Mary Kay Inc. partners with Dr. Jack Gilbert to study skin’s Microbiome

Jack Gilbert, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego

Mary Kay Inc., a skincare research firm, has announced a partnership with Dr. Jack Gilbert, professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and professor of microbial oceanography at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Why did Mary Kay strike a partnership with Dr. Gilbert?

Previous research concluded that human skin has complex ecosystem of bacteria and other microorganisms that serve as its healthy foundation. Much like what has been found in the gut, human skin—the body’s largest organ—needs these bacteria for optimal function.

These bacterial communities also maintain a unique signature based on location, age, gender, and interaction with the environment. There is very limited knowledge of what factors contribute to the variable bacterial communities on the skin and their impact on aging.

The partnership with Dr. Gilbert is the latest effort by Mary Kay to reinforce the brand’s long-standing commitment to advancing skin health research and development. Mary Kay holds more than 1,600 patents for products, technologies, and packaging designs in its portfolio.

What is Dr. Gilbert’s expertise in the field?

“Understanding how our aging process influences microbiota of the skin may provide startling new discoveries that shape the future in designing cosmetic products. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Dr. Gilbert to better understand the impact of the microbiome in overall skin health,” said Dr. Lucy Gildea, Chief Innovation Officer, Product and Science at Mary Kay Inc.

Scientists at Mary Kay will work in conjunction with Dr. Gilbert to study one of the most important, but least understood, areas of aging and skin health: the skin Microbiome.

In 2022, Dr. Gilbert became co-director of the Microbiome and Metagenomics Center at UC San Diego, part of the National Institutes of Health’s $175m Nutrition for Precision Health program. Scientists at Mary Kay hope to explore how different skin attributes are associated with microbial shifts. “There’s a knowledge gap here. We hope to bridge it,” Dr. Gildea added.