Schulick, along with his wife Barbi Schulick, had founded New Chapter, one of the iconic finished product brands in the dietary supplement industry. The Schulicks sold their company to P&G in 2012 and stayed on to run it until July of last year. At that time they decided to pull out, saying the corporate drive toward quarterly profits was undermining the brand’s mission.
Focus on the skin microbiome
The Schulicks’ new venture is focused on supporting the microbial communities that reside on the skin. They have a noncompete agreement with P&G that precludes them from developing new ingestible products until July 1, 2020.
“I have been interested in topicals really for 20 years now,” Schulick said. “I launched a line of fresh cosmetics and skin care products in 1990.”
“The skin is the body's largest organ and functions as its 'third brain' as an extension of the human microbiome. Beauty is truly an expression of deep cellular health,” he added.
The partnership will allow For the Biome to be in ‘first to launch’ position for new topical products for skin health featuring astaxanthin in the US market.
Research support for astaxanthin-skin connection
A recent review in the journal Nutrients supported a number of mechanisms by which astaxanthin can positively affect skin health in an ingestible product. These include the carotenoid’s antioxidant and anti inflammatory activities.
“Due to its involvement in diverse biological activities, ASX is a promising compound in the field of dermatology. Additional, more comprehensive experiments will be necessary in order to fully understand ASX activities in the skin. However, ASX inhibits collagenases, MMP activity, inflammatory mediators, and ROS induction, resulting in potent antiwrinkle and antioxidant effects,” the authors wrote.
While most of the research on astaxanthin—which Algatech produces via closed tube cultivation of Haematococcus pluvialis algae—and its connection to skin health relates to ingestion of the carotenoid, the mechanisms of action were strongly suggestive for a topical product, Schulick said.
“With all of that research, it wasn’t much of a leap to put it into a topical product,” he said.
And indeed, some research is starting to crop up in this area, including a brand-new study in the journal Experimental Dermatology on the positive effect of astaxanthin when applied to mice that had had patches of dermatitis inflammation induced on their backs or ears.