Bacteria in your skin can keep you looking young

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Bacteria in your skin can keep you looking young

Cosmax has discovered a new species of microorganism that lives in the human skin and has anti-aging effects, the company announced Thursday.

The recent discovery, named Epidermidibacterium keratini, or EPI-7, boosts the production of collagen which is known to increase skin strength and elasticity. It also increases filaggrin and ceramide, both substances that moisturize the skin, according to the company.

Human skin contains a wide variety of microorganisms forming an ecosystem of its own, but not much is known about their respective roles and effects. EPI-7 is the first microorganism in the skin that scientists believe has anti-aging effects.

Skin care products often contain microorganisms to boost moisturizing or calming effects, but most of them are found in the intestines and have to be treated in order to be safely used on human skin.

“Even if a microorganism is proven to be beneficial for the intestines, this doesn’t mean that it can be directly applied to skin products because they are very different environments,” said a Cosmax spokesman.

“EPI-7, on the other hand, is a microorganism that comes from the skin and we have already proven that it has an anti-aging effect so we’ll be able to directly use it for such purposes.”

EPI-7 grows at a temperature similar to the human body, the company said, and will be used in a wide variety of products like sheet masks and facial creams in the future.

The local manufacturer produces beauty and skin care products for big-name clients like Amorepacific and L’Oreal. Since 2011, its lab has been researching the microorganisms that live inside human skin.

Cosmax’s particular focus for the microorganism research was on finding microorganisms related to anti-aging. EPI-7 was found after a skin sample analysis of more than 100 people. EPI-7 is most abundant in the skins of women in their early 20s. After that age range, the amount gradually decreases.

“The beauty market has been lacking new anti-aging technology for some time now,“ said Cosmax Chairman Lee Kyung-soo. “Our discovery will open new opportunities for the development of anti-aging products.”

The company has the sole right to use EPI-7 in skin products in Korea and plans to obtain approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on the substance’s anti-aging effect by the second half of the year. Preparations for global patents are also under way.

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