Dr Carol Treasure recently took part in a superb online event “Baby Skin and the Microbiome” organised by National Biofilms Innovation Centre and Cosmetics Cluster UK, sharing her knowledge about in vitro mildness testing for baby care products. Speakers covered a fascinating range of topics and discussed key differences in physiology between baby and adult skin.

What are the differences between baby and adult skin?

Baby skin has reduced barrier function and a different lipid profile, increased reactivity, lower melanin production (and therefore less in-built sun protection). It also displays higher permeability, enabling potential irritants to be more easily absorbed, resulting in increased risk of skin reactions such as atopic dermatitis. All of this has important implications for skin care and protection in babies, creating the need for mild products to preserve the skin barrier and avoid induction of irritation or allergy.

The skin microbiome is also different in babies compared with adults, and with an estimated population of 1 Billion bacteria per square centimetre of skin, we have to ensure we consider the skin’s ecosystem by designing products that preserve and protect healthy species and limit the scope for pathogenic ones to dominate.

Barrier protection OR preserving the microbiome? BOTH!

An interesting question arose during this event: if we have to choose between barrier protection and preserving the microbiome, which takes priority? While the barrier needs to be the immediate priority for skincare, ideally this needs to be achieved in a way that also keeps the microbiome in balance.

XtraMild data

In Carol’s talk, she was able to share for the first time some benchmark data we’ve generated using our XtraMild test for mildness to skin. The test uses the human reconstructed skin model, EpiDerm, to model real life exposure scenarios to cosmetics and personal care ingredients and formulations. Thanks to funding from Innovate UK, we conducted some parallel human in vivo patch testing which demonstrated strong correlation with our in vitro results. The test provides an important pre-screen to de-risk clinical studies and contributes to claim support.

Carol also shared the test results for anonymised market leading formulations from several product categories: baby shampoos and body washes, baby oils, sunscreens and lotions. Benchmark data provides powerful information when interpreting test results with new formulations for our client companies.

To watch the full recording of Carol’s talk click here.

To find out more about our XtraMild to skin test or to any of our other tests, get in touch now.