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Future of Natural Skincare

Bob Root, Chemical-Free Skin Health® author and Keys chief scientist

The Future of Natural Skincare: Innovations to Watch For In 2024

Nowadays, much of the natural products industry seems stalled and very introspective. Keys® has always been an innovator in our engineering culture. Much of the marketing and celebrity hype has quieted down, but the industry, in general, has stopped innovating. A few of us are carrying the torch of innovation and discovery. There are lots of exciting things going on behind the curtains.

So what will the future bring for skincare. When Keys® started, many phrases and words we used were unheard of in the skincare industry. Our affiliations with the National Institutes of Health and Universities enable us to explore major trends that are now somewhat common phrases. Microbiome, Probiome, and Science Based Skincare are fairly common, and much of the industry has adopted them without necessarily understanding what they mean. Innovation is a constant model, or companies and products die. As much as people think the industry has advanced, it still has a long way to go in understanding ingredients that are still undiscovered, but the combinations of ingredient interactions are a virtually unexplored science.

The natural skincare industry is constantly evolving, with new innovations and technologies driving the development of effective and environmentally friendly products. Keys® is also changing and in a constant improvement model driven by science and discovery. The days are over when the innovation is from synthesized chemicals that do more harm than good. Here are some of the next innovations in natural skincare that we see on the near horizon:

Science-Based Skincare.

Science-based skincare: Brands increasingly incorporate scientific research and technology into their product development, resulting in high-performance ingredients found in nature and innovative formulas. This approach empowers consumers to make well-informed decisions and delivers authentic, long-lasting results without compromise.

Science-based skincare refers to the formulation of products with active ingredients that the skin needs, with all claims backed by real science and lab studies. This approach empowers consumers to make well-informed decisions and promises authentic and long-lasting results.

Key Ingredients and Technologies in Science-Based Skincare

Science-based skincare often incorporates ingredients proven to be effective through scientific research. For example, retinoids and sunscreen have solid data backing their effectiveness in skincare.

Other ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids and antioxidants like vitamin C could help with aging skin, but the data behind them is less solid than that for retinoids and physical sunblocks.

Hyaluronic acid, a potent skin hydrator, has also been shown to improve skin elasticity and roughness. There are side effects fo a vast majority.

In terms of technology, studying and focusing on the skin microbiome and skin microecology, cell extraction, biological fermentation, etc., empower brands to develop result-first skincare products for consumers.

Some of the biggest skincare brands are also using AI, virtual try-ons, and skincare simulation.

The Role of Science in Skincare

Skincare science is evolving, with new studies often debunking previous beliefs.

For example, studies on the skin microbiome have shown that the surface-level ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and mites does not need to be maintained in any elaborate way, but we still need to learn.

Good sleep, a healthy diet, minimizing anxiety, and spending time in nature are all beneficial for the skin.

However, it’s important to note that the root cause of skin conditions is rarely surface-level. Conditions like acne, for example, are tied to gut issues, stress issues, hormonal issues, or genetics.

Therefore, while topical products can provide day-to-day support, they may not address the root cause of skin issues.

The Market for Science-Based Skincare

The market for science-based skincare is growing, with brands from all over the world developing highly effective methods by incorporating scientific research.

Brands such as MartiDerm from Spain, Deconstruct, The FormulaRx, biocule, and Minimalist are leading the way in this field.

However, consumers should be skeptical of social media and ads, as many products tout a clinical study backing them, which might make you think they’re worth your money. However, there are few strong placebo-controlled studies in humans for over-the-counter products.


Science-based skincare is a promising field that combines scientific research with skincare product development. While it offers potential benefits, consumers should be aware of the limitations of topical products and the importance of addressing the root causes of skin conditions. As the science of skincare continues to evolve, it’s crucial to stay informed and make well-informed decisions about skincare products.

The Skin Microbiome and Microecology

Skin microbiome and microecology: Studying the skin microbiome and microecology is a key area of focus for many brands, as it helps them develop result-first skincare products that cater to individual skin concerns.

The skin microbiome refers to the complex ecosystem of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites, that reside on the human skin. This diverse community plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health and protecting against pathogens.

