Challenges faced in the development of beneficial scalp microbiome products
As the study of the scalp microbiome is a relatively new subject in the microbiome world there are many challenges that must be faced when developing new products.
- Lack of research
- Complex environment
- Lack of actives & tested actives
- Lack of microbiome models
How Labskin technology is advancing research into the scalp microbiome
Labskin, the only commercially available lab-grown, full thickness human skin model that naturally mimics the skin’s microbiome, has already been successfully utilized in a range of concepts in this area, including the testing of:
- Topical microbials
- Hygiene agents
- Prebiotic materials
- Probiotic concepts
Providing a blank canvas for anti-microbial testing has allowed us to test scalp-specific antimicrobials on Malassezia when developing anti-dandruff shampoos. Labskin can also be used for testing products aimed at treating scalp diseases such as folliculitis, which can be caused by pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus. Until recently, this type of study was only possible on human volunteers during a clinical trial with healthy and diseased participants. A clinical approach presents issues that Labskin resolves. One is the inherent interpersonal variability of the microbiome which introduces complexity to the analysis of the outcome.
At Labskin we replicate the same microbiome so controls and products are tested in the exact same conditions.
Additionally, retrieving the microbiota from the scalp is a relatively non-invasive technique. Sampling a person’s scalp to study its physiological response needs invasive techniques such as biopsies which are riskier and more painful for the volunteer and more difficult to justify on ethical terms. At Labskin we can easily look at both sides; the microbiome and the host using any end-points the study needs to address.
Where does the future of the scalp microbiome take us
As consumers become aware of how the balance of microbiomes is essential to promote healthy scalp and hair condition, the demand for products targeting a healthy scalp microbiome will continue to rise.
To meet this demand, cosmetic companies will have to back up their claims with clinically proven tests. Working in collaboration with eighteen of the top twenty global cosmetic companies on the development of products targeting the scalp microbiome ensures Labskin will help play a leading role in this movement. As further studies investigate the scalp microbiome, new avenues for personalised treatments on the scalp and hair will be developed.