As a scientist at Ellis Day Skin Science, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share why I’m so excited about microbes called phages and how phage science can revolutionize skincare.
Just to set the stage, bacteriophages (or “phages”) are microbes that target and eliminate bacteria; phages are nature’s antibacterial and each bacteria has a unique phage, which is its arch nemesis, so to speak. For many of you, this may be the first time you are hearing about phages and their role in the skin microbiome, but I’m actually a giant nerd who has pretty much been in love with these fascinating and yes, adorable, microbes for almost half of my life. It all started my first year of graduate school; my advisor, Dr. Graham Hatfull, a renowned scientist and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, introduced me to the world of bacteriophages - tiny microorganisms that infect and kill bacteria and outnumber every other form of life on this planet, like, by a lot! I instantly knew that this was a field of research unlike anything I had heard before, and I was hooked. This experience inspired my life-long love of phages.
I can talk forever about why phages are so amazing! These little guys aren’t even really alive per se. But when they encounter their host bacteria (like some of the bad bacteria on your skin), phages use their needle-like tails to inject their DNA into the bacterial cell. Once inside, they hijack the bacterial machinery and turn the cell into a little ‘phage phactory’. Eventually, this kills the bacterium, which releases new phages that can go on to eliminate more bacteria. Each type of phage is very specific for one type of bacterial cell, so phages don’t kill all bacteria like antibiotics or other antibacterial skincare products. They only destroy their specific bacterial host! This is why they can be used to precisely target one type of problem bacteria, without disrupting the whole bacterial ecosystem or, in our case, the skin microbiome.
After completing my PhD, I took a postdoctoral position at UCLA in the lab of Dr. Robert Modlin, a dermatologist studying phages that kill a specific kind of bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes for short). These bacteria live on skin, especially the ‘sebum-rich’ (oily) skin of the face and upper back. What’s really fascinating about C. acnes is that although they are found on everyone, they can cause a variety of skin problems: blemishes, breakouts, inflammation, and redness. So at UCLA, I studied phages that infect and kill C. acnes bacteria on the skin.
This is when I started to see the real possibility of using phages in skincare: phages have the potential to replace harsh ingredients (even in prescriptions) that kill bacteria but wreak havoc on the skin microbiome. Instead, bioactive phages can effectively target bad bacteria, balance the skin microbiome, and therefore, empower you with healthy, resilient, and radiant skin naturally. As luck (or destiny!) would have it, a few years into my work at UCLA, I was contacted by a small indie brand that was doing just that very thing….and, as you probably guessed, that little company turned into Ellis Day Skin Science! Creating phage-based skincare products is no easy task, since phages can be delicate, and difficult to ‘manufacture’ reliably at a commercial scale. The team kept at it though, and after a lot of work, the first phage-based skin serum was born. Wild Resilience™ is truly one-of-a-kind, and we’re proud to say that it contains a proprietary blend of phages that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It targets several strains of the most common C. acnes bacteria, which is why it is effective against blemishes, breakouts, inflammation, and redness. Also, we’ve designed the blend of phages so that the bacteria that our phages target can’t develop resistance to them, like bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics. So, when you use Wild Resilience daily long-term, it will continue to be effective.
I’m thrilled to share my love of phages with the world at Ellis Day Skin Science, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of phage science and phage-based skincare! If you have any science-based questions for me or anyone else on our team, please feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Cheers to science and resilience,