According to Shiseido, the methods currently available to analyze the bacteria that are present on the skin of an individual (the so-called “skin microbiome”) make it hardly possible to obtain results in last than one month after having collected the samples. With the aim to provide customers with a new high-value in-store experience and beauty service, the group has partnered with Yamato-Esulon and Orcoa, two Japanese manufacturers of laboratory equipment that have developed devices that are able to detect periodontal disease bacteria.

Simplified PCR testing device

The link between skin health and beauty and the 1,000+ types of indigenous bacteria that can be present at the surface an within the skin is still to be fully investigated. However, Shiseido has found in earlier research that indigenous bacterial diversity is low in sensitive skin and that some prebiotic ingredients can improve skin texture and hydration.

While, the skin microbiome can vary a lot from one individual to another, Shiseido chose to focus on Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes, two types of skin bacteria that are said to be strongly “related to the beauty and health of the skin.

Using a compact and simplified PCR [1] testing device, the Japanese cosmetics giant was able to develop a fast testing method for these two strains. The new method enables any person without specific skill to perform the test and obtain the results in about 40 minutes.

According to Shiseido, analyzes confirmed the amount and balance of the bacteria assessed with the new methods were equivalent to the results of those being examined with a conventional method [2].

In-store experience

Thanks to its compact size, the device can be placed in any venue receiving customers. Beauty advisors just have to collect samples from the customer’s stratum corneum, usually from the forehead, and the results can be delivered within less than an hour, providing customers with a unique shopping experience.

As a first step, Shiseido plans to launch a “unique skin bacteria” measuring service using this testing method on a trial basis for visitors at the Shiseido Global Innovation Center (called “S/PARK”), a research and innovation hub located in the Minato Mirai area in Yokohama, Japan.

With this technology, we wish to offer opportunities for our customers to deepen their understanding of indigenous skin bacteria, which play an important role in the beauty and health of the skin. Furthermore, by combining with the advanced counseling services of our beauty consultants, which are one of our strengths, we would like to provide people with optimal, personalized skincare solutions according to their current skin conditions,” said Shiseido in a statement.

The Japanese group plans to further develop these technologies to gain a deeper understanding of the human skin ecosystem in which cells and microbes coexist and how to provide beneficial services to its customers.