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Natural Beauty Preferred


As more consumers seek out natural ingredients in their cosmetic products, suppliers continue to study what works best while staying within regulatory guidelines in the U.S. and overseas.

According to a Datamonitor 2013 consumer survey, North American female consumers of skincare products indicate that naturalness in products is important (at least 75 percent ranked as either medium, high or essential priority).

And North America is the biggest market for natural beauty ingredients at about $11 billion, with Asia-Pacific second and Europe in third place, noted Dr. Paul Clayton, chief scientific advisor at California-based Gencor.

“In the last year, there has been an increase in cosmeceutical products launched in North America including tinctures, beverages, powdered stick packs, gummy bears and functional foods,” he said. “New developments and increasing sales are likely to continue, unless the macroeconomic downturn worsens.” 

Natural is important, he added, as nearly half of users look for supplements without fillers or “chemicals,” made with natural and/or hypoallergenic ingredients and no artificial colors/flavors. “Appearance is a top health concern among teen and Hispanic population groups, and I expect to see the cosmeceutical market for these two sectors explode. Global nutraceutical sales were recently projected to reach $204.8 billion by 2017, but due to the global economic downturn, I believe this projection will be slashed.” 

Anurag Pande PhD, vice president of scientific affairs with New Jersey-based Sabinsa Corporation, said manufacturers and formulators are looking for natural alternatives for their products, and likewise consumer trends are showing preference for natural cosmetics. “Skin lightening, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, sun protection, hair care and nail care products are major segments where natural actives are being used,” he noted.

Cosmetic Trends 

One of the essential building blocks to smooth, healthy skin, collagen is its major structural component, comprising about 80 percent of skin’s dry mass, Lara Niemann, marketing director- Americas with Iowa-based GELITA, pointed out. “The loss of collagen plays a major role in skin aging and thus it is natural for consumers to turn to specific collagen solutions as emerging ingredients in the field of beauty-from-within products.” 

The company’s VERISOL Bioactive Collagen Peptides contain optimized collagen peptides, which are important components for supporting healthy skin, according to Niemann, noting that, when administered orally, VERISOL influences the skin’s collagen metabolism directly from the inside. “These bioactive collagen peptides increase the skin’s elasticity and slow the formation of wrinkles. The skin’s structure is affected by both dermal layer structure and environmental factors, including aging, ultraviolet radiation, hormones and nutrition. VERISOL can counteract skin metabolism-impairing processes by naturally stimulating the fibroblast cells in the dermis to increase extracellular matrix formation.” 

However, while collagen is still big, Gencor’s Clayton said he questions its effectiveness, and noted that various polyphenols, especially lipophillic polyphenols such as the phlorotannins, are trending. “These will take off due to excellent bioavailability and pluripotency. I expect blood orange polyphenols will take a portion of market share due to their excellent evidence base,” he said.

“Alpha lipoic acid and carnosine have a place, although the science of carnosine is somewhat unconvincing (due to carnosinase); various carotenoids and xanthophylls are being considered as internal coloring agents as well as radioprotectants,” Clayton added.

Not to be overlooked, Pande pointed out, is the fact that natural alternatives reduce the inclusion of potentially harmful chemicals in personal care products.

One such product is Sabinsa’s Sabilize, a natural preservative ingredient. “Sabilize reduces the use of harsh synthetic preservatives in skin care products which not only can harm the skin but also impact the environment.” 


For Sabinsa, sought-after ingredients include those designated as anti-aging and anti-acne, as well as products that lighten and even skin tones, Pande said. “Skin lightening and evening is one of the segments of personal care products that has always been in high demand for not only fairness, but also for its activity in reducing age spots and skin issues like melasma, chloasma and sun spots.” 

The company recently launched an innovative blend of actives under the brand name AcneZero, which is a combination of carefully selected ingredients from nature that manage acne conditions by a multi-targeted approach.

“Some of the multifunctional cosmetic ingredients launched by Sabinsa work in both anti-aging and skin-lightening formulations,” Pande added. Saberry, Sabinsa’s water-soluble extract from Indian gooseberry, contains inhibitory activity for tyrosinase, as well as MMP-1 enzyme, which is responsible for the breakdown of the collagen in the skin that can cause wrinkles. Saberry can be helpful in reducing MMP-1 enzyme levels and thus reducing the appearance of the wrinkles on the skin while simultaneously reducing the appearance of age spots and enhancing the fairness of skin.

PteroWhite, a product obtained from Pterocarpus marsupium (Indian kino tree), is standardized to 90 percent pterostilbene, a stilbene polyphenol that has both skin-lightening activity and strong antioxidant activity, Pande explained. Its free radical-scavenging activity can help to reduce oxidative stress that is also a cause of aging. Further, it can prevent the glycation of the structural proteins such as collagen, which lead to the formation of advanced glycation products in the skin causing breakdown of the skin matrix and ultimately, the aging of skin.

GELITA’s Niemann noted that the company’s VERISOL Bioactive Collagen Peptides also address skin aging by substantially increasing skin elasticity and hydration, preventing the formation of wrinkles by stimulating skin metabolism and the creation of new collagen. Administered orally, VERISOL influences the skin’s matrix from the inside. “VERISOL features excellent bioavailability and can easily be incorporated into a diverse range of products—from functional foods and beverages to pharmaceuticallike applications such as capsules and film-coated tablets,” she added.

With its roots based in ayurveda, Clayton noted that Gencor is also working with integrated formulations, based on pharmaco-nutritional principles, moving from single element nutritional biochemistry to multi-component nutritional pharmacology.

An Inside Job 

Beauty from within—although already widely popular in Asia—is gaining momentum in U.S. markets, according to suppliers.

