Once a fringe subcategory, hair/skin/nails is now known as nutrabeauty and is sought after by men as well as women, young as well as mature. And it is big business.
Beauty is so not skin deep. That’s a myth and more consumers are gaining knowledge that how they look or present (complexion, hair quality) is a direct reflection of health and wellness.
New Jersey-based Lycored published “Beyond Skin Deep,” a 2017 report that investigated consumers’ attitudes toward skin health and beauty. One of the key findings was that ingestible skincare was firmly established as a mainstream category, according to Zev Ziegler, Lycored head of global brand and marketing. The report found that two-thirds of consumers perceived the idea of taking a supplement for skin health or beauty as normal.
In 2019, an updated “Beyond Skin Deep” report showed that 64 percent of consumers now believe a healthy glow is most likely to come from a balance of “from within” and “external” factors. They know that there are no quick fixes from a bottle, and recognize the value of lifestyle factors like sleep, diet and exercise, as well as emotional and mental wellbeing.
In terms of the “gains” they’re seeking, Lycored’s research has shown that skincare consumers are more likely to value natural appearance than the prospect of looking younger, and that a “healthy glow” is a key goal for 72 percent of them.
And on the cosmetic side of the spectrum, growing numbers of consumers are now willing to change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact. The “blue beauty” movement has focused on the impact of chemicals on us, and on the earth’s ecosystems.
In 2021, Ziegler reported, Lycored released new research showing that 89 percent of physically active consumers like the idea of supplements that can promote a healthier relationship between their skin and the sun.
An interesting trend emerged, according to Nutrition Business Journal’s (NBJ) 2021 Condition Specific Report in 2020, sales of cosmetics (makeup) dipped precipitously by 34 percent, but supplements that stimulate improved skin and hair appearance (“beauty”) grew by 7.2 percent, what NBJ characterized as “a significant acceleration from the 3.3 percent in the year before.” Based on data trends, NBJ projects even more robust growth for nutrabeauty supplements this year—at a 9.9 percent year-over-year growth. Further, this is not a small market—it surpassed $1 billion in 2015 and is estimated by NBJ to have reached a comfortable $1.32 billion in sales.
When conceiving your new nutrabeauty formulations, consider where consumers are going to gravitate to learn, engage and purchase. NBJ explained, “the market share is almost evenly split across natural and specialty, mass market retail and direct to consumer, which includes the fast-growing online sales. This may be the last year we see that, however. Natural and specialty had a bad time of it in the pandemic and saw sales of beauty-from-within products drop by 10.3 percent.”
With this picture in mind, NBJ believes this trend will continue for the natural and specialty stores as more consumers obtain their nutrabeauty goodies online, as those products used daily are highly attractive as a subscription.
Tim Hammond, vice president marketing and sales, Bergstrom Nutrition, Washington observed that the pandemic “has caused people to splurge on self-care, if possible, and cosmeceuticals were not left out of the equation. And now, as people shake off the doldrums of pandemic isolation, they want to look and feel their best as they reconnect with friends and family.”
In agreement is Liki von Oppen-Bezalel, PhD, business development director, TriNutra of Israel, who noted, “Well-being and a desire to maintain a youthful, flawless complexion are driving increases in demand for products that help promote skin beauty and health. Consumers have been directly connecting health, mindfulness, well-being and beauty much more than in years past and they are looking for claims that are substantiated through science that address skin elasticity, wrinkles, radiance and dryness—elements of skin health where changes can be recognized and measured.”
She added that demand for supplements that provide sun protection has also grown considerably. Consumers are looking for natural options that work from the inside and the outside to help protect the skin from the risks that come with spending extended periods of time exposed to UV rays. von Oppen-Bezalel commented, “As consumers are looking toward more natural options to help, the expanded natural and sustainable beauty category presents two opportunities: beauty-from-within with supplements and functional food and beverages, and creating cosmetic products called cosmeceuticals using nutraceuticals topically to deliver the desired benefits.”
