A new generation of skin care consumers is more interested in natural, holistic skin health than traditional cosmetics.
Whether one is young or old, male or female, most people make looking their best a top priority, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to prevent wrinkles, sun damage and inflammation of the skin—after all, it is our body’s largest organ. One of the best ways to achieve glowing, radiant, youthful-looking skin is to use products that can help prevent damage and promote elasticity.
As consumers become more aware of the ingredients used in products, the natural skin care market continues to grow. According to Grand View Research, “The global natural skin care products market size was valued at $6.7 billion (U.S.) in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 [percent] from 2022 to 2030.” As mentioned, one of the primary factors driving this growth is increased awareness of “the adverse effects of chemicals on the skin, such as irritation and dullness,” according to the study.
Natural ingredient manufacturers are responding to this growth with effective, innovative natural ingredients that can make consumers feel good about the products they’re using on their skin.
Trends/State of the Market
“Within the beauty market, there has been a shift from external beauty products (lotions, creams, serums) to now a growing trend of internal beauty products (supplements),” said Rachel Kwon, content writer, Vesta Pharmaceuticals, Indianapolis, IN. “The internal beauty products represent a ‘beauty within’ concept, where you take the supplement and see the effects from [the] inside-out. The thought is that oral supplements have been improved for greater bioavailability and affect the whole skin, rather than spot treatment.”
Caroline Schroeder, marketing communications manager, Lycored (Branchburg, NJ), concurred. “Ingestible skin care used to be somewhat of a niche—popular in Asian markets, but not seen as mainstream elsewhere. However, the category has enjoyed major global expansion. We’ve just carried out research showing that 57 percent of skin care consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 had purchased an ingestible skin care product over the past year.”1
Natural skin care in general, according to Schroeder, has seen significant growth. “The big change is a shift to more holistic, health-focused attitudes to skin care,” she explained. “Seven in 10 (70 percent) of the respondents to our recent survey said they used skin care products to keep their skin healthy and 69 percent said it was to ‘feel good about myself.’” By contrast, however, “more cosmetic goals were not highly sought. Only 14 percent of the consumers surveyed—and just 6 percent of the over-65s—said looking young was important to them, and only 17 percent said they used skin care products to look attractive to others.”2 What this suggests, added Schroeder, is that there is a new generation of skin care consumers who are more interested in holistic skin health than traditional cosmetic signs of beauty. In addition, the beauty from within concept that took off during the pandemic continues to grow.
Jocelyn Bérubé, executive vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, InnoVactiv (Canada), mentioned that after the pandemic caused consumers to temporarily stop caring about their external appearance, they are beginning to take active care of the health and beauty of their skin again. “While makeup purchases went down 34 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic,” she noted, “sales of hair, skin and nail supplements increased by 7.2 percent. The trend seemed to carry over in 2021 with growth of 10 percent.”
Dr. Liki von Oppen-Bezalel, business development director, TriNutra (Israel), added that “A desire to maintain healthier looking skin is always in demand, [and] this includes products that can aid in skin hydration, sun [protection], firmness and luminosity.” Furthermore, “Consumers are better understanding the link of aging healthfully from the inside out. By being proactive and adding supplementation to their healthy diet and exercise routine,” she explained, “consumers can not only feel good, but can see the difference as well, most often in the eyes, hair and skin. It is the holistic approach to health and beauty both in matter of inside and outside care and multifunctionality that takes on as a trend.”
As far as the latest ingredient and mechanism of action trends, von Oppen-Bezalel explained, “There are several mechanisms of action related to healthy skin and longevity that keep gaining strength: boost of mitochondrial health and functions is linked to the caloric restriction theory of aging; diminishing inflamm-aging; balancing skin and gut microbiome and the skin-gut-brain axis; antioxidant capacity, which is linked to protection and the free radical theory of aging; and control of telomere length for longer cell lifespan as part of the Hayflik limit theory of aging.”
Alice Olufeso, product manager, Food & Health, Mibelle AG Biochemistry, Switzerland, has observed “more and more new product launches containing botanical-based ingredients in this area. Current trends to more natural, vegan and environmentally friendly products demand for new alternatives in this area.” She noted that although “There are many collagen-containing skin beauty products on the market … they are not suitable for vegans, as the collagen is animal or marine sourced. Other ingredients are antioxidant-rich botanical extracts, vitamins and fatty acids.” As for delivery formats, the “Latest uprising innovations are more ‘food-like’ delivery formats; besides capsules and tablets, one can find supplements in the shape of gummies, powder beverages, drink shots, jellies or even coffee capsules,” said Olufeso.
