Special Edition: Advances in the Skin Microbiome – Ingredients Innovation and Science

Microbiome startup Lac2Biome launches shelf-stable white label facial serum with live probiotics

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

The facial serum featured a patented two-phase delivery system that protected the live bacteria up until the point of activation, just ahead of skin application [Getty Images]
The facial serum featured a patented two-phase delivery system that protected the live bacteria up until the point of activation, just ahead of skin application [Getty Images]

Related tags skin microbiome microbiome Skin health probiotics live bacteria Skin care Hyaluronic acid hydration Acne skin barrier

Italian microbiome health startup Lac2Biome has developed a white label skin care blend containing live probiotics and hyaluronic acids, offering brands opportunity to offer an innovative and highly potent product that delivers on promised benefits, its developers say.

Founded in 2019, Lac2Biome had now kickstarted the global launch of its white label skin care product InfiniteSkin Microbiome Serum​, made from a clinically studied blend of hyaluronic acids and proprietary live probiotic strain m.biomeLiveSkin88. The product had been designed using a patented two-phase delivery system where a powder-form live probiotic strain – stored and protected from moisture migration separately to the hyaluronic acid liquid within a 15ml vial – was plunged into the liquid once agitated and activated ahead of skin application.

‘True probiotic product’ delivering 8bn CFUs

Once applied to the skin, the formulation delivered a minimum of eight billion CFUs [Colony Forming Units] to the skin and maintained this potency for one week, enabling twice-daily applications and remaining stable at room temperature. Prior to activation, the blend was shelf-stable for 24 months at room temperature.

“What’s nice about this product is it’s a really clean product; there’s not a lot of ingredients and we know this is very relevant. But what’s also critical for the product is it is a true probiotic product,”​ said Luc Monbourquette, director of global business development at Lac2Biome.

Monbourquette told CosmeticsDesign-Europe the probiotic strain used in the blend adhered to the globally recognised World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of a probiotic​ and aligned with needs around strain-specific potency.

“We’ve designed it to ensure it delivers the targeted potency that’s aligned to the data over the course of its shelf-life, which is 24 months at room temperature, which we also know is a critical part in commercialising such a product,”​ he said.

White label blend – ‘it’s important for us to control the process’

Whilst the product launch was global, Lac2Biome was primarily targeting Europe and North America and had launched the product as white label – meaning it had to be used as formulated – because this ensured the correct delivery and proven benefits to the consumer, Monbourquette said.

“Obviously there’s big technical challenges in delivering live bacteria to the skin. We’re utilising a patented delivery system along with working closely with a strong and knowledgeable contract manufacturing organisation [CMO] (…) It’s important for us to control the process.”

He said this strategy also made it “very easy”​ for brand partners, offering creative freedoms on messaging, branding and packaging of the formula.

“In terms of the ​in vivo and ​in vitro data, it’s important to note it’s on the exact formula and that is why it’s critical for us to bring that exact formulation through the market through our partners. That’s the primary approach we intend to take.”

Lasse Nagell, CEO of Lac2Biome, said the company was primarily targeting derma beauty brands and companies working within the pharmacy retail space, but it was also open to working with multi-level marketing type organisations because these companies also had good scope to communicate well with consumers.

“We’ve been extremely targeted in finding brands and players that are strong in the [derma] part of the market. Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be derma-focused brands but, again, brands working in outlets where they have a chance to educate more than just what’s on the label,”​ Nagell said.

The company, for example, had already secured Rebiome as a brand partner, with the white label formula being marketed as an active leave-on probiotic mask as part of a three-step offering alongside a cleansing and peeling product. “It’s early days. The product is just literally finding its way out into distribution,”​ the CEO said.

Problematic skin, improved skin barrier and hydration

Asked what skin care segments the facial serum could target, Nagell said more would become clear as Lac2Biome evaluated results from its latest clinical trial, but opportunities were certainly broad.

“We see three primary targets for the product,”​ he said. “…For sure, we think that the area of problematic skin, particularly in the field of acne, is a target group for this product. Then we can look at a more general audience, in terms of adding good bacteria to the skin – we call this the microbial shield (…) And the third area is within hydration, considering we do have a combination with hyaluronic acids.”

As results from Lac2Biome’s latest clinical study were analysed more closely, the company planned to provide insight on what cosmetic claims brands could make on the product, Monbourquette added.

Nagell said the biggest challenge in the marketing of this facial serum would be consumer education, so communicating benefits would be key. “Everybody knows about probiotics today and they’re associated with gut health and in some markets maybe immune properties and benefits. But now we’re taking it into a brand-new area, so it’s very, very important to communicate the benefits and also the safety and everything around this product development,”​ he said.

“As an industry, I think it would be extremely important to get together and be very, very clear on claiming and labels so we can create, together, the trust with the consumer and make sure we offer efficacious products. If we can do that together, I see a wonderful, wonderful future for microbial solutions in skin care.”

Inside-and-out microbiome beauty – oral care, immune modulation and dysbiosis

Nagell said there was also scope to look more closely at combining topicals with ingestibles – a specialty area of Lac2Biome​.

“If we look at it from a helicopter view for Lac2Biome, we are also engaged in the nutraceutical space with microbial solutions, so that’s where we’re coming from. We definitely see skin as one of the key target areas for us, but we remain very interested and we’re also developing a couple of new product concepts in the nutraceutical space – continuing to build on the knowledge and understanding we have on probiotics and the microbiome in that field.”

Combining topicals and ingestibles in the beauty-from-within category, he said, certainly presented opportunities to take offerings to “the next level”​ in terms of clearer consumer benefits and broader product offerings, particularly as scientific data on probiotics continued to gain importance.

“As we, and the science community and industry, learn more, we see very, very interesting opportunities also in oral concepts too – as a standalone but maybe even as part of a treatment regime, oral plus a topical or something to that nature. There’s lots of interesting products that will come as we learn more and more about the benefits of microbial solutions to various skin needs.”

Monbourquette said for live bacteria and probiotics especially, there would be “some relevant positioning​” around skin issues associated with immune modulation and dysbiosis.

“Based on the data we’ve generated so far, those two are unique, broad categories that impact so many different skin issues. So, investigating within those broad categories seems to have a great level of interest for us, and certainly the skin microbiome category.”

Lac2Biome would also work closely with its brand partners to identify collectively where efforts should be taken next, he said. And whilst the company would continue to work with probiotics, Monbourquette said it would also investigate other live bacteria strains as it pushed forward with research and development efforts.

“We’re quite excited. And considering the stage we’re at as a startup company, ensuring we take the time to find the right branded players to go on this journey with us is a critical task. This is what we’re really focused on,”​ he said.

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