“Sustained growth” is the phrase that Florencia Moreno, global business development manager, health & nutrition, Rousselot (The Netherlands), stated she would use to describe the current global nutricosmetics market. With numerous fresh opportunities on the horizon, she reported, functional beverages are leading in trending delivery methods, and have seen a 16.8 percent increase in product launches in the past year, according to Innova market research.
She further cited Euromonitor’s Global Beauty Surveys (2018 and 2020) noting that the top consumer drivers for skincare nutraceuticals are resolving acne, reducing visual signs of aging, and a desire to look and feel healthy. “Consumers are increasingly considering how their lifestyle choices and the environment can affect their skin. This more holistic approach is driving demand for ‘inside-out’ skincare. Focusing on natural beauty and preventing imperfections rather than concealing them, the concept of ‘feeding’ good skin health is central to the nutricosmetics market, therefore demand for convenient, ingestible skincare is on the rise.”
Similarly, Shavon Jackson-Michel, ND; director of medical & scientific affairs, New Jersey-based DolCas Biotech observed that today’s consumers similar to those in the past, are looking to maintain a more youthful appearance for longer, and are highly interested in minimizing and/or protecting the skin from damage. However, unlike in the past, there is a greater awareness of the fact that nutritional actives effectuate these changes from the inside often better than they do from the outside, as purely topical agents,” she commented.
While the benefits of skin health and beauty ingredients are applicable and attractive to everyone, today’s nutrabeauty consumers have different goals.
For example, according to von Oppen-Bezalel, middle-aged and older adults want products that help to smooth the skin, reduce wrinkles and pigmentation, and revitalize functions in the skin that lead to a rejuvenated appearance. “This age demographic also wants to age better while younger demographics are looking for radiance, reduced sensitivities, fewer oily ingredients for improved mattifying, and benefits that may relieve acne and acne scars,” she explained, adding that consumers in all age groups want cleaner and more natural options to upgrade current skin health and beauty routines. And this isn’t just limited to women—several natural skin care brands have begun shifting their marketing to include men, with some brands focused entirely on introducing men to the benefits of natural skin care.
In Moreno’s viewpoint, consumers are looking to meet multiple beauty goals with a single, high-quality solution that offers clinically shown results—even if that means a higher price tag, according to data from Euromonitor’s Global Beauty Survey 2020.
Suitable for use in a virtually endless array of formulations, including powders, beverages, gummies and snacks, she described, Rousselot’s Peptan allows supplement producers “to create craveable and innovative products for every demographic.” For example, with Peptan collagen peptides, brands can target hyper-connected Generation Z searching for “selfie-ready” radiant skin, and address Generation X and Baby Boomers’ desire to maintain a healthy, youthful complexion.
Another new aspect of beauty is inclusivity and celebrating distinction. Lycored’s #rethinkbeautiful initiative, Ziegler described, is about challenging conventional thinking around beauty—inspired by the fact that ingestible skincare and nutrition don’t ‘see’ skin color, race or age. They only ‘see’ us at the cellular level, creating a platform for equality and inclusivity.”
Lycored’s LycodermT is a proprietary blend of natural tomato phytonutrients and rosemary leaf, Ziegler described. “The optimal concentrations of lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene and carnosic acid supports skin health and appearance, helping balance the skin’s response to environmental stress, and supporting the maintenance of natural collagen.”
Lycoderm’s benefits are substantiated by a wealth of scientific research, much of which took place very recently. One study found that it benefits overall skin condition as well as visibly boosting radiance and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.1 More recently, pre-clinical research demonstrated that the phytonutrients in Lycoderm work together to inhibit inflammatory cytokines that lead to the degradation of skin collagen.2
In 2019, Lycored launched Lumenato to its ingestible skincare portfolio. Lumenato, Ziegler described, is comprised of natural tomato nutrients (standardized from an exotic tomato breed) and antioxidants “optimized to work synergistically and offer proven benefits for beauty and skin wellness.”
OptiMSM, Bergstrom Nutrition’s branded methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) promotes healthy skin through a few different mechanisms, according to Hammond. First, MSM increases the body’s ability to fight oxidative stress, a major contributor to skin damage. Secondly, it can decrease damage caused by internal inflammation, spurred by stress, dietary habits or normal processes. MSM has also been shown to improve the foundation of the skin, including collagen and other connective tissue proteins. Lastly, MSM can increase growth and improve the appearance and condition of hair and nails.
