S-beauty Special
How a shorter shelf life for Skinome’s freshly made retinol creates a more effective cream
”The scientists always keep all the ingredients in the fridge or freezer to ensure the efficacy in the studies. Interestingly, many active ingredients get destroyed during the shelf-life period in traditional skincare,” says skin scientist and Skinome’s founder Johanna Gillbro, when explaining why she’s doing things differently.
3 Nov 2021

After the huge K-beauty trend and its 10-step-routines, there’s a growing global buzz for Scandinavian S-beauty and its innovative products with sustainability at its very core. In the latest issue of our printed magazine, we highlight 13 innovative beauty launches. This is #4.

Earlier in her career, when Johanna Gillbro worked within the skincare industry as head of innovation, she realized what huge challenges it’s facing.

— The many active ingredients and active technologies — which, ultimately, are supposed to give a beneficial skin effect — are not suitable for room temperature storage, she states. Most active ingredients keep their efficacy much better at cold storage, in a fridge. The scientists always keep all the ingredients in the fridge or freezer to ensure efficacy in the studies. Interestingly, many active ingredients get destroyed during the shelf-life period in traditional skincare. Traditional skincare has a shelf life of 3 years and many active ingredients, such as retinol, vitamin C, and other antioxidants, are broken down during this time frame, resulting in inefficient products. This is when I first had the idea of freshly made skincare with shorter shelf life and fridge storage. Freshly made skincare would also enable that we could remove additives and preservatives for safer and more skin-friendly products to promote skin health.

Gillbro is a skin scientist with a background in dermatological research and did her PhD within the field of skin pigmentation. She’s then spent the last 20 years working on skin pigmentation, skin aging, and barrier function, and the last 8 years focused more on the science behind the skin’s microbiome.

— During the last 10 years, the skin microbiome has been rediscovered, she tells. More and more studies show that the hygiene and products that our skin is exposed to every day can lead to an imbalanced microbiome. Our skin microbiome is crucial for our skin health since it is of crucial importance for our immune defense in the skin. Putting it imbalance could lead to skin disorders such as eczema, rosacea, or acne. In studies together with Linköping University and Gut Feeling labs in Lund, we showed that freshly made skincare without preservatives increased the microbiome diversity which was correlated with reduced irritation and improved skin texture, compared to traditional skincare. Freshly made skincare with shorter shelf life results in more effective products, supporting the microbiome and promoting an overall healthier skin. 

These findings ultimately led to Gillbro and her colleagues founding Skinome, challenging conventional skincare with freshly made formulations and promoting skin health. The range consists of five cleansers and day and night creams, including the oil emulsion Night Active+Retinol.

— Like the rest of the products, it’s freshly produced with a high proportion of active ingredients and a biomimetic formula that contains a unique mixture of substances naturally found in the skin, Gillbro tells. Prebiotics — fibers that act as food for the good bacteria of the skin — help to balance the microbiome for healthier skin and skin endogenous retinol (0.06 %) contributes to an improved skin texture and, thanks to its smaller molecular size, can penetrate the skin better than some other retinal derivatives. Acetyl-glucosamine, the building block of hyaluronic acid, increases the moisture content of the skin and, together with niacinamide, gives a smoother skin tone. Zinc ascorbate, a hybrid between zinc and vitamin C, can reduce the onset of free radicals. The formulation is based on lipids that are naturally found in the skin such as squalane. Clinical studies for 8 weeks have shown that wrinkle depth and length are reduced, and the skin texture is improved by using Night Active+Retinol. 

Do you have any other special launches coming?

— We work closely with several universities in Sweden, such as Uppsala University. An interesting ongoing project is a probiotic project, another is the development of microbiome-friendly suncare, says Gillbro. She continues:

— This month we are also launching a new day and night emulsion for oily and combination skin called Light Emulsion. It contains Niacinamide, a very well-studied substance that reduces the skin’s production of sebum, contributes to a smoother skin tone, and improves the structure of the skin, while zinc further reduces the sebum production of the skin and reduces the visibility of pores. Even oily and acne-prone skin needs moisture. Light Emulsion, therefore, contains the innovative substance Ectoin, found naturally in bacteria in salt deserts and other extreme environments where it preserves water and contributes to maintaining normal cell function, allowing the bacteria to survive. Similarly, Ectoin helps skin cells maintain their normal function and moisture content when exposed to stress, such as a dry climate, cold, heat, and sunlight. The very base of the cream — the emulsification system — is a unique technology made with postbiotics of fermented rice (Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment), creating a 3D structure that mimics the skin and is therefore very skin-friendly.

Night Active+Retinol by Skinome in our latest issue
Set design: Niklas Hansen
Photography: Anders Kylberg

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