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SMiHA manager gives talk at ‘It’s a micro-bug’s life’

13 Oct 2022

SMiHA shares how ageing alters the skin microbiome as cosmetic scientist event

SMiHA manager Rachael Williams gave a talk at the Society of Cosmetic Scientists (SCS) RDG North Event “It’s a Micro-bug’s Life!” – An afternoon seminar exploring issues around product protection and an insight into our microbiome and its importance in ageing skin. Rachael joined a panal of four expert speakers to explore the issues around preservation and learn more about the importance of our microbiome in skin ageing.  The speaker presentations were followed by a panel discussion where attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and have direct discussions with the experts.

The experts included: Caroline Rainsford (CTPA- LinkedIn) who discussed the role of preservatives in cosmetic and personal care products and how preservatives are regulated in the EU and UK, including the challenges the regulatory framework can present to the maintenance of a wide palette of preservatives.  She discussed the importance of communicating the essential nature of preservatives to regulators, consumers and the media and the work that the European industry is doing in this space.

Liam Stephens (Melbec Microbiology- LinkedIn) reviewed the challenges of microbiological testing in the development and production of cosmetic products, which microorganisms to use, which test methods and what to do if there are problems on plant!

Sally Reynolds (Clariant- LinkedIn) explored the reduced palette of Annex V preservatives and how other multifunctional ingredients can be used to help with the protection of cosmetic products.

Finally, Rachael Williams (SMiHA manager and Hair and Skin Biologist from the Centre for Skin Sciences, The University of Bradford- LinkedIn) discussed Skin ageing and the microbiome: What we know and what we need. The talk explored the role of the microbiome within skin ageing, what is missing in the field, and how the SMiHA network is coming together to better understand the role of the microbiome in skin ageing and translate this to better ageing outcomes for the public.

The panel discussion highlighted a need for better consumer education around the importance of preservatives in a time where social media is creating a sometime unnecessary fear culture of preservatives which are there to protect the user from harmful microbes.

Rachael always enjoys events hosted by the SCS and was thrilled to be asked to speak at the event in York and commented ‘It was great to connect with the other side of industry who’s job is to protect consumers from microbial contamination but also to give the other side of coin and discuss how our skin microbiome alters with age as well as bring awareness of the SMiHA network’.

For more information on the SCS society and their upcoming events check out their website:


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