skin. [Blis Technologies]

Related tags: microbiome, probiotics, New zealand

New Zealand-based probiotics firm has made its debut in the cosmetics space with its new skin care brand, Unconditional Skincare Co., which utilises a probiotic strain that is naturally found in the skin.

Founded two decades ago, Blis Technologies Limited is a biotechnology company that manufactures advanced probiotics for the mouth and throat.

It has recently entered the skin care space with the development of BLIS Q24, a patented micrococcus luteus strain which features in the brand as the key active ingredient.

BLIS Q24 acts as ‘crowd control’​ to reduce the number of bad bacteria in your microbiome. During its life cycle, it produces postbiotics, which combat bad bacteria while helping to modulate the skin’s immune system.

The company claims that at the end of its lifecycle, the probiotic cell breaks down to release lysates. These are essential pieces of bacteria, made up of beneficial ingredients – carbohydrates, proteins and DNA - which help to further calm inflammation and nourish the skin.

“BLIS Q24 works to re-balance the skin’s microbiome, enhancing the natural qualities of skin. The probiotic strain works by inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria on the skin, therefore increasing prevalence of good bacteria. This provides the skin with the ability to fight off frequent issues including redness, blemishes, dryness and oiliness,”​ said Julie Curphey, CMO at Blis Technologies.

Live probiotic skin care

After 15 years in development, Unconditional Skincare Co. launched in May with a single product, the Live Probiotic Hydration Serum, which retails for NZ$95 (U$66.50).

As the product name suggests, the brand utilises live bacteria. Curphey told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that working with live bacteria was imperative for the company.

Unlike other microbiome skin care brands that do use live strains, Unconditional Skincare Co. products do not have to be refrigerated and has a much longer shelf-life of up to two years.

“That was the challenge and that’s why it’s taken us a long time [to launch]. We didn’t want something that we couldn’t sell internationally. We didn’t want to have to put the product in the fridge and have a shelf life of one month. We believed that it was always too big a barrier for people,” ​said Curphey.

Moreover, BLIS Q24 has the advantage of being a “skin-specific”​ stain. “Our philosophy generally is to work with strains that naturally live at the site we are trying to provide a health benefit to,” ​Curphey.

The company believes it is the only brand that is utilising a live strain of bacteria that is naturally native to the skin.

In addition to clinical research, the team has conducted consumer market research in New Zealand and the US with approximately 130 people that used the products for 30 days.

Participants indicated a reduction in acne (~80%), less dryness (~82%) and a reduction in redness (~62%). Overall, 72% of participants indicated that the product was better than their regular moisturiser.

Curphey told us the company intends to launch more complementary products that will allow consumers to develop a well-rounded skin care routine.

The launches will be restrained simply because the company does not believe that it would be necessary to have a huge range of products. “There’s not going to be 15 products just for the face, because the hero is the bug,” ​said Curphey.

Instead, the company is interested in exploring products for other parts of the body, including the scalp and feet. It also believes that BLIS Q24 has applications for bodily eczema.

Unconditional Skincare Co. is currently available through its official website to New Zealand and Australia.

The company is also interested in expanding the brand internationally and is eyeing opportunities in the US, Canada, Europe and China.

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