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Skin Microbiome Sampling Study - November 2020

The recently identified importance of the skin microbiome  - that is the living skin mircroflora - for a healthy skin raises the interesting question of how skin care products and cosmetics affect the ecological equilibrium of the microbiota colonising our skin and how we could modify the microbiome in our advantage and prevent unwanted effects.

We are working with Labskin, based in York (UK), to help them establish a human skin model with a skin microbiome. In order to do this we need to collect a sample of the normal skin microbiome from the cheek/face of 50 volunteer subjects.

This study is open to all genders.

Contacting Skin Microbiome Sampling Study to volunteer

Contact us by email to register your interest to take part in the study. Our study dates are as follows:

  • Tuesday 10 November 2020
  • Thursday 12 November 2020

Information for volunteers

The skin microbiome can be easily collected from human volunteers and processed to preserve its composition and viability. Our study partner, Innovenn UK Ltd already make a near identical engineered skin substitute – Labskin - and now plan to transplant the human skin microbiome to this model for use in cosmetics research.

Ethics approval has been granted by the Chair of the Biomedical, Natural, Physical and Health Sciences Research Ethics Panel at the University of Bradford on 24 September 2020.

This is a study requiring collection of your natural facial skin surface microflora – the ‘microbiome’. Thus it is very important that all procedures are carried out very carefully using sterile equipment.

Your participation

  • Before you are invited to take part, we will check that you meet all the inclusion criteria (supplied by email).
  • Your appointment will be for 20 minutes and you will be asked to sign an informed consent form (supplied by email) before you attend or on the day of the appointment.
  • As with all research studies, you can withdraw at any time without having to give a reason, by emailing the study coordinator Dr Gill Westgate
  • Your personal information will be kept confidential and only your gender and age will be provided to our research partner Labskin and all samples will be anonymised.
  • The Covid-19 situation means that the study staff will be wearing face masks and shields (PPE) and the areas you will visit will be thoroughly cleaned between visits.

It is very important that you do not wear any make up prior to the visit, or use face creams/serums etc. Gentle soap washing and facial shaving are fine. The technician will look at your face to determine all traces of make-up are removed and will inform you whether they will sample the right or left cheek. 

Collection procedure

Wearing gloves and other PPE, the technician will remove a sterile stainless steel ring from its packaging and will placing the ring on the skin on your cheek and hold it there firmly. Once the ring is placed on the skin it must not move so you will be asked to keep still. The technician will place 1ml sterile wash fluid onto your skin inside the ring and will use a plastic rod with a rounded end to gently rub the skin surface for one minute and then the fluid will be removed and paced into a sterile tube. The wash will be repeated again immediately and the second wash added to the first. After this the ring will be removed and a tissue used to gently dry your skin.

You will be shown to a room where you can reapply cosmetic products if you wish and then you will be free to go.