Skinome: No preservatives or additives needed
By John Sempill | Photos: Skinome
What if we told you your skin is less human than you think? Would you believe us? Take a look through a microscope and you’ll most likely agree.
Skinome founder Johanna Gillbro’s journey into the world of skincare started with a vitiligo diagnosis as a child. “When I was young, I loved these white spots,” says Gillbro. “My parents were lovely and made me feel safe with my condition. I felt like a spotty puppy. But that all changed when I became a teenager – during those years, you would rather just be like everyone else.”
This led to a variety of treatments and medical experiments in her late teens. She would even become one of the first patients to undergo skin transplants. “But nothing worked”, she says. “The vitiligo actually got worse.”
Dermatological studies in England would follow, where a huge discovery was made. “I worked together with dermatology professor, Karin Schallreuter,” Gillbro says. “She switched research fields from melanoma to vitiligo, and found a treatment with a specific cream that achieved its full effect in conjunction with bathing in the Dead Sea for 15 minutes, twice a day for three weeks.”
Gillbro was able to treat her own skin and recovered almost all of the lost pigment in her face using this method. When she came back to Sweden, she found that several skincare companies took interest in her accumulated knowledge. This led to work in the skincare industry, where she quickly made a profound observation. “A lot of the products on the shelf are packed with preservatives and other additives that help give the product a long shelf life,” she explains. “However, the bacterial flora on our skin is disturbed by this, something we recently discovered is key to the wellbeing of our skin. I realised I would never purchase these products. I always made my own fresh creams at the lab. To avoid using preservatives, I have always kept my skincare in the fridge, and this is also something we ask our customers to do today.”
However, Gillbro insists she isn’t an entrepreneur. Starting a business wasn’t on the cards. “But I couldn’t escape it,” she explains. “Then I bumped into someone who was an entrepreneur, who really believed in the idea. We founded the company together in 2018, but the formulas and the research had taken over ten years. Today, we have a big team in Stockholm with our own laboratory, which enables us to continue our research and development. We’ve recruited specialists from all over the world. Most of our skincare chemists originate from France. This is an expertise we lack in Sweden.”
Gillbro stresses another point: if you dip your finger in a tub of crème fraîche, mould will begin to grow. This will however not happen after dipping your finger in a tub of your everyday skincare cream, even in a warm and humid bathroom. Why? As mentioned above, the skincare cream is loaded with preservatives. We don’t pack our food with preservatives – not to the same extent, at least – so why pack our skincare products with preservatives?
WE HAVE LIFTOFF
Skinome was launched, with a core focus on skincare products that are genuinely good for our skin, without the use of preservatives and additives, with production solely in Sweden. This is sustainable and allows for smaller production batches, perfect for a product with a naturally reduced shelf life. This also helps keep waste to a minimum. And the water used in Skinome’s products comes from Dalarna – a picturesque landscape in the middle of Sweden, known for having the purest water in the country.
Even the label on each product tells a story. “The wavy design represents our skin, and the sun logo, as we call it, shows where the product is active on the skin.” Gillbro adds that the products are unisex. “Skin health is not about gender, it’s about taking care of our individual skin needs.”
Looking ahead, an interesting product launch is on the horizon: a skincare product they call Probiotic Concentrate. “This is living bacteria, and is the first Swedish product of its kind. There is only a small number of companies in the world with products using living bacteria.” She also tells us that an interesting side effect was discovered during the clinical trials. “We discovered that, apart from having great effects on sensitive skin, it also gave visible results on lines and wrinkles after only three weeks. This wasn’t expected after such a short period and was considered a very nice additional effect.”
In case you’re still wondering what the name Skinome means: the ‘ome’ after ‘skin’ comes from the word microbiome, which is the bacterial flora on our bodies. “We happen to have more bacterial DNA on and inside our bodies than human DNA,” Gillbro reveals. “So, we are actually more bacterial than human. We need to take care of these stowaways – they make us who we are!”
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