Q: What is the AO+ Mist?

A: AO+ Mist is a spray for the skin to be used after bathing, before bedtime and whenever you find convenient. The spray consists of strain of safe live-cultured AOB (Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria). It is a “good bacteria” found in nature that live off the ammonia you produce through sweat on your skin.

Q: What is “AOB” (Ammonia-Oxidizing-Bacteria)?

A: You clicked, so we're going to get scientific with you now. Ammonia-Oxidizing-Bacteria (AOB), also known as “Nitrifying Bacteria,” are microorganisms that consume ammonia for energy and are present wherever a nitrogen cycle is taking place. This means wherever you find ammonia (their energy source), this class of bacteria will be found. The only anomaly to this is human skin, which we think is a rather interesting example of the effects of modern lifestyle. AOB also do not rely on solar energy or carbon (instead, they grow by consuming inorganic nitrogen compounds). The specific type of AOB used in our AO+ Mist is Nitrosomonas eutropha D23.

Q: Wait a second... Bacteria is GOOD?

A: Yes! This bacteria actually does good! Similarly to how probiotics are “good bacteria” for the stomach, this AOB do good for the skin. Now, we understand that the notion of a “harmless bacteria” might be a bit tough to wrap your head around, but follow us here for a minute: AOB are found everywhere in nature and have never been implicated in any human illness over the many decades that they have been researched. If you’ve ever walked barefoot on dirt, swam in a lake or the ocean, you probably emerged refreshed and covered with AOBs. Although our strain is cultured and produced to cosmetic grade quality it has the same safe properties as natural AOB. AO+ Mist is non-pathogenic - i.e. the live bacteria lack the genetic machinery needed to cause infection.

Q: How does it work?

A: The Nitrosomonas in the AO+ Mist work by consuming the irritating compounds produced by your skin (like ammonia and urea in sweat), and in turn producing beneficial byproducts. Specifically, Nitrosomonas produce Nitrite and Nitric Oxide. Nitrite tames the bad bacteria and promotes the good bacteria on the skin. Nitric Oxide is a key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. These two byproducts together do a great deal to help promote healthy skin overall.

Q: How do I use it?

A: Good question! We're so glad you asked. First, shake the bottle. Then, spritz 5-7 times all over the body, twice a day. Be sure to focus on areas with high amounts of sweat glands: the face, scalp, underarms, groin, hands, and feet. Great times to spritz are: after showers, after swimming in a pool (rinse the chlorinated water off first!), before workouts, and in the evenings before bed. Most importantly - experiment! See what works best for you in terms of routine, frequency and quantity. Happy misting!

Q: So, are you saying soap is bad?

A: Not at all! The AO+ Mist is not a replacement for soap. We just want to help society understand that there’s a difference between "clean" and "sterile". Our obsession with being as clean as possible has generally resulted in removing all bacteria from our skin, including the beneficial and necessary ecosystem that is our skin microbiome.

Q: Do I have to stop showering?

A: Nope! (Phew!) AO+ Mist thrives in water and you can and should continue showering as you would normally. It’s not necessary that people stop showering or give up their soaps and shampoos. Our research shows that daily application along with normal showering in regular tap water produces a sustained level of AOB on skin. We recommend applying AO+ Mist daily as part of your usual personal hygiene routine.

Q: What about moisturizers?

A: Before starting with a moisturizer, we recommend seeing how your skin fares. Don't underestimate the power of a healthy biome! If you are really experiencing skin dryness, then feel free to incorporate a moisturizer, but remember, most moisturizers use preservatives which are inherently antimicrobial. Make sure you spray the AO+ Mist on after your moisturizer has fully absorbed. If you are really concerned about biome-friendly moisturization, then coconut oil is your best bet so you get the best of both worlds.

Q: What about makeup

A: You can still wear makeup and still gain the benefits of AOBs. All makeup has preservatives, so this means as it sits on our skin all day, it won't be too friendly to the AOB in your mist (sigh...). One way to lessen the AOB damage is to apply your makeup, let it fully absorb, and then spritz the mist as the final step. If that's too tricky, you can try using just using the Mist after you've taken off your makeup in the evening and still gain the benefits while you sleep. It's important to note: putting on your makeup the next morning won’t "reverse" the beneficial effects of what was at work overnight.

Q: What about deodorant?

