”The industry rarely dares to think differently and come up with new solutions”
On the continuous rise for products related to the skin microbiome
7 Aug 2023

Who are you?

— I’m Chief Innovation Officer at skincare brand Skinome.

You recently unveiled a partnership with researchers at Karolinska Institutet. What is it and what do you do together?

— We are both interested in the skin microbiota and how it affects the skin. During the spring, we did a research project together where we looked at the skin bacteria and how different products affected the skin’s bacterial composition. We are now moving forward to isolate and identify beneficial commensal (skin’s own) strains that are good for skin health and balance and will further research these strains and ultimately develop products with better performance. 

What do you hope to achieve?

— The team at Karolinska brings an excellent knowledge of everything related to the understanding and analysis of the skin’s microorganisms, and together with our skin expertise, we can accelerate the understanding and development of better products and treatments for the skin. As with all research, it’s difficult to estimate an exact timetable but this is a long-term project that we will be doing for years to come. 

What’s the next big thing within science-backed skincare?

— In a year I think we will see more products related to the skin microbiome, in both the effect and communication of the product. We will also be talking more and more about ingredients to use and avoid, both beneficial effects but also side effects or hazards related to the ingredients, especially relating to the concentration trend that has been here for a while now. We will continuously also hear more about the skin barrier and how important it is for the balance of the skin, says Åkerström. He continues:

— Sun and warm weather have been here for a while now. We are gaining more and more understanding of the harmful effects of the sun, but also its beneficial effects on health. I think it’s important to have a more balanced discussion about what’s good about being out in the sun, but also the importance of wearing sunscreen when needed and not wearing it all year round. Stay protected from getting burned but still simply enjoy the sun! And when sunscreens are used, be picky about the product you use and what ingredients it contains.

What would you say it is that drives innovation in the industry?

— It’s definitely a mix of everything, but I have to say that I think there are few true or ground-breaking innovations that come from the traditional skincare industry. It’s also hard for both consumers and professionals to know if the new solution is really better than an existing one. The industry rarely dares to think differently and come up with new solutions. I think we need to have a greater consumer focus and that we should do more based on what’s best for the skin’s best and become more sustainable long term. 

Ulf Åkerström.

You recently created a quite special campaign in central Stockholm. What did you do?

— We make freshly made skincare without preservatives or other additives and most of our products need to be stored cold in a fridge, just like fresh food, Åkerström explains. We wanted to find a fun and interesting way of making more people aware that there is an alternative to traditional skincare on the market and we thought that the fridge storage is so unique for our products, so why not show everyone that?

— We placed a lightbox on the fridge that said ’Open for a fresh start’ since we wanted to encourage people to open the fridge and find out what was inside it. No one from us stood by the fridge, it was placed all alone in the streets. I dare to say that I think we were right — it created a lot of interest and buzz and we managed to get more people interested in freshly made skincare, just like we wanted.

The campaign.

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