Composition and Stability of the Skin Microbiota

The skin microbiota is composed of various microorganisms that have adapted to the skin’s environment, utilizing the sparse nutrients available. These organisms can produce molecules that inhibit the colonization of other potentially harmful microbes.

The microbiota of a healthy adult remains relatively stable over time, despite environmental changes.

Different skin sites, categorized by their physiological characteristics—sebaceous (oily), moist, or dry—harbor distinct microbial communities.

This specificity is important for understanding skin diseases that prefer certain skin sites, such as eczema and psoriasis1

Methodological Advances in Microbiome Research

Traditional culture-based methods have been used to study skin microbial communities, but these methods are biased toward microorganisms that thrive in laboratory conditions.

. Shotgun metagenomics, a more advanced technique, provides greater resolution, allowing for surveys of the skin microbiota at the kingdom, species, strain, or gene level.

.This method has revealed a higher diversity in the skin microbiota than previously recognized.

The Skin as an Ecosystem

The skin is the body’s largest organ, with a surface area of about 1.8 to 2.5 square meters, depending on the source.

It serves as a physical barrier and supports a wide range of microorganisms in its diverse habitats, which include folds, invaginations, and specialized niches.

The skin’s innate and adaptive immune responses can modulate the microbiota, but the microbiota also educates the immune system.

Impact of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors

The skin microbiome is influenced by both intrinsic factors, such as genetics and immune system status, and extrinsic factors, like environmental exposure and lifestyle.

Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the microbiome, can contribute to serious skin diseases.

.Modern research methods have identified many new types of microorganisms and have shifted towards a holistic treatment of the skin ecosystem without focusing solely on single species identification3

Challenges and Future Research

Despite progress, challenges remain in exploring and manipulating the skin microbiome. Biases in culture techniques and the need for careful methodological considerations in metagenomic analyses are among the issues that researchers face.

Additionally, it is not yet clear if shifts in the microbiome play a causative role in skin diseases, necessitating further research.

Understanding the skin microbiome is crucial for developing new strategies to promote skin health and treat skin diseases. Future research priorities include elucidating the interactions between skin microorganisms and the immune system, the relationship between the skin microbiome and other body niches, and the factors that drive variation in the microbiome.

This research also informs the development of products that support the skin’s natural barrier and overall health.

Cell extraction and biological fermentation

Cell extraction and biological fermentation: These techniques are being used by brands to create skincare products that are more potent and effective. By extracting active ingredients from plants and other natural sources, brands can create products that harness the full potential of nature’s power.

Cell extraction and biological fermentation are two innovative processes that have gained significant attention in the skincare industry for their ability to enhance the effectiveness and bioavailability of cosmetic ingredients.

Cell Extraction

Cell extraction refers to the process of obtaining specific compounds from plant or animal cells. In skincare, this can involve harnessing active ingredients that have beneficial properties for the skin, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and peptides. These compounds are often extracted using various methods, including mechanical pressing, solvent extraction, or enzymatic release. The goal is to isolate potent ingredients that can support skin health, improve hydration, and provide anti-aging benefits.

Biological Fermentation in Skincare

Biological fermentation is a process that has been used for thousands of years to preserve food and enhance its nutritional value. In the context of skincare, fermentation involves the use of microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast to break down complex natural ingredients into simpler compounds. This process can increase the potency and stability of the active ingredients, making them more effective when applied to the skin.

Fermented skincare ingredients, often referred to as bioferments, are derived from natural raw materials through fermentation with specific microbial strains. These strains can produce additional beneficial compounds, such as ceramides, amino acids, and antioxidants, which contribute to the increased biological effectiveness of the products.

For example, bio-fermented hyaluronic acid is known for its enhanced ability to hydrate the skin and reduce signs of aging.

The use of fermentation in cosmetics is beneficial for the ingredients’ potency and has environmental and technological advantages. It can lead to the reduction of carbon footprint, use of plant biomass wastes, and the development of new extraction technologies1

Moreover, certain molecules that are beneficial for skincare can only be produced through fermentation, making it an essential process in the creation of some cosmetic ingredients.

Benefits of Fermented Skincare

Fermented skincare products are known for delivering enhanced hydration, improving skin elasticity, and boosting collagen production. They can also contribute to maintaining the skin’s natural balance and enhancing its overall health. The fermentation process can make ingredients more bioavailable, meaning the skin more easily absorbs them and can provide more pronounced benefits.

