[EXCLUSIVE] Getting Skin [Bacteria] Deep with the Founder of Gallinée, Dr Marie Drago

If you’d been told years ago that slathering bacteria on your face is the way to go for scoring great skin, you’d hardly believe it. Who could blame you as this was a brand new idea that’s yet to be introduced by the founder of microbiome beauty brand, Gallinée.

Get inside the inventive mind of Dr Marie Drago, the avid champion for microbiome beauty | Image credit: Gallinée

After being diagnosed with an inflammatory disease in her 20s, Dr Marie Drago turned to a prebiotic and probiotic diet that could improve her symptoms. The gobsmacking results led her to apply the same principle to skincare which lead to the conception of Gallinée, a good bacteria-infused skincare and hair care range that nurtures your body’s microbiome.

Although terms like ‘microbiome’ and ‘probiotic’ are relatively new ones introduced into the modern beauty world, their monumental impact has started to change the way we look at skincare and bacteria. What’s more, the infusion of good bacteria in beauty products is beginning to pick up, so we had a chat with the lovely Dr Marie to delve deeper into this growing practice and find out why her thriving company is a godsend for sensitive skin:

what exactly is the meaning of ‘microbiome skin care’?

It just means skincare to care not only for your skin, but for the good bacteria living on it. It’s more than a buzzword in my opinion, it’s a revolution! For the first time, we understand that the skin is more than just human cells, it’s a living organ where a lot of communication happens, and by supporting this ecosystem we can really help the skin.

What are the benefits of using probiotics for your skin?

Probiotics have been used for a long time in skincare as we could observe their anti-inflammatory effects. Now we understand why: good bacteria keep the skin immune response in check, lowering the inflammation. It means it’s great for sensitive skin, but also inflammageing.

That’s why at Gallinée we don’t only use probiotics, we add prebiotics (food for the good bacteria already on your skin) and lactic acid (to create the perfect environment for your bacteria). That way on top of lowering inflammation, we help rebuild the skin barrier and balance the right kind of bacteria on skin.

Take a gander at Gallinée’s extensive skincare and haircare range, available at Sephora, that has got all your beauty needs covered!

How are probiotic skincare products different from regular skincare products that are marketed as “gentle towards sensitive skin”?

Some sensitive skincare are just helping rebuild the skin barrier with filming agents, such as paraffine. Probiotic (and also prebiotic) skincare are interesting because they help the bacteria to rebuild the skin barrier. I find it a more natural way of helping sensitive skin, as it’s just supporting the existing ecosystem. You will also find sensitive skincare with soothing actives, but they usually only focus on the skin, and not on the microbiome.

Knowing that good bacteria are involved, what made tyndalised bacteria the best pick amongst others when it came to skincare?

There are three types of bacteria that you can include in a beauty product. First comes live bacteria. It is very innovative, but I found that they are not a lot more effective than tyndalised ones, and much harder to keep in a product.

Most probiotic skincare is made with bacteria lysates, which means a soup with bits of bacteria. They might be interesting in some cases, but quality varies enormously.

Then, you have tyndalised bacteria which are gently killed by heat and their structure is kept intact. As tyndalised bacteria are still intact, they can be recognised by the skin receptors and I found this very interesting. It’s the perfect mix of quality and safety.

Who can reap the most benefits from probiotic skincare?

People with sensitive skin or skin prone to eczema. Good probiotic skincare is great at reducing sensitivity and redness. It also prevents ageing as a bonus.

what are the common mistakes made, especially by sensitive skin people, which disrupt the skin’s natural pH value and bacterial balance?

Overcleansing is the first one that comes to mind. Removing dirt and make-up is good, but this squeaky clean feeling means the skin barrier is damaged.

The latest addition to the Gallinée family? This soothing, nourishing Eye Contour Cream that aims to combat those dark circles and wrinkles

what are some of the most surprising things you’ve learned about probiotic skin care or the process of bringing it to life?

From the start I was surprised at how hydrating our range was. It turns out that prebiotics are really good to rebuild the skin barrier and bring hydration to the skin, even if the textures are super-light! The science is also so new that we keep discovering massive things all the time. Three years ago, we weren’t sure about eczema, but now we know the bacteria responsible for it.

One thing to look forward to: soon you’ll be using acne bacteria as an anti ageing ingredient. You read it here first!

In your opinion, what do beauty brands tend to overlook when it comes to skincare for sensitive skin?

I think when it comes to sensitive skin, less is more. It is a bit counterintuitive for beauty brands, but I always recommend using as few products as possible. Your skin and its microbiome should be working well together, so you just want to support this ecosystem, not fight against it.

And inside a beauty product, ingredients should be stripped back too: no colourant, no perfume, as little preservative as possible: nothing that could trigger sensitivity.

Looks like GallinÉe has some plans to expand beyond the skin and hair care range, including supplements and toothpaste. Are there any plans to get into the make-up game too?

I’d love to! The Coronavirus has slowed our development plans, but we aim to care for all the bacteria on your bodies, there’s so much innovation to unleash!

For the sceptic or the uninformed, what’s your best elevator pitch to get them to try out GallinÉe?

Gallinée is the first brand to take care of your microbiome, it’s the most innovative solution for sensitive skin. Our products work with your skin, not against. We have 4 patents, 12 products and thousands of happy skins. After all, you are 50% bacteria, care for them!