“Over the past decade,” said Schroeder, “studies have revealed the importance of carotenoids as vital components of the body’s antioxidative protective system1 and demonstrated photoprotective effects, with benefits in areas like skin elasticity and hydration.3 They’ve even linked levels of carotenoid coloration with perceptions of attractiveness.”4,5 As a result, according to Schroeder, carotenoids can be an effective partner for collagen.
Michael Chernyak, president, CK Nutraceuticals (Canada), said, “Collagen has been a top performer in the space—both marine and bovine. We’ve also seen some success with wheat and rice ceramides.” However, he added, “While these ingredients continue to perform well, we’re seeing the introduction of compelling new science-based ingredients for healthy skin—one that excites us very much—an antioxidant-rich maqui berry extract (under the trademark name Delphinol).” He also pointed out that collagen, although a successful skin health ingredient, has become crowded in the market, leading to downward price trends. “Building new evidence-backed ingredient solutions to market enables brands to build product differentiation into their messaging,” he concluded.
“The main primary concerns are always about effectiveness and safety,” said Kwon. “Vesta is addressing effectiveness by running third-party lab tests on all of our products, and we do clinical trials on some of our products.” Kwon added, “many consumers are becoming more aware of the ingredients in their products and want to ensure the quality, safety and efficacy. There has been a strong trend for more natural ingredients for these reasons.”
von Oppen-Bezalel concurred, adding that “Consumers are better understanding that the percentage or amount of an active ingredient matters. It is vital that manufacturers of finished products provide the efficacious amount which has been shown in clinical studies. Moreover, it should be touted to the end consumer that it is a potent product.”
Olufeso noted, “effectiveness and taste are … important to consumers when it comes to supplements … [and] we do think that an increasing number of consumers conduct their own investigation to find the best solution for their skin care regime. The web allows them to find a wide range of information on ingredients and consumer products.”
According to Bérubé, “Convenience and affordability remain key challenges for meeting consumer demands. With the high inflation rate, the risk is that some users may be forced to abandon use of supplements to keep fulfilling more basic needs. Next-generation ingredients should deliver efficacy at a lower, without requiring a premium, price point.”
Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel, director, Medical & Scientific Affairs, DolCas Biotech, LLC (Landing, NJ), explained that “As skin is the largest organ, the consumer of today has become quite knowledgeable and concerned about the systemic impact of ingredients applied topically, namely their accumulation potential and effects on non-skin systems, such as the reproductive system.” However, “on the flip side,” she noted, “the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ has found application to the impact of food, beneficial bioactives and triggering components alike, on the health of the skin.” Furthermore, “Consumers have handy search platforms at their disposal to inform and rate ingredients that may be staples in their skin care regimen for health impact, good or bad. They are also broadening their awareness of the use of ingested bioactives, in addition to or differentiated from topical applications in protecting the skin.”
As a result of these consumer concerns and expectations, natural ingredient manufacturers are keeping up with trends to deliver safe and effective solutions to finished skin care product manufacturers.
Meeting Consumer Expectations With Innovative Ingredients
“Since its founding in 1988, Bergstrom Nutrition (Vancouver, WA) has championed the use of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for human health,” said Tim Hammond, vice president of sales & marketing, Bergstrom Nutrition. The company’s branded MSM ingredient, OptiMSM, “uses a proprietary, multi-stage distillation process to create OptiMSM, and every batch is third-party tested for optimal purity, quality and consistency.”
Hammond continued, “OptiMSM has been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and elasticity and provide overall support to the structural integrity of the skin. It may also help the skin, hair and nails to regain and retain a more youthful appearance,” he added. The ingredient is a proven bioavailable source of sulfur, explained Hammond, and MSM’s sulfur is used by the body to support and preserve connective tissue (including the skin), among other essential biochemical functions.
“There are three primary mechanisms that explain these benefits,” Hammond added. “MSM’s sulfur supports cross-linking of proteoglycans and collagen, as well as serving as a building block for keratin, the chief structural constituent of hair and nails. By maintaining healthy collagen, cross-linking, or “hardening” of the tissue is inhibited, allowing for healthy skin function; [Second,] OptiMSM improves antioxidant capacity and helps reduce inﬂammation (IL-6 and TNF-a), which is a cause of skin damage and degradation of the skin’s structural matrixes; and [third,] OptiMSM increases the barrier function of the extracellular matrix, which enables a greater exchange of water and nutrients in the dermis. Pre-clinical results from a gene marker study also suggest MSM can modify the genes (DSG3 and LCE3D) associated with the barrier function.”