In summary, cell extraction and biological fermentation are two processes that significantly contribute to skincare advancement. By isolating potent ingredients and enhancing their properties through fermentation, skincare products can become more effective in promoting healthy, youthful-looking skin. As the industry continues to explore these techniques, consumers can expect to see more innovative products that leverage the power of these biological processes.

Plant extracts and essential oils

Plant extracts and essential oils: Keys® and others are providing natural plant extracts, organic herbal extracts, and essential oils as ingredients for cosmetic products.

These natural ingredients offer an alternative to chemicals in regular skincare products, with significant benefits for both the user and the environment.

Plant extracts and essential oils have been used for centuries in skincare due to their wide range of benefits. They are derived from various parts of plants, including leaves, flowers, roots, bark, and seeds, and can be presented in multiple forms, like powders, liquids, or oils.

Essential oils, a type of plant extract, are produced through methods like steam distillation or cold pressing.

Benefits of Plant Extracts and Essential Oils in Skincare

Plant extracts and essential oils offer a variety of health benefits. Depending on which plant extracts are used in a product, these can include UV protection, antioxidant activity, inhibited tyrosinase (for brightening dark spots), and antimicrobial activity.

. Some plant extracts, like aloe and shea butter, have been used for a long time in skincare, while others, like pine bark extract and calendula, are newer additions.

Essential oils are also used in skincare for their therapeutic properties. For example, lavender oil is known for its soothing effects, while rose oil offers antioxidant benefits.

However, essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause irritation or allergic reactions if applied directly to the skin. Therefore, they are often diluted before use.

Plant Oils vs. Plant Extracts

It’s important to distinguish between essential oils and seed oils like Argan Oil, Rosehip Oil, and Avocado Oil. These oils are derived from the seed of the plant and are not fragrant. Instead, they’re often used in skincare to hydrate and moisturize.

On the other hand, plant extracts are useful substances derived from various parts of plants. These extracts are derived by combining the chosen plant material with a solvent, a substance capable of dissolving the plant’s components, to release its active ingredients.

Popular Plant Extracts and Essential Oils in Skincare

Some of the most popular plant extracts used in skincare include aloe, shea butter, pine bark extract, and calendula.

Essential oils commonly used in skincare include lavender, rose, thyme, peppermint, and cinnamon.


Plant extracts and essential oils offer a wide range of benefits for skincare, from UV protection to antioxidant activity. Always patch-test new products to avoid potential skin irritation or allergic reactions

All-natural, plant-based skincare

All-natural, plant-based skincare: Brands like Keys® are delivering premium handcrafted, all-natural, plant-based skincare products that are free from parabens, formaldehyde donors, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and harmful toxins. By leveraging the principles of aromatherapy and high-quality essential and carrier oils, these products offer a holistic approach to skincare.

All-natural, plant-based skincare is a growing trend in the beauty industry, emphasizing the use of ingredients derived from plants and avoiding synthetic chemicals. This approach to skincare is rooted in the belief that natural ingredients can offer effective, gentle, and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional cosmetic products.

Benefits of Plant-Based Skincare

Plant-based skincare products are often rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for maintaining healthy skin. These bioactive compounds can help to nourish the skin, promote collagen production, and protect against environmental damage. Brands like Pangea Organics highlight the potency of nature-rich ingredients sourced globally, ensuring that their products are both sustainable and effective.

.Sustainability and Ethics

A key aspect of all-natural, plant-based skincare is the commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. Companies like Pangea Organics and Veg Out Organics prioritize recyclable, compostable, and renewable packaging, as well as cruelty-free product testing.

This approach extends to the entire supply chain, from sourcing ingredients to manufacturing and distribution, with a focus on minimizing the environmental impact.

Skin Microbiome and Mindfulness

The skin microbiome, which is the community of microorganisms living on the skin, is an important consideration in plant-based skincare. Products that contain prebiotics and probiotics can support the health of the skin microbiome, promoting a balanced and resilient skin barrier.

Additionally, brands often encourage mindfulness in skincare routines, emphasizing the connection between mental well-being and skin health.

Product Range and Ingredients.

