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The benefits of lysates vs live probiotic cultures in skincare


Numerous skincare brands incorporate lysates in their formulas. However, few brands are able to harness live and active bacteria in addition to the lysates. Neither is an easy task when it comes to formulation however, we can all acknowledge and appreciate the difficulty in working with live probiotics. So, what are the benefits and is this extra challenge worth the effort?

There are numerous opinions but the question remains: what are the differences in using lysates vs live and active probiotic cultures when it comes to skin treatment products that are driven by the results? Although there is so much more for us to learn about the human microbiome, the ability of the cosmetics industry to move ahead faster than pharmaceutical companies will offer great insight into public acceptance of live therapeutics and what conventions are formed from product branding to how many current restraints on these products need to be overcome before widespread use is seen.

Maya Ivanjesku, CSO at LaFlore Probiotic Skincare and Dakota Biotech presented recently about her assessment of this question and how her product development was influenced by her personal findings to that question.

Firstly there were questions over whether regulatory bodies will take a position on lysate based products and whether they will be able to call themselves ‘probiotic’ in the future. This remains unclear and while nobody has a crystal ball, the question is definitely being asked. This could become a threat to lysate based products in the future.

Although the affect of lysate application can be studied and measured, Maya takes the view that the full life cycle of a live probiotic offers more potential efficacy. Probiotic bacteria produce immune building metabolites (what she referred to as ‘postbiotics’) throughout their life and once expired, become lysates as well.

In the presentation, she provides an overview of many common metabolites or “postbiotics” such as AMP, Fatty acids, Vitamin B & K, amino acids, CAZymes. The fact that dead bacteria become lysates means you still get any effects the lysate product would give eventually, whilst also benefiting from the regulatory affects (on pathobiome, inflammation etc) of many of the chosen bacteria.

Obviously there are many challenges to the use of live probiotics, especially when discussing a cosmetic, as opposed to a therapeutic product. Although the burden of proof and regulatory process may be less for cosmetics, these early to market companies still have to deal with:

  1. Consumer education
  2. Viability testing
  3. The need for refrigeration
  4. Stabilization

However Maya believes that with challenge comes opportunity. Her company have developed a patent-able method of stabilization, which slows the metabolic activity of the bacteria in their formulation, increasing their shelf life.  So once some of the issues are addressed, you create a much more unique product.

As a new product section to the industry, only time will tell how the market accepts the constraints of live products and how the regulator will view these over time.  However it will be a fascinating journey to watch and learn from.


View the full presentation here


The next event in the series is the Skin Microbiome & Cosmeceuticals Congress: USA in San Diego on October 29th – 30th. Check out the agenda here.

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