“Although industry experts may have different assessments of the global market size, they do agree that the market size is billions of dollars and growing,” Said Niemann. “Datamonitor reports that Asia represents about half of the ‘nutricosmetics’ industry and the U.S. share is still in the single digits (but growing). U. S. consumers tend to be a bit more skeptical in the concept of beauty from within, but interestingly are among the highest users of nutritional supplements to manage their health.” 

“The nutricosmetic category is a still niche market in U.S.,” agreed Pande, “whereas the concept has been wellevolved in countries like Japan, where the beauty food concept is well known.” 

One of the major reasons for its slow penetration in the U.S. market is related to regulatory issues, he added. “Any beauty product that is orally consumed falls under the dietary supplement category and, in this category, only structurefunction claims are allowed, which do not permit manufacturers to make antiaging claims.” 

“Regulatory issues are always problematic with new ingredients, in fact, they are stifling innovation,” Clayton added. “Too often, claim acceptance lags far behind available science.” 

Clean & Natural Transparency 

In other news regarding claims, earlier this year, Johnson & Johnson was sued over “natural” claims for its Aveeno baby products. But defining natural is still questionable in the industry. “Labeling is an important part of product marketing since it communicates to the consumer information on ingredients and their effects on skin,” Pande said. “It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to put correct and truthful information on the label.

“In case of natural cosmetics or cosmetics incorporating natural ingredients, we have to understand that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not provide a definition of natural, FDA does not certify any product as natural or nonnatural, and it only regulates the term organic on the product,” he added. “Hence the definition of natural is still a question of debate in many cases.

Therefore a regulation related to the natural origin of a product is required.” 

The majority of natural topical or cosmetic ingredients from Sabinsa are free from any preservatives, additives or excipients as a part of its clean label initiative, according to Pande. “The information on the composition, residual solvents, pesticides and heavy metals are provided for each and every batch. Information on the source of the ingredients, its INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) name, is available for all the products in the cosmetic segment marketed by Sabinsa.” 

GELITA also began clean label initiatives to offer another form of transparency. “VERISOL is a natural protein, offers a clean label (no E numbers, which is especially relevant in E.U.) and is non-allergenic,” Niemann added.

Evolving E.U. Regulations 

For many years, rules governing claims in the E.U. were established by the member states’ self-regulatory organizations, such as the Advertising Standards Authority in the U.K., whose codes of practice not only apply the laws surrounding advertising, but also consider national character and issues such as taste and decency. There has been no change to this well-established way of ensuring that advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful, and the system of self-regulation will continue in the E.U. member states. Under the Cosmetics Directive, manufacturers ensured that claims could be substantiated, and the evidence was available in the Product Information File.

However, in European Cosmetics Regulation No. 1223/2009, the European Commission has chosen to regulate cosmetic claims in addition to these existing regimes, saying that consumers should be protected from misleading claims concerning efficacy and other characteristics of cosmetic products.

Sabinsa has completed the pre-registration process for REACH in the E.U. as a part of its REACH Compliance program. The REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) places compliance requirements on producers importing or manufacturing cosmetics and other personal care products in Europe.

In addition, Niemann pointed out that EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) rules state that the labeling and marketing of a food must not be misleading, particularly by attributing to the food stuff effects or properties which it does not possess and which are not scientifically substantiated. “[The rules] do not consider elasticity and wrinkle reduction as a skin function and therefore are not health claim relevant,” she noted. [Accordingly] we believe that a beauty claim that does not suggest or imply that a relationship between the food and health does exist may be used if supported by strong and relevant scientific studies. This result makes GELITA confident to promote the demonstrated and scientifically proven VERISOL benefits (statistical significantly increased skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles) under the respective food legislation.”

Another important development was, in 2004, the E.U. passed a ban on testing cosmetic products on animals. It also set a series of deadlines for eliminating the testing of cosmetic ingredients and the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. In March 2009, the testing of cosmetic ingredients within the E.U. was banned as well as the sale of most cosmetic products tested on animals. The final deadline was March 11, 2013, at which time the law prohibits marketing of any cosmetic products in the E.U. that have involved new animal testing.

To that end, Sabinsa is developing non-animal testing protocols for cosmetic ingredients as a part of its commitment to cruelty-free products. “In the field of cosmetic substantiation, advanced tools like studying gene expression relevant to skin health and the effects of isolated extracts on expression of selected genesis is of interest to our scientists working on cosmetic ingredients.”

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GELITA recently announced the publication of the first of two new clinical studies proving the effect of VERISOL on skin elasticity. This research was designed to study the effectiveness of these specific VERISOL collagen peptides on skin biophysical parameters related to cutaneous aging. In a double blind, placebo-controlled trial, 69 women aged 35-55 years were randomized to receive 2.5 g or 5.0 g of VERISOL or placebo once daily for eight weeks, with 23 subjects included in each treatment group.

Skin elasticity, skin moisture, transepidermal water loss and skin roughness were objectively measured before ingesting the first product (t0) and after 4 (t1) and once more at eight weeks (t2) of regular intake. Skin elasticity, which was of primary interest, was also assessed at follow-up four weeks after the last intake of VERISOL (t3, four-week regression phase).

At the conclusion of the study, skin elasticity in both VERISOL dosage groups showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to the placebo group. After four weeks of follow-up treatment, a statistically significant higher skin elasticity level was determined in elderly women.

With regard to skin moisture and skin evaporation, a positive influence of the collagen peptide treatment could be observed in a subgroup analysis.

The study was conducted by the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, the CRI (Collagen Research Institute), Kiel, the Skin Investigation and Technology, Hamburg, Germany and the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil, and was published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology (August 14, 2013).

Recently, a second clinical study evaluating the reduction of wrinkles with VERISOL was completed. According to GELITA, this study also shows convincing results and has been accepted for publication.