a guide to the skin microbiome

Essentially, adding bacteria to the skin – rather than stripping it with harsh products – may help to rebuild the microbiome.

The probiotic was originally found on healthy human skin, but seeding technology means that Emma Lewisham can produce their serum without keeping a swabbing subject on standby.

For Lewisham the serum brings a layer of luxury to science, by having a product that can be part of people’s regular skin routines, sitting proudly by the bathroom sink rather than hidden away at the back of a drawer like harsh creams targeted at teenagers.

“As well as being something that’s proven to repair acne prone-skin it needs to be something that people want to use regularly,” Lewisham says. “Acne can affect people’s confidence so when you’re using something that strips the skin, harming your overall skin health, it can make you feel worse.”

“This is breaking new ground. We are a luxury skincare brand that’s redefining what luxury is. The last thing the world needs is another beauty product. Customers need something that works.”

The serum’s container has two chambers, with the individual formulas united to activate the live bacteria, which remain healthy for two years without refrigeration.

“We also had to make it refillable, which meant there were plenty of tears before bringing it to market,” Lewisham says.

A gentler approach

Lewisham’s serum is part of a shift in pimple treatment away from Boomer beauty practices, such as toothpastes and toners.

“These just irritate and disrupt the skin barrier,” says Melbourne dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour, on behalf of skincare range Bioderma.

“Skincare for acne has become much more elegant and mindful of protecting the skin barrier whilst targeting the causes of acne. In particular, ingredients such as niacinamide and astaxanthin are useful and non-irritating.”


Bioderma’s Sebia Serum uses hyaluronic acid to hydrate and salicylic acid to exfoliate, in the treatment of pimples but Armour suggests starting acne treatment with a simple cleanser.

“In general, a gentle non-foaming cleanser with a light moisturising action is the best approach in acne,” Armour says. “If you have oily skin, using a gentle foaming cleanser containing ingredients such as salicylic acid can be useful. This can help to unblock pores. These cleansers may irritate normal or sensitive skin.”

Along with ditching toothpaste and toner, Armour also suggests resisting the urge to become a pimple-popping social media star.”

If you have a big pus-filled spot that looks ready to explode, it is OK to very gently express the contents. If you’re talking about sore, red, or minimally pus-filled pimples, you’ll only make
things worse by squeezing your pimples. They’ll burst under the skin and set up inflammation that leads to scarring.”

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