Published Research

World Leaders in Skin Microbiome Biodiversity Research

"Our cutting edge Skin Microbiome Biodiversity Research is done in association with top universities in Europe."

"The aim of our research is to try and find out the cause of the Skin Allergy Epidemic in the Western World."

Sam and Kit
The Skin Twins

Table of Contents

Paper #1: Our discovery of the first skin health measuring mechanism using biodiversity

Paper #2: Are synthetic ingredients in every day cosmetics damaging the skin?

Paper #3: Is transepidermal water loss a good measure of skin health?

Paper #4: What does "Healthy" Western Skin look like?

A New Benchmark to Determine What Healthy Western Skin Looks Like

Our 2020 paper finds a benchmark for measuring healthy western skin using biodiversity of the skin microbiome. Our preliminary results also showed adults aged 28–37 have the highest average diversity, and adults aged 48–57 have the lowest average diversity.

The primary objective of this study was to obtain a benchmark value for the microbial diversity found on healthy western skin, using the Chao1 index. This benchmark was used to update our 2017 skin health measuring mechanism. It used 50 human participants from Graz in Austria and at a read depth of 6600 sequences, we found the average Chao1 diversity to be ~180. 

Previous work with a larger sample size was unsatisfactory to use as a benchmark because different diversity indices and evaluation methodologies were used. Because of this study, we can transfer other benchmarks of skin microbiome diversity to the methodology used in this work from our 2017 study, such as “unhealthy western skin” and “caveman/perfect skin”. This could help with assessing whether patients need help strengthening their skin. 

In future work, we aim to improve our mechanism by obtaining benchmark diversity values from a larger sample size for any age, sex, body site, and area of residence, to which subjects can be compared. 

Paper #5: The Microbiome and Topical Steroid Withdrawal

Our 2021 paper showed that skin and gut microbiome interventions could help skin condition of patients suffering with adverse effects after stopping long-term topical steroid use.

The average improvement in skin symptoms for all participants was 40%, and average symptom improvement ranged from 14% for Patient 5 to 92% for Patient 1. On average, the participants saw an improvement in 85% of their symptoms and stagnation or regression in 11% and 4%, respectively.

After commonly being prescribed for eczema, cessation of topical steroid use, especially after long periods of inappropriate use, can leave lasting adverse effects on the body and skin, known by some as topical steroid withdrawal (TSW).  

The skin microbiome was addressed by using a 100% natural product shown to significantly increase skin microbiome biodiversity. Three of seven participants implemented dietary changes and supplementation in response to fecal sample analysis.

The small sample size and lack of a control group means that more definitive conclusions should be reserved for our follow-up work.

Paper #6: Effectiveness of topical Probiotics

Topical Probiotics Do Not Satisfy New Criteria for Effective Use

Our 2021 paper proposed a set of criteria for topical probiotics to adhere to for safe and effective use for the skin microbiome. To form the basis of the criteria, we redefined the term “probiotics” and discussed successful and unsuccessful high-profile examples of the artificial addition of organisms to ecosystems in nature to understand what worked and what did not. Probiotics are often immediately assumed to have health benefits. However, as ecologists are aware, interfering with ecosystems is potentially catastrophic. The addition or removal of just one organism can significantly upset the delicate ecosystem balance. If our criteria are not met, we argue that topical probiotics could also cause damage and will not be beneficial. Due to the large intra- and inter-personal variation of the skin microbiome, our current knowledge of a healthy skin microbiome composition is not complete enough to fully satisfy the criteria. In follow-up work, we will investigate whether current topical probiotics research and commercial products meet our new criteria. We will also discuss problems with how to measure their effectiveness and suggest alternative solutions to replacing the lost biodiversity of the skin microbiome that was stripped away by environmental factors in the Western world.

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