With up to two square meters, the skin is our largest organ. It protects the body from external influences, but our skin also needs a protector. As a living, natural protective layer, the microbiome takes over this task.

But what is the microbiome? In the broadest sense, the microbiome is the totality of all microorganisms that live in and on our bodies. This includes bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microscopic organisms. Together they form the microbiome.From birth, the skin is surrounded by a protective layer of microorganisms – the skin microbiome, also known as skin flora. However, not only the skin is colonized by microorganisms, but also, for example, the intestine.

The human microbiome is composed individually for each person. It can match that of other people to a certain extent, but due to genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors, no two microbiomes are alike.

In recent years, microbiome research has shown that the microflora acts as an important supporter of the human metabolism and is therefore an essential factor for our health. In terms of our skin, this means that the skin microbiome interacts with the immune system. When it is in balance, it works with the immune system to protect us, control skin pH, and maintain optimal moisture balance – these factors are important for beautiful, healthy, and smooth skin. Maintaining a healthy microbiome is therefore important because – if out of balance – it can be the trigger for neurodermatitis, psoriasis, acne and rosacea, in addition to minor skin problems.

Intensive Research

Beiersdorf is doing important pioneering work in the field of microbiome research. For more than 20 years, we have been researching the function and structure of the bacteria on our skin and using state-of-the-art technologies to investigate the impact of our products. 

This intensive research adds a whole new dimension to our understanding of our skin and forms the basis for future innovations. The focus is not only on the development of care products using modern cutting-edge technologies for the daily protection of the skin microbiome, but also and above all for skin conditions in which the microbiome is out of balance, such as acne-prone skin or neurodermatitis. With our care products, we want to help support the skin and a balanced skin microbiome.

“We are trying to understand which bacteria live on the skin, what they do there and how we can manage to influence them positively. We have a lot of experience with this, including in deodorant research and medical skin care. We are deeply convinced that research into the skin microbiome offers opportunities and potential for achieving tangible and visible effects,” says Dr. Jörn Hendrik Reuter, Head of the Microbiome Research Team. “It is our philosophy to work in harmony with the skin, that is, to help the skin help itself. To achieve that, we need to understand the processes in the skin really well.”

Since 2018, Beiersdorf has had a strong partner at its side in the Belgian start-up S-Biomedic to research the cosmetic and therapeutic potential of the skin microbiome. The goal of this comprehensive cooperation is to gain new insights and shape the future of skin care.

Fascinating science close to people

The findings from our extensive research work have already been incorporated into our product developments and form part of our product portfolio. Various microbiome balance products are already on the market under the NIVEA brand, and their care formulas have once again been explicitly tested for their protective function with regard to the microbiome. “We focused on the things that our products already do. That is, to emphasize that they work in balance with the skin’s own microbiome and do not alter this delicate ecosystem,” said molecular biologist Dr. Anja Knott, Chief Scientist NIVEA.

“For over 100 years, NIVEA has stood for skin care expertise, trust, and science. In our edutainment communication campaign, we have translated our scientific findings on the skin microbiome into exciting, easy-to-understand information to introduce consumers to the topic,” says Dr. Anja Knott. “We want to inform our consumers about the tasks and the positive benefits of natural bacteria on the skin.”

The Eucerin pH5 series was also developed for the needs of sensitive skin and contains particularly gentle cleansing and care formulas to protect the microbiome and keep it intact. The care formulas of the shower and soap products from the Eucerin pH5 series have been specially tested once again. They support both the skin and the microbiome by helping to maintain and restore the skin’s optimal pH level. In clinical tests, the products were proven to thoroughly cleanse while being as mild as water to the microbiome. “At Eucerin, we not only care about protecting the skin microbiome on a daily basis, but we are also working on future innovations for skin conditions where the microbiome plays a critical role,” said Julia Gallinger, R&D Claim Strategy Senior Scientist. “Our goal is to help improve the quality of life for many people in the future with these innovations.”