L’Oréal announced a partnership between its Technology Incubator and Silicon Valley-based uBiome, the leader in microbial genomics, to continue its longtime research into skin microbiome—the trillions of bacteria that live on, and provide an important barrier to, your skin. This collaboration bridges L’Oréal’s expertise in the science of skincare with uBiome’s leadership in microbiome research. Through this partnership, the two companies intend to conduct new research on the skin’s bacterial ecosystem, with a goal of offering deeper skin insights to uBiome’s global community while informing future product development at L’Oréal.
“When it comes to skincare, people often audition product after product to determine what works for their unique skin. At L’Oréal, our goal is to advance scientific research and leverage new technologies to change this relationship, by allowing deeper levels of personalization,”
said Guive Balooch, Vice President of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator, an arm of L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation Division.
“The microbiome has major implications for skin’s overall appearance and health. With the global reach of uBiome’s community of citizen scientists, our two companies will be able to extend our respective research in this space, and better understand the interplay between bacterial diversity and skin health.”
The importance of the skin microbiome
The microbiome is an ecosystem of trillions of microbes living in and on our bodies. It consists of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that can be beneficial to human health. Each unique area of the body has its own microbiome. The human skin, our body’s largest organ, is home to roughly 1,000 species of bacteria. The microbial balance affects skin health and appearance; imbalance can contribute to skin concerns including acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Additionally, skin microbiome can regulate body odor and change with aging.
“So many clues about our overall health come from the amazing world of microorganisms,”
said Jessica Richman, co-founder and CEO of uBiome.
“L’Oréal is an ideal partner for uBiome as it has had a strong focus in scientific innovation in this space for years. Their expertise, combined with uBiome’s advanced understanding of the skin microbiome will allow us to pave the way for the future of personalized skin care.”
L’Oréal’s legacy of skin microbiome research
L’Oréal began exploring the skin microbiome over a decade ago and has published 50 papers on the subject since 2006. L’Oréal’s findings include the link between microbiome, skin barrier function, and immune responses as well as the evolution of the microbiome on aging skin. This collective research has contributed to the launch of several skincare products across L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics Division—including the brands La Roche-Posay and Vichy—since 2013.
“In the past several years, L’Oréal’s research into skin microbiome has accelerated thanks to new genomic technologies and big data analysis,”
says Luc Aguilar, a research director in L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation division.
“A major finding from our research shows that skin disorders, much like gut ones, are often linked to a problem of microbial imbalance. Good proportions of each microorganism are key to ensuring skin health.”
uBiome’s industry-leading microbial research
uBiome, which was founded in 2012 by Stanford-, Oxford-, and UCSF-educated researchers, uses advanced technology to analyze human microbiome. The company, which has the world’s largest database of human microbiomes, has seven issued patents and 250 pending patents. uBiome’s platform, which includes four kits designed for at-home sampling—SmartGut™, the world’s first sequencing-based clinical microbiome test; SmartJane™, the first sequencing-based women’s health screening test; and Explorer™ and Explorer Plus™, a health and wellness product to understand the role that food and lifestyle can play in wellness—has been used by hundreds of thousands of consumers, patients, and doctors and more than 200 research institutions around the world, including the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Harvard University, Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California, San Francisco, Oxford University, and the University of Sydney.
The partnership between the two companies will be introduced at L’Oréal’s “Know Your Skin” exhibit at The Fast Company Grill in Austin, Texas, between March 8th and 11th, 2019. Guive Balooch of L’Oréal and Jessica Richman of uBiome will be answering questions on-site at the exhibit, which also features L’Oréal personalized skincare innovations including My Skin Track UV and My Skin Track pH by La Roche-Posay, Custom D.O.S.E by SkinCeuticals, and an on-site skincare experience with Kiehl’s.