As far as published studies, according to Hammond, “Research on OptiMSM published in 2015 highlighted the benefits of oral supplementation on skin and aging. The study reported 100 percent of participants taking OptiMSM experienced a decrease in wrinkle count, with an average reduction of 38 percent. Along with wrinkle reduction, the study also reported skin elasticity and firmness improvements.” A followup study published in 2020 “indicated oral supplementation of OptiMSM decreased indicators of aging, including facial wrinkles and skin roughness, compared to placebo. Results pointed toward a significant improvement from baseline in the severity of facial wrinkles, skin hydration, firmness and elasticity. The conclusions highlighted that OptiMSM effectively reduces visual signs of skin aging, even at a low dose of 1 gram per day.” There are also other studies in the works to show the benefits of OptiMSM, according to Hammond.
Vesta, according to Kwon, offers Pearl Tomato, of which the main ingredient is “a proprietary tomato extract powder, uniquely rich in the multi-functional colorless carotenoids, sourced from specially selected non-GMO (genetically modified organism) tomato fruit.” Kwon continued, “Pearl Tomato, which is a proprietary tomato extract powder, uniquely rich in the multi-functional colorless carotenoids, is sourced from specially selected non-GMO tomato fruit. The colorless carotenoid in Pearl Tomato comes in formulations of 5 percent, 10 percent and 30 percent. Due to the colorless nature, it does not absorb visible light spectrum, instead it absorbs at a lower or higher wavelength (UV or Infrared). Carotenoids have been suggested to benefit skin health by hydrating the skin, improving skin color, skin tone, and skin texture.” The company is currently undergoing a clinical study for the ingredient, which will be made available once the trial has been published.
“At TriNutra,” explained von Oppen-Bezalel, “we continue to validate our black seed oil in various in-vivo and in-vitro studies.” The company has developed a complementary set of products, ThymoQuin and B’utyQuin, from its cold-pressed, full spectrum and standardized black seed oil as both a dietary supplement (ThymoQuin) and a topical cosmetic ingredient (B’utyQuin). “B’utyQuin has two new published studies demonstrating its impacts on maintaining a balanced skin microbiome and relieving scalp and body skin conditions,” said von Oppen-Bezalel.
“From our clinical research, we understood that our BSO is a potent ingredient to aid with metabolic health, immune support and blood sugar management. And about one and a half years ago we started researching B’utyQuin, our standardized, cold-pressed black seed oil, for use in topical cosmetics. The results of our research demonstrated that our proprietary black seed oil is an excellent topical ingredient boosting mitochondrial functions including ATP production and metabolism as well as controlling inflammation, oxidation and microbial growth, which in clinical studies significantly improves hydration, elasticity, firmness and luminosity of the skin as well as reduce redness, itch, scaling—all common skin health and aging skin health concerns. B’utyQuin has shown to be a strong choice for healthy aging and beauty from the inside and outside,” she said.
von Oppen-Bezalel further explained, “In both in-vivo and in-vitro research, B’utyQuin demonstrated its ability to aid in mitochondrial biogenesis and revitalization, control of inflamm-aging and microbial growth—all of which are correlated with improved appearance and health of aging skin.” She elaborated, “B’utyQuin is unique among available black seed oils because of its standardization to 3 percent thymoquinone and its very low levels of free fatty acids (>2 percent). The higher thymoquinone content is vital for an improved benefit profile. The low FFA levels aid in preventing degradation of thymoquinone and maintaining stability of the oil overall for an optimized activity. Our research shows that this high thymoquinone content effectively maintains a balanced skin microbiome and anti-inflammatory effects and relieves scalp and body skin conditions.”
Olufeso said that Mibelle AG Biochemistry’s most successful skin care ingredient “comes from the Moldavian dragonhead plant. Earlier this year, we launched a second innovative ingredient called FenuKale Nu, where we have combined two powerful plants, blue fenugreek and kale. This product shields the skin from accelerated aging caused by air pollution and significantly increases moisture levels in the skin.”
As far as proving the efficacy of the company’s ingredients, Olufeso explained that “We have run clinical studies with DracoBelle Nu and FenuKale Nu, as well as elaborated the mechanisms and run in-vitro studies for proof of concept. DracoBelle Nu is rich in antioxidants and activates a well-studied longevity pathway, known to regulate aging. This is the same pathway which is being activated when reducing caloric intake or exercising. We could show in our studies that it has collagen boosting effect and improves significantly skin moisture and elasticity.”
