The impact of skin care products on skin chemistry and microbiome dynamics

Amina Bouslimani, Ricardo Da Silva, Tomasz Kosciolek, Stefan Janssen, Chris Callewaert, Amnon Amir, Kathleen Dorrestein, Alexey V. Melnik, Livia S. Zaramela, Ji Nu Kim, Gregory Humphrey, Tara Schwartz, Karenina Sanders, Caitriona Brennan, Tal Luzzatto-Knaan, Gail Ackermann, Daniel McDonald, Karsten Zengler, Rob Knight, Pieter C. Dorrestein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Use of skin personal care products on a regular basis is nearly ubiquitous, but their effects on molecular and microbial diversity of the skin are unknown. We evaluated the impact of four beauty products (a facial lotion, a moisturizer, a foot powder, and a deodorant) on 11 volunteers over 9 weeks. Results: Mass spectrometry and 16S rRNA inventories of the skin revealed decreases in chemical as well as in bacterial and archaeal diversity on halting deodorant use. Specific compounds from beauty products used before the study remain detectable with half-lives of 0.5-1.9 weeks. The deodorant and foot powder increased molecular, bacterial, and archaeal diversity, while arm and face lotions had little effect on bacterial and archaeal but increased chemical diversity. Personal care product effects last for weeks and produce highly individualized responses, including alterations in steroid and pheromone levels and in bacterial and archaeal ecosystem structure and dynamics. Conclusions: These findings may lead to next-generation precision beauty products and therapies for skin disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number47
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant. P.C.D. acknowledges funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme (Grant 634402). A.B was supported by the National Institute of Justice Award 2015-DN-BX-K047. C.C. was supported by a fellowship of the Belgian American Educational Foundation and the Research Foundation Flanders. L.Z., J.K, and K.Z. acknowledge funding from the US National Institutes of Health under Grant No. AR071731. TLK was supported by Vaadia-BARD Postdoctoral Fellowship Award No. FI-494-13.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • 16S rRNA sequencing
  • Bacteria
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Metabolomics
  • Skin
  • Skin care products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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