By Camila Araujo

The road to healthier skin is being paved by none other than a Binghamton University student and her prebiotic skin care company.

Katheryn Cherny, a microbiology graduate student and the founder of MicroBELLA Cosmetics, has received funding from Binghamton University to attend In-Cosmetics Global, a conference that brings together innovators in personal care products and ingredients.

Recently, MicroBELLA was one of the first local start-ups to participate in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps Short Courses. The free, two-week courses promote local innovation and allow for a hands-on approach. Most of the learning is done outside of the classroom, with a focus on acquiring information directly from the marketplace. Cherny said the experience was influential in furthering her business goals.

“I would have never sought out this sort of experience without the guidance from I-Corps and the support to develop my business from both the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and KSTI.” Cherny said.

Cherny said most skin problems aren’t caused by hormones, but by an imbalance in the community of bacteria in the skin or microflora.

“A lot of skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and acne are not just problems with your hormones; these conditions have been tied to changes in the bacteria on your skin,” Cherny said.

To combat this, Cherny has designed a line of products handcrafted and made with natural ingredients to restore and support wholesome bacteria growth, which results in healthier and better-looking skin.

Cherny has also participated in the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator’s Accelerator Program, a three-month program designed to aid small companies through the customer discovery phase, ultimately determining the viability of their businesses.

Cherny said the expects the In-Cosmetics conference, to be held in Amsterdam in April, to be a great venue for performing customer discovery and identifying her potential market.

“One thing I absolutely want to focus on is getting my products to influencers — beauty bloggers and reviewers,” she said. “When women buy skincare online and in stores, they also want to be educated about the products’ ingredients and have trusted influencers who give them critiques of products.”