The company’s other ingredient, FenuKale Nu “prevents accelerated ageing caused by urban pollution, UV-ray and ozone,” Olufeso said. “These factors are known to damage the skin. This ingredient prevents protein damages and unwanted epigenetic changes in cells. Air pollution also causes inflammation in the skin. FenuKale Nu reduces inflammation markers contributing so to healthier skin. In the clinical study performed in a highly polluted area we could show that the skin status improved significantly and resulted in a better hydrated skin.”
Lycored, according to Schroeder, “offers a range of natural carotenoid ingredients and formulations for supplements and other ingestible skin care applications. Our products include Lycomato—our standardized tomato extract containing carotenoids, tocopherols and phytosterols; Lycoderm, a proprietary complex of tomato phytonutrients and rosemary leaf; and Lumenato, a wellness extract naturally sourced from golden tomatoes.”
Lycored’s most recent scientific paper found that “the benefits of Lumenato are highly visible to consumers. The two-stage study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology set out to evaluate both its bioavailability, and its effectiveness as assessed by consumers.
“In the first stage, 24 healthy volunteers supplemented with Lumenato for four weeks. The researchers observed an almost fourfold increase in levels of phytoene after the first week, and by the fourth it had reached almost five times the baseline level. There were also significant increases in levels of other carotenoids, such as phytofluene and zeta-carotene, indicating Lumenato’s high bioavailability.
“In the second, 63 women aged between 35 and 55 took Lumenato for 12 weeks. They completed questionnaires that assessed different skin parameters at weeks four, eight and 12, and again two weeks after the trial had finished.
“After 12 weeks of supplementing with Lumenato, participants reported significant improvements in skin hydration, firmness, brightness, tone and overall condition. They also noticed reductions in dark spots and circles, fine lines and wrinkles.”6
InnoVactiv, according to Bérubé, offers two skin health ingredients. The first and newest ingredient is “Cartidyss, from Abyss Ingredients (France),” she said. “This ingredient is the only available hydrolyzed type-2 collagen from marine origin on the market today. It comes from up-cycling of skate fish by-products from small, family-owned fisheries in Brittany, France. The aqueous process that is used ensures obtention of small peptides to ensure optimal digestibility and bioavailability. As the ingredient retains all of the beneficial constituents of cartilage, it also contains chondroitin, glucosamine, hyaluronic acid and a rich mineral fraction. This synergetic blend is the secret of its superior efficacy enabling to use only a single dose of 500 mg per day to yield the clinical benefits of wrinkle reduction, densification of the dermis and improvement to skin texture.”
The second and most successful ingredient is Myoceram, from NIPPN Corporation (Japan), “which brings a superior benefit to the top layer of the skin by replenishing the natural loss of skin-hydrating ceramides with aging. Upon ingestion, Myoceram helps stimulate ceramide synthase enzymes in the skin, to help bring more of this beneficial compound where it matters. Derived from rice, Myoceram is free of all major allergens, and can thus be used by anyone with a convenient low dose of 30 mg per day. Clinical studies show that Myoceram helps support skin hydration at various sites of the body, a clear advantage over creams and cosmetics when you think that you can literally have dry skin anywhere,” explained Bérubé.
DolCas Biotech, LLC, according to Jackson-Michel, offers Morikol, in which “tripeptides have been shown to affect fibroblast proliferation, increase hyaluronan synthesis and upregulate the genes involved in ceramide, or skin lipid production.” The ingredient provides “15 percent tripeptides, the smallest functional unit of collagen. Tripeptides have their own transporters facilitating their intact, intestinal-level absorption into the bloodstream. Compared to oligopeptides, Morikol offers better efficiency of dosing and commercial competitiveness, as its proven 1 g/day dose provides clinical results commensurate with other collagen hydrolysates 3, 5 and even 10 [times] its weight,” she explained. Since the ingredient is fish skin derived, it caters to the trend of the use of aquatic species over land animals, “namely bovine and porcine collagen conventions.”
Jackson-Michel elaborated that the company also offers TruOliv and Curcugen, which are becoming popular skin care formula additions for their supportive role as powerful antioxidants and anti-blemish actives. “We have also worked on a finished product beadlet format of Morikol, that can make taking a beauty ingredient that much more ‘beautiful,’” explained Jackson-Michel. “Delivered in dry format, or possibly on the backdrop of a functional culinary oil, such as the hydroxytyrosol-rich olive oil, TruOliv Gold, or translucent, aesthetically-clean looking oil like MCT, Morikol beadlets offer an easy, go-to-market strategy that doesn’t look turnkey at all.”
