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Previous studies have found that repeated exposure to natural biodiversity lowers the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing the risk of developing inflammation-mediated diseases. With today’s increased sanitisation and urban living, our skin’s natural microbial diversity has been significantly reduced. Exposure to nature’s rich biodiversity is essential for the immune system to function correctly.
Re-Connecting Nature™ microbial extract is an easy way to renew this exposure.
Re-Connecting Nature™ is a patented and pioneering microbial extract developed at the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki. It mimics the diverse microbial communities found in Finland’s unique habitats. Diverse microbial exposure is essential for exercising the immune system and maintaining the body’s defences. When Re-Connecting Nature™ extract is added to consumer products such as cosmetics, it helps restore exposure to diversity. Currently, the extract is available from a number of domestic cosmetics manufacturers. Ruskovilla also offers an extract in its Forest textile range.


Previous studies have found that repeated exposure to nature’s biodiversity lowers levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and induces immune system changes that have been linked to a lower risk of immune-mediated diseases. Cytokines are proteins produced by immune cells and epithelial cells such as skin keratinocytes that regulate immune responses.


Uute Scientific’s experiment was carried out by a partner using an artificial model. Three different bacteria (S. epidermis, C. striatum and C. acnes) which are naturally occurring on skins microbiome were present. Although normally the skin has a much higher number of microbes, the purpose of this model was to represent normal skin.


In the second model, an opportunistic pathogenic S. aureus bacterium was added to model the situation in, for example, atopic dermatitis. The effect of the Re-Connecting Nature™ microbial extract on the microbiome of the skin model, on proteins important for the protective layer and on cytokines was investigated. According to a study of the extract, it could be a solution to a wide range of skin problems. “We were surprised at how versatile the raw material is. Especially in presence of S. aureus, the extract showed a statistically significant reduction in the levels of seven pro-inflammatory cytokines,” said project leader Johanna Kalmari. “We are very excited about this result. Our extract may even help people with atopic dermatitis.”


The powder was used in four different concentrations (0.5%, 1%, 5% and 10%). Based on the microbiological results, we recommend a new maximum concentration of 4% in the products. In this case, the powder has a neutral or prebiotic effect on the growth of the normal skin microbiome and a neutral effect on the growth of pathogens. The number of proteins is important for the protective layer of the skin (Loriclin, Claudin, Filaggrin, Ki67) was not affected by the extract.


In a normal-skin model, the microbial extract mixed with the ointment showed a statistically significant decrease in the levels of five pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-12p70, IL-13, TNFα, IFNγ) compared to the control ointment. In a situation modelling atopic dermatitis, the extract statistically significantly decreased the levels of seven pro-inflammatory cytokines (in addition to the above-mentioned IL-1β, IL-2).


A decrease in the skin barrier has been associated with high levels of IL-4, IL-13, TNFα, IFNγ cytokines in several studies. A decrease in these cytokines supports the function of the skin barrier. The function of the barrier layer and skin regeneration begin to decline with age, and low-grade inflammation has been observed in ageing skin. In addition, high levels of TNFα have been shown to inhibit collagen production and high levels of IFNγ inhibit skin regeneration and repair. Reducing the levels of these cytokines supports normal skin functions such as protective layer function, regeneration repair and collagen production. Supporting the immune system is also particularly beneficial for ageing skin and in situations where the skin is irritated. Reducing the levels of the above cytokines also helps to reduce skin irritation and redness associated with, for example, sunburn.


“We are particularly pleased with the results because they reinforce our vision of a life without immune-mediated diseases. We will continue to work towards restoring our contact with nature’s microbes,” says Olli Laitinen, co-founder and research director of the company.

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List of scientific studies:
Hänel, K. H., Cornelissen, C., Lüscher, B., & Baron, J. M. (2013). Cytokines and the skin barrier. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(4), 6720-6745.
Altemus, M., Rao, B., Dhabhar, F. S., Ding, W., & Granstein, R. D. (2001). Stress-induced changes in skin barrier function in healthy women. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 117(2), 309-317.
Howell, M. D., Kim, B. E., Gao, P., Grant, A. V., Boguniewicz, M., DeBenedetto, A., … & Leung, D. Y. (2009). Cytokine modulation of atopic dermatitis filaggrin skin expression. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 124(3), R7-R12.
Howell, M. D., Fairchild, H. R., Kim, B. E., Bin, L., Boguniewicz, M., Redzic, J. S., … & Leung, D. Y. (2008). Th2 cytokines act on S100/A11 to downregulate keratinocyte differentiation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 128(9), 2248-2258.
Kim, B. E., Leung, D. Y., Boguniewicz, M., & Howell, M. D. (2008). Loricrin and involucrin expression is down-regulated by Th2 cytokines through STAT-6. Clinical immunology, 126(3), 332-337.
Tsuchisaka, A., Furumura, M., & Hashimoto, T. (2014). Cytokine regulation during epidermal differentiation and barrier formation. Journal of investigative dermatology, 134(5), 1194-1196.
Soyka, M. B., Wawrzyniak, P., Eiwegger, T., Holzmann, D., Treis, A., Wanke, K., … & Akdis, C. A. (2012). Defective epithelial barrier in chronic rhinosinusitis: the regulation of tight junctions by IFN-γ and IL-4. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 130(5), 1087-1096.
Kinn, P. M., Holdren, G. O., Westermeyer, B. A., Abuissa, M., Fischer, C. L., Fairley, J. A., … & Brogden, N. K. (2015). Age-dependent variation in cytokines, chemokines and biologic analytes rinsed from the surface of healthy human skin. Scientific reports, 5(1), 1-8.
Borg, M., Brincat, S., Camilleri, G., Schembri-Wismayer, P., Brincat, M., & Calleja-Agius, J. (2013). The role of cytokines in skin aging. Climacteric, 16(5), 514-521.
Shen, H., Yao, P., Lee, E., Greenhalgh, D., & Soulika, A. M. (2012). Interferon‐gamma inhibits healing post scald burn injury. Wound Repair and Regeneration, 20(4), 580-591. 
Abeyama, K., Eng, W., Jester, J. V., Vink, A. A., Edelbaum, D., Cockerell, C. J., … & Takashima, A. (2000). A role for NF-κB–dependent gene transactivation in sunburn. The Journal of clinical investigation, 105(12), 1751-1759.