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How to sell a new ingredient to the skin care industry

  1. Start with facts, if possible with facts that have been in the news recently. In this case: the bacterial flora in the skin is important (just think “acne”) and it varies with the environment (in this case, us).

2.Find an attractive organism and see where you can take it. In this case, we start with a pretty flower with a pretty name: “porcelain flower” (Latin name, Hoya carnosa) that makes you think of “fresh, new, glowing”. Not surprisingly, this pretty flower has yeast growing in its nectar, Metschnikowia reukaufii. Why not surprising? Because when you mix water with sugar, yeast will grow.

3. Get your marketing scientists to work.

4. Voila! A new product: Ecobyotis. The inventors even created a trade name (?) for the organisms that grow in nectar: Nectarobyota (to make it sound scientific). The INCI name of the product is less exciting: yeast extract. Why an extract and not the living organism? The FDA does not allow live organisms to be sold in cosmetics, and in any case, a product containing water and food would last just a few days once yeast is added to it.

My opinion: I am sure that this yeast extract and, indeed, any yeast or bacterial extract, could in theory change the composition of the population of skin bacteria, because at high enough concentrations it would change the growing conditions that the skin offers its bacterial population. Change the food and you change the bacterial population. But the concentration of this added ingredient would have to overcome the influence of the “food supply” we provide to our skin’s bacteria: sebum, dead cells etc. (it sounds yucky, I know, but that how life works).

If there was a way to direct the skin bacterial composition in the “right” direction, the first thing I would do is apply it to the skin of acne sufferers. Because it is with acne that the bacterial flora of the skin can throw the life of a teenager in disarray. But this is not the use suggested by the company selling this yeast extract, probably because in acne, the effectiveness of such a product could easily be tested (it would either work or not). Instead, they suggest that the extract be used by older women. For these (easy) targets, Ecobyotis “improves skin quality and enables mature skin to recover a radiant complexion”.

In short, if you use this yeast extract, you can realize the dream of making your older skin look younger and as fresh as the porcelain flower. Or not.

It really annoys me that the industry considers us, older women, such an easy target. The best revenge is to ignore their selling tactics and buy products that work.