She continued, “Morikol collagen tripeptides offer a comprehensive approach to addressing a multitude of … endpoints … Paired with potent, skin and systemic antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients, like Curcugen (a full-spectrum turmeric extract, standardized to curcuminoids and offering advanced bioavailability and dispersibility features) and/or TruOliv (a full-spectrum, organic-certified olive tree extract delivering a potent mix of desert-enriched hydroxytyrosol in both isolated and linked form)—a targeted, two or three ingredient skin health formulation can effectively address multiple skin care angles at once.”
Speaking to CK Ingredients’ Delphinol Maqui Berry Extract ingredient, “the potent antioxidant activity of the active ingredient, delphinidin, results in the inhibition of free radicals … thereby helping to maintain cell vitality and a healthy complexion,” said Chernyak. “Furthermore, the reduction of collagen fiber degradation helps to support skin elasticity.” The ingredient, according to Chernyak, is backed by two published studies in the beauty-from-within health benefit area. “It also offers formulation versatility at only 60 mg per serving/day (therapeutic dosage)—it’s very well suited to gummies, powders and other alternative form factors,” he explained. Since the ingredient was only recently published in 2021, a series of initial U.S. launches will hit the market this fall, according to Chernyak.
Advice for Manufacturers
“Manufacturers should always have effectiveness and safety at the forefront of their checklist,” suggested Kwon. “Manufacturers should strive to have a highly bioavailable, clean and sustainable manufacturing process, with clinical data supporting the evidence of their products, as well as relevant marketing.”
“I believe a finished product manufacturer should be putting a heavy emphasis on the products’ clinical evidence,” said von Oppen-Bezalel. “They should use the study results in marketing, social media and public relations outreach. Consumers need to understand the ingredient benefits and will be more willing to try the product if it is highly reviewed and backed by published studies.”
Olufeso noted that when formulating “food-like” supplements, “it is important to mask unpleasant off-notes which may come from certain active ingredients. Consumers do not like to compromise on taste and expect the supplements to taste good.”
The most successful beauty supplement brands, according to Schroeder, “will be those that are most in tune in with the social shifts that have taken place. Inclusivity has become one of the most important concepts in the beauty, skincare and personal care industries. In the past, they weren’t always great at meeting the needs of the full range of their customers, but some huge changes have taken place and diversity is now at the top of the agenda.” She added, “One of the great things about ingestible products is that they don’t come in different shades and only “see” us at the cellular level, creating an exciting platform for diversity.”
Bérubé suggested that manufacturers should “emphasize convenience and efficacy based on proprietary human clinical data. Having mechanism of action data is also very relevant, as people like to understand how supplements can truly have a beneficial effect on skin, after decades of being sold on using cosmetics for whatever skin benefit they were looking for.”
Lastly, Chernyak stated that manufacturers should “lead with science—always” and “explain the mechanism of action to consumers—help them understand how and why the product delivers on its promise.” He continued, “Products need to deliver a demonstrable effect, within a reasonably short period of time (ideally within the first bottle of 30 servings); otherwise, it’s likely they will move on to the next product. They also want convenient delivery formats beyond traditional tablets and capsules—for example, gummies, soft gels and ready-to-mix powders (stick-packs/sachets). Raw materials that have proven efficacy, as well as good solubility.” NIE
1. Lycored Press Release ‘“New generation” of consumers driving demand for ingestible skincare, research shows’ June 30, 2022.
2. Lycored Press Release ‘“New generation” of consumers driving demand for ingestible skincare, research shows’ June 30, 2022.
3. Darvin ME, Sterry W, Lademann J, Vergou T. The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin. Molecules. 2011 Dec 16;16(12):10491–506. doi: 10.3390/molecules161210491. PMCID: PMC6264659.
4. Lefevre, CE and Perrett, DI ‘Fruit over sunbed: Carotenoid skin colouration is found more attractive than melanin colouration’, ‘The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology’, Vol. 68, No. 2, 284-293, 2015.
5. Foo, YZ, Rhodes, G, and Simmons, LW ‘The carotenoid beta-carotene enhances facial colour, attractiveness and perceived health, but not actual health, in humans’ Behavioral Ecology, 28(2), 570-578, 2017.
6. Tarshish E, Hermoni K, Sharoni Y, Muizzuddin N. ‘Effect of Lumenato oral supplementation on plasma carotenoid levels and improvement of visual and experiential skin attributes’ J Cosmet Dermatol. January 12, 2022.
For More Information:
Bergstrom Nutrition, www.bergstromnutrition.com
CK Ingredients, www.ckingredients.com
DolCas Biotech, LLC, www.dolcas-biotech.com
InnoVactiv Inc., www.innovactiv.com
Mibelle AG Biochemistry, www.mibellebiochemistry.com
Vesta Pharmaceuticals, www.vestapharm.com