Modern life can be harsh on our skin. The realities of high-tech and high-stress lives make it difficult to achieve the glowing, healthy, dewy skin we desire. Enter Synbiome, a skincare line that uses cutting-edge research to undo the effects of modern living. Scientists at Symbiome believe that by studying our ancestral microbiome, we can determine what is missing from our skin and restore the balance and resilience it once had before UberEats or Zoom calls. We sit down with Larry Weiss, MD, founder and CEO of Symbiome, to learn more about the company’s mission.
What inspired you to create Symbiome?
I quit the practice of medicine over 30 years ago to begin an epic quest to understand human health better. Like every physician, I was taught the “Germ Theory of Disease,” where bacteria were bad actors who could make us sick. We had to treat them aggressively with antibiotics. Microbiome research has fundamentally changed our understanding of microbial life. The “Germ Theory of Health” has evolved into a nuanced, comprehensive view of the microbial world. The best way to avoid skin issues and diseases is by having a resilient and balanced microbiome. In 2017, I founded Symbiome, an innovative microbiome biotechnology firm, to translate new science into skincare products that restore our skin’s resilience, health, and beauty. The name Symbiome was chosen because it’s a scientific term that describes the amazing coevolving microbiome ecosystem, which is the foundation of human health.
How does Symbiome approach skincare? What makes it different from the other brands of skincare on the market today?
The majority of skincare products are made up of individual ingredients (often called “buzzy”) that are combined to correct specific skin issues, much like medications are designed to treat illnesses. This doesn’t answer the question as to why there are so many skin conditions and diseases. Symbiome was the first skincare company to create products that restored our skin’s resilience, reducing the likelihood of these problems occurring. Symbiome scientists found that after years of studying the evolution biology of the ancestral skin’s microbiome, they have lost the majority of this ancestral microbiome. Symbiome products are minimally formulated using fermented botanical postbiotics, which we call Postbiomic ™. Postbiomic(tm), our Postbiotic(tm) ingredients, are sustainably derived in the Amazon rainforest. They restore the functional contribution that microbes have lost over the years.
Symbiome’s Postbiomic ™ fermentation occurs in Brazil’s Caatinga Biome, where plants from the Amazon rainforest are fermented naturally with microbes that come from the microbiome of the plant. Our Postbiomic(tm), fermentation process is optimized for maximum potency and benefits from ancient biological relationships. This is because these plants and microbes have coevolved over millions of years. Fermentation can take weeks, but it may also be longer, depending on the product. Ingredients are then packaged and formulated in California.
Why does our microbiome affect our skin health?
Your skin microbiome, which you cannot see or touch, is just as “you” (as the skin you can see and communicate). It’s a diverse and complex microbial ecosystem ecosystem that is deeply embedded in your skin. This is your first-line defense. The “colonization-resistance” and the “immune modulation” are two of the most critical functions of your microbiome. This is the way your skin microbiome keeps potential disease-causing invaders at bay. Immune modulation involves the coordination of your microbiome with your immune system in order to regulate your resistant response intensity to invader microbes and stress. In case of a tense situation, it is the bouncer’s backup team. Together, the microbiome and immune system work to prevent inflammation and infection.
Symbiome’s research on the evolution biology of skin microbiomes has revealed that the modern microbiome of our skin has lost at least 25% of its metabolic function and almost 80% of its diversity. In the past, our skin was covered in a biofilm of microbes, which protected us from UV rays and oxidative stresses and provided essential nutrients to nourish our skin. We have literally removed our biofilm because of our modern lifestyle and industrialized environment. Our skin rusts (oxidizes) and becomes starved without this protection from the biofilm blanket. Symbiome’s research has found a solution to this problem and restored much of the biofilm blanket.
What is the role of Symbiome formulas in restoring our skin microbiome?
Despite the efforts of numerous research groups from around the globe, scientists still haven’t found a solution to restore “missing microbes” or the hundreds of species we have lost. Symbiome uses natural fermentations from sustainably harvested rainforest botanicals. They are then blended to create a skincare product that is biologically intact and restores much protection and metabolic support we’ve lost. The result is beautiful, healthy, and resilient skin.
Why did you choose to focus your efforts on this project?
ACT was founded by Dr. Mark Plotkin, Liliana Márrigal, and others in response to the destruction and loss of biological diversity and biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest. ACT has been a leader in focusing, implementing, and inspiring its efforts over the last 25 years. ACT is unique in that it includes the diverse cultures of indigenous people living in the Amazon. The fate of rainforests is closely linked to the future of indigenous peoples who have lived in the Amazon for millennia. The lack of a connection with the biome where we live is a major contributor to our non-sustainable environmental practices and behaviors. Symbiome shares ACT’s dedication to preserving biodiversity in the Amazon rainforest at all levels. We are proud to collaborate and support ACT. We encourage you to do the same.
We also collaborate and support The Good Project, a nonprofit organization that supports and preserves the way of life of Yanomami hunter-gatherers in isolated communities. David Good founded The Good Project. He is half Yanomami and one of today’s leading field microbiologists. Our collaboration is an international academic research project that investigates the evolution microbiology of human microbiome.
Which Symbiome product would you choose to bring with you to an island desert?
The metaphor is valid because I am also a chemist and formulated the products. Each product has a unique history, lineage, and personality. Each product has its impressive lineage, history, and nature. They are rare and precious rainforest children with sensory experiences that connect us to ancient botanical, microbiological, and ethnobotanical traditions. Each Symbiome product tells a unique story that is tailored to the individual. If I had to choose one, I would pick The Answer Reparative Serum. The combination of The Answer with The One and The Renewal is perfect for a deserted island climate.