A: Much like with makeup or moisturizers, deodorant is something you'll need to experiment with as you add AO+ Mist into your daily routine. The ingredients in most deodorants will be harmful to the AOBs, but you may find that you are able to use less of it over time. If you want to try going cold turkey with deodorant use, remember that it may take some time to "smell" the positive results of your mist working.

Q: What about my hair?

A: Don't worry, there's no need to cut out shampoo cold turkey. Continue to shampoo as usual to start and spritz some mist on the roots when you've dried your hair. Many of our customers have noticed that they don't need to shampoo as often and are able to stretch the time in between shampoos. For those who do want to cut shampoo completely, you may experience a greasy phase before things start to get better. If you use conditioner, make sure to keep it away from your roots, which is where the AOBs in your mist like to live. One other thing to remember is that rinsing away the AOBs in the mist by shampooing does not retroactively remove the benefit that they delivered while they were there, so as long as you are replenishing, you're in good shape.

Q: What about sunscreen?

A: We know SPF is very important especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors or if you are very conscientious about your level of sun exposure - and that's OK. The key thing is to remember to spritz your mist at times that you aren't wearing the sunscreen (like at night). The evening is actually the best time to mist because that is when the bacteria are most active! While we haven't tested many SPFs for their compatibility with AOB, it's likely that they aren't very compatible However, you can spritz your mist on other areas (like the underarms) to maintain the benefits during the day for areas that aren't as exposed.

Q: What about swimming?

A: Swimming pools most likely kill AOB, while the ocean and fresh water sources should be just fine. If you do swim in a pool, you can replenish your AOB by rinsing off after a dip and misting with your AO+.

Q: I'm an over-achiever, how can I get the most of out my products?

A: Hey! We're over-achievers, too! First off, AOBs thrive in the evening, so make sure to spray at night before bed. Another tip? Limit your use of conventional cleansers and soaps over time. We've found that even at low concentrates, these can be harmful to AOBs. You might be surprised at how little you need!

Q: Will I always have to use this stuff?

A: This all depends on your personal habits - not just the showering and the products you use, but also the amount you sweat. It’s different for everyone, and we’re still working on defining what a "healthy biome" is. Having a healthy biome is a ongoing process, not simply a destination. We view a “biome-friendly” routine as a two-part process. First is replenishing the beneficial bacteria that we lose naturally on a regular basis (this is what our AO+ Mist does), and the second is making sure that the products we do come into contact with don’t hurt the beneficial bacteria of the skin. The good bacteria of our skin is constantly in flux based on our environment and what we expose it to. Microorganisms are constantly falling off, scrubbing off, and they definitely don't live forever. It's a natural part of the process. For this reason, it's important to replenish. AOB in the mist (and other good bacteria) don't just grow endlessly. Does this mean you'll always have to use the same amount of AO+ Mist? Not necessarily. Once again, it depends on your personal habits, environment, and routine. We encourage you to experiment and find what works best for you as time goes on.

Q: What about the science?

A: We're so excited that you want to learn more about the skin biome and AOB's. Here are some publications to check out: https://www.aobiome.com/research-links

Q: Can't I just make this myself at home?

A: One of the most complex production pieces for us currently is producing 100% pure product. We test at every step of our process to make sure it only contains AOB and not other microorganisms. But let's say you didn't care about contamination and wanted to try to grow your own bacteria anyway. You'd still run into some issues with the final product. It turns out some microorganisms adversely affect the Nitrosomonas, and the concentration level of the AOBs is very important to determining the brew's potency and effectiveness.

Q: Do you test on animals?

A: AO+ cosmetic products are never tested on animals. Because we believe in being fully honest and transparent, we want to make you aware that AO+ Cosmetics is a wholly owned division of AOBiome, LLC, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in high level bio-therapeutic research and testing. The FDA requires animal testing as part of their process to ensure that pharmaceuticals are both safe and effective and there is no way around this process. AOBiome is committed to work with the FDA to find alternatives to animal testing whenever possible and to minimize animal testing when no alternative is available. We recently became a contributing member of the ASCCT, a scientific society dedicated to the promotion of toxicology testing and research that reduces and replaces the use of animals.

Q: Will temperature extremes while shipping hurt my product?

A: All shipments are sent via 2-day express service. This minimizes time spent in temperature extremes (hot or cold). Furthermore, during extremely hot (summer) or extremely cold (winter) times of year, we take special packaging considerations for certain areas so that you don’t have to worry.