Skin microbiome analysis

With a total surface area of 1.5 to 2 m2, the skin is the largest organ and ecosystem in the human body. It is colonized by millions of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and mites. The diversity of the skin microbiome varies over the body, depending on local factors such as pH, humidity, salinity and sebum content. Sebaceous sites like the forehead appear to have different dominant organisms than dry areas like the forearm. A number of intrinsic factors contribute to the variability in the microbial flora of the skin, e.g. sex, age and genomic background, as well as external factors, e.g. occupation, life style, clothing and the use of antibiotics and cosmetics.

BaseClear offers complete solutions to help determine the effect of cosmetics, soaps, personal care products, antibiotics, probiotics or other interventions on the skin microbiome. This analysis is required to demonstrate the efficacy of a product or to put a ‘microbiome-friendly’ claim on a product.

The skin microbiome

The skin microbiome consists of more than one thousand microbial species. Dominant genera are Cutibacterium, Staphylococcus (mainly S. epidermidis and S. hominis), and Corynebacterium, but also Pseudomonas can regularly be detected as part of the healthy skin microbiome. Interestingly, it has been reported that the abundance of Corynebacterium is higher in subjects with an elevated BMI and/or following a high-fat diet, whereas they are barely detectable in subjects following a regular diet. In inflammatory skin disease, often an increased level of pathogens like S. aureus and S. pyogenes can be found.

It is clear that the balance in the skin microbiome is related to skin health. Therefore, knowledge of the skin microbiome is important for the development of both cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications

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Skin Microbiome Analysis

BaseClear and CHDR collaborate in skin microbiome analysis

The Center for Human Drug Research (CHDR) is collaborating with BaseClear for skin microbiome analyses in the context of clinical trials. “BaseClear partners with us in regards to technical, scientific and logistical aspects. It is a matter of complementary expertise and professional partnership.”

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Healthy skin

It is becoming more and more clear that the condition of the microbiome is related to the health of the human body. This is not only the case for the gut microbiome, but also for the skin microbiome. While most of the microbes in the skin microbiome are harmless or even beneficial to the human body, there are also some virulent and pathogenic species. When the microbiome has a healthy balance, these microbes won’t cause any problems. However, when an imbalance occurs and these pathogenic microbes are given more leeway, this can contribute to various skin disorders, e.g. eczema, acne, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. For several skin disorders it has been shown that an antimicrobial treatment results in clinical improvement. The presence of antibiotic resistance genes in the microbiome, together known as the resistome, might also induce and/or enhance negative health effects, such as chronic infections.

As a result, the skin microbiome is becoming an important therapeutical target related to these skin disorders. For example, a therapy based on phages or bacteriophage proteins might be the solution in cases where only one or a few specific pathogenic bacteria cause skin problems. Such a therapy can target and destroy these specific microbes, in order to restore a healthy microbiome. More therapeutic variants are expected to follow, since this research area is still quite young.

Microbiome friendly

Now that the awareness of the importance of the skin microbiome is growing in both pharma and the cosmetics industry and their customers, it is becoming increasingly important to prove that a product doesn’t harm the skin microbiome and can be certified as microbiome friendly. This is not only the case for the final end products, but also for the separate ingredients. The addition of certain prebiotics, probiotics, bioactive components and preservatives to a formulation might help to balance the microbiome, and promote specifically the harmless and beneficial microbes at the expense of the virulent and pathogenic ones. Microbiome profiling and metagenomics analysis is necessary to show if that is indeed the case.

Our contribution

We at BaseClear  believe that more people can have a healthy skin with a balanced microbiome and we would like to contribute to that. Using a genomic approach BaseClear can help you analyze the skin microbiome globally or more thoroughly, to measure differences between different treatments and determine whether a product is gentle on the microbiome. This can be done for a wide variety of products, such as cosmetics and personal care products, antibiotics, pre- or probiotics and pharmaceuticals. We offer complete solutions, from consultancy, initial study design, sampling and logistics to the actual performance of the DNA or RNA-based microbiome analysis and the final data analysis and interpretation. In this way, we can be your partner to speed up your innovations and work together to make your products more microbiome-friendly. Our team includes a number of experienced PhD-level molecular biologists, microbiome specialists and bioinformatics experts. Get in touch with one of these experts to discuss your project or to learn more about our skin microbiome analysis solutions.

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Experts meetings on skin microbiome analysis

BaseClear has years of expertise in microbiome analysis, including skin microflora analysis. We routinely organise expert meetings wherein scientists and researchers meet, share and discuss microbiome projects. Topics discussed include discovery, technical challenges, clinical trials, marketing, commercialisation and regulations on microbiome-based products.

Our experts meetings

Meet Radhika Bongoni!

Radhika is our Head of Business Development. She is specialised in microbiome analysis and regulatory affairs and its applications in Human Health, Personal Care and Animal Nutrition. Radhika received her Ph.D. in Food technology from Wageningen University and an MBA from Tias School for Business & Society. With techno-commercial expertise, she is involved in business growth and market penetration by fostering relationships with partners. Prior to BaseClear, Radhika was responsible for establishing dietary supplements market in western Europe, India, South Africa and Russia.

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