What Exactly Are Biofilms?

Certain bacteria and fungi have the ability to produce biofilms, a sticky substance that functions as a glue-like anchor for colonizing surfaces and as a protective dome under which bacteria can rapidly multiply. This ‘protection’ allows the bacteria and fungi to grow upwards and outwards producing huge masses of micro-organisms. Other micro-organisms that come into contact with this sticky, glue-like structure also become encased in the film, producing complex biofilms consisting of multiple bacteria and fungi species that combine to become hundreds of layers thick. The glue-like matrix makes treating these biofilms extremely difficult to eliminate as these encased organisms are tolerant/resistant to most medical treatments.

Biofilms promote antibiotic tolerance by physically protecting germs. These biofilms can make bacteria up to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics, disinfectants, and the host immune system. Biofilms are recognized by many scientists as one of the leading causes of antibiotic resistance worldwide. According to an estimate by the National Institute of Health (NIH, USA), approximately 80% of all chronic human bacterial infections are biofilms.i

Biofilms can form on both living and non-living surfaces. Some examples are skin (i.e. wounds, dandruff, atopic and seborrheic dermatitis), teeth (i.e. plaque and tartar), ears (i.e. otitis), medical devices (i.e. catheters and endoscopes), kitchen sinks and countertops, food and food processing equipment, and hospital surfaces.

How Do Biofilms Form on Skin?

Bacteria and fungi are naturally associated and found on healthy human skin. Certain species continually try to adhere to and populate the surface of the scalp. These bacteria and fungi require a food source to aid in bacteria growth. This ‘food source’ includes carbon sources and metal ions present in the skin (i.e. iron, calcium, and magnesium).

Under this sticky, glue-like biofilm, bacteria and fungi multiply rapidly to create a three-dimensional, multi-layered cluster that is hundreds of layers deep. Once the biofilm reaches critical mass, it releases some of the bacteria to start this same colonization process on other areas of the skin.

Bacteria are naturally found on skin

Bacteria and fungi are naturally found on human skin, along with carbon sources and metal ions (iron, calcium, and magnesium).

Certain bacteria attach to the scalp with a glue-like substance

Certain bacterial species, using metal ions as their ‘food source’ for stability, adhere to the surface of the scalp with a sticky, glue-like substance that also functions as a protective dome.

Bacteria multiply rapidly and become difficult to eliminate

Under this sticky, glue-like protective biofilm, multiple species of bacteria and fungi multiply rapidly to become a complex, 3-dimensional, multi-layered cluster that is hundreds of layers deep.

How Does coactiv+ Technology Work?

All DermaKB™ products use our patent-pending coactiv+™ technology to weaken and break down the biofilm structure by using compounds that tightly bind to and remove the metal ions that are critical for bacterial growth, bacterial membrane stability, and biofilm maintenance. By breaking down these biofilms and removing these organisms from skin surfaces, our antimicrobial ingredients help to support the reduction of skin irritation and other symptoms associated with common skin conditions.

Other Benefits of DermaKB Products

In addition to our coactiv+™ technology, our products contain natural ingredients such as, Colloidal oatmeal and Burdock root extract, which have soothing and anti-inflammatory effects. D-Panthenol and Allantoin are also present to help condition and soften the hair. Other buffering agents help to reduce elevated pH as well as maintain a lower pH.

coactiv+™ binds to metal ions

When a DermaKB product is applied to the scalp, the existing metal ions (i.e. ‘food source’ for the bacteria) immediately attach to the binding agents in our coactiv+™ formula.

The biofilm structure starts to break down

By removing the metal ions from the skin, it weakens the bacterial membrane causing the layers of biofilm buildup to start breaking down.

Bacteria and fungi become susceptible to antimicrobials

Without protection from the biofilm, the bacteria and fungi become exposed for elimination by antimicrobial ingredients. Other ingredients help support the reduction of irritation.

i NIH RESEARCH ON MICROBIAL BIOFILMS. Available online here.