Until recently the beauty industry could generally be split into traditional beauty formulators using often high-tech, lab-developed ingredients, and those taking an all-natural approach using only botanical ingredients that haven’t been altered too much from their original state.
Now, there’s a swiftly-increasing camp that straddles these approaches that meets the demands of efficacious products, conscious consumerism and wider environmental issues.
Biotechnology is technology that utilises biological systems, living organisms or parts of this, to develop or create different products. The scope of this process is huge, for example, using yeast to bake bread is one way to explain the approach.
In regards to skincare, biotech beauty is a widely used term that can be used to describe the following: – ingredients that are derived from a natural ingredient initially but reproduced or advanced in a lab, fusing natural ingredients with synthetic ones, or creating synthetic alternatives to natural ingredients, often in consideration and protection of the planet’s finite natural resources.
A hugely growing area of the beauty industry given the growing concerns around sustainable and ethical ingredient sourcing, delivering key actives via these routes will only become more visible in the coming years. Biotech ingredients offer the same and sometimes better results as 100% naturally obtained ingredients, but have a reduced negative impact on the environment.
Biotech beauty ingredients are commonly made from bacteria, yeast and algae.
One of the most visible examples is the huge global success of brand Biossance. Blending science and sustainably to create clean and safe skincare, the brand is famous for mastering the ability to use yeast to convert (sustainable and renewable) sugarcane into the skin-nourishing emollient squalane, previously sourced elsewhere from the liver of sharks.
Peptides derived from plant stem cells is another key area of growth. Expect to hear much more from brands using this approach in the coming years.