Plant-based skincare lines offer a variety of products, from cleansers and moisturizers to serums and exfoliators. Ingredients like jojoba oil, iron oxide, and carnauba wax are commonly used for their skin-friendly properties, such as moisturizing, providing non-toxic color, and ensuring a smooth application.

Diet and Skincare

The link between diet and skin health is also a part of the plant-based skincare philosophy. A diet rich in colorful, plant-based foods like blueberries, chia seeds, and turmeric can enhance skin health from the inside out.

. This holistic approach to beauty emphasizes that what we put into our bodies is just as important as what we apply to our skin.Vegan and Non-Toxic Options.

Many consumers are turning to vegan and non-toxic skincare options, which are free from animal-derived ingredients and harmful chemicals. Brands like Veg Out Organics and Ecco Bella offer vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO products, ensuring that consumers can choose clean beauty options without compromising on quality or performance.


All-natural, plant-based skincare represents a shift towards more conscious beauty practices. By choosing products from brands that prioritize natural ingredients, ethical production, and sustainability, consumers can enjoy effective skincare while supporting the health of the planet. As the clean beauty movement continues to gain momentum, it’s likely that plant-based skincare will become an even more prominent part of the beauty industry.

GAI in Natural Skincare Product Development: Some beauty brands are using artificial intelligence, virtual try-ons, and skincare simulation to deliver a more personalized user experience. At Keys® we use Perplexity Generative AI to simulate the effects of ingredients on the skin, but also the interactions of whole ingredients to add to more efficacy. 1+1=3

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GAI) is revolutionizing the beauty and skincare industry, particularly in the development of natural skincare products. This transformation is driven by GAI’s ability to analyze vast amounts of data, optimize formulations, and provide personalized recommendations, leading to more sustainable practices and products.

GAI in Personalized Skincare Formulations

AI can harness individual data to develop personalized skincare formulations that address specific skin concerns. Brands are already using AI to formulate new products more efficiently, safely, and ethically.

For instance, AI can analyze customer feedback, ingredient properties, and environmental impact assessments to help researchers and developers create cleaner, safer, and more effective skincare products.

AI-powered tools like Yuty use questionnaires to analyze data on everything from skin concerns to lifestyle factors. From this data, algorithms can suggest tailored skincare routines and product combinations. This level of personalization extends beyond generic product categories to specific recommendations, such as moisturizers suitable for someone living in a polluted city and suffering from burnout.

GAI in Skin Analysis and Product Recommendation

AI is also pushing the boundaries in skin analysis. Technologies like Perfect Corp’s Skin Type Detection AI can analyze up to 14 different skin conditions and generate a complete skin report. Similarly, Haut, AI’s Phygital Skin AI Tool, combines clinical-level skin analysis with personalized recommendations.

GAI can adapt to changes in skin conditions due to aging or seasonal changes, refining its recommendations to suggest even more personalized options. Some beauty brands are already offering AI-powered mobile apps, online services, and in-store experiences utilizing facial scanning and machine learning technology.

GAI in Sustainable Skincare Product Development

AI is playing a crucial role in creating a more sustainable beauty industry. By optimizing product development, discovering sustainable ingredients, and promoting eco-friendly manufacturing, AI can help the beauty industry minimize its ecological footprint.

GAI can also enhance packaging solutions and maximize supply chains, leading to more sustainable practices. For instance, beauty brands are developing more sustainable packaging and refillable options, with AI helping to overcome challenges such as microbial contamination1

The Future of GAI in Natural Skincare Product Development

While GAI’s impact on the beauty industry is already significant, its potential is far from fully realized. As AI continues to evolve, it is poised to help companies better understand customer needs while reducing waste. The age of personalized, eco-friendly beauty is here, all thanks to artificial intelligence.

GAI is transforming the natural skincare product development process by enabling personalization, enhancing sustainability, and optimizing formulations. As AI technology continues to advance, it is set to revolutionize the beauty industry even further.


The future of natural skincare is bright, with innovations in science-based skincare, skin microbiome research, cell extraction, biological fermentation, GAI technology, plant extracts, and all-natural, plant-based products driving the industry forward. These advancements promise to deliver more effective, personalized, and environmentally friendly skincare solutions for consumers.

Now you know.