One study on OptiMSM 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 improvements in skin elasticity and firmness.3
A follow-up 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 OptiMSM effectively reduces visual signs of skin aging even at a low dose of one gram per day.4 MSM can increase growth and improve the appearance and condition of hair and nails. In conclusion, studies indicate just one gram of OptiMSM taken daily provides visible benefits within two weeks for nails and within four weeks for hair and skin in adult females.5
A recent, yet unpublished, study on the combination of one gram of OptiMSM plus 2.5 grams of marine collagen suggests significantly improved skin health and appearance when clinically evaluated at six weeks (skin smoothness and texture) and 12 weeks (reduction and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).
Speaking of collagen—it is a supremely popular supplement in the beauty industry. Collagen is difficult to digest in its native form, “but this is where hydrolyzed, highly bioavailable collagen peptides like Rousselot’s Peptan can offer real benefits,” asserted Moreno. Extracted from bovine, porcine or marine sources, Peptan has been shown in studies to enhance the overall appearance of skin by helping to decrease periorbital and nasolabial wrinkles, while improving skin hydration and moisturization.6
New from Rousselot is Peptan Marine, a new solution designed to complement Rousselot’s aquaculture collagen peptide range. Peptan Marine was specifically developed to address demand for sustainably sourced marine fish collagen peptides, an ingredient space that has seen a threefold increase in new product launches between 2018 and 2020, according to Innova Market Insights. “Peptan Marine offers producers a versatile collagen peptide solution that can give popular formats ‘premium appeal,’” said Moreno. “For example, the solution is suitable for use in fortified ready-to-drink beverages, powder blends, gummies, bars and other trending categories.”
In a recent cutting-edge fundamental study,7 targeted analysis of human serum drawn after Peptan supplementation showed increased levels of hydroxyproline-carrying dipeptides, known markers for collagen bioavailability. “These dipeptides (Hydroxyproline-Glycine and Proline-Hydroxyproline) significantly contributed to the total increase of hydroxyproline, the characteristic amino acid of collagen, in the blood. This means that Peptan collagen peptides can be efficiently digested, absorbed and delivered to the site of action, which refers to the targeted tissue such as skin and hair,” Moreno described.
Dolcas Biotech’s clinically researched, low-molecular weight collagen peptide ingredient, Morikol, was developed using a proprietary enzymatic process that targets the digestion of larger oligo and polypeptide collagen derivatives into smaller, easy to absorb, basic collagen units known as tripeptides, according to Jackson-Michel. These tripeptides are taken up by the digestive tract using an exclusive transporter that quickly avails them to the bloodstream reducing the time and effort otherwise required of larger collagen actives. Marine-sourced Morikol delivers of 15 percent standard of these tripeptides and in clinical study was able to deliver statistically significant and observable benefits in aging, Jackson-Michel reported.
The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial clinically evaluated the effect on human skin hydration, wrinkling and elasticity in 64 participants who supplemented with Morkol low-molecular-weight collagen peptide (LMWCP) or placebo for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, visual assessment score and three parameters of skin wrinkling, hydration and elasticity were significantly improved compared with the placebo group. These results suggest that Morikol can be used as a functional food ingredient to improve human skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkling.8
TriNutra specifically developed ThymoQuin for dietary consumption and B’utyQuin for topical applications and, according to von Oppen-Bezalel, both are full-spectrum, cold-pressed black seed oils, standardized to 3 percent thymoquinone and very low free fatty acids. “Our research has shown that black seed oil—when either consumed or applied topically—is able to effectively manage multiple facets of skin health and beauty,” she described. “Long existing research has touted black seed oil as a potent modulator of the inflammatory response and our own research has found that the unique composition of our oil enhances the results. Modulating inflammation is important to help diminish ‘inflammaging’ and provide soothing relief from redness, itchiness, heat and sensitivities. Black seed oil is also known for its strong antioxidant capacity, improving protection to the skin.”
She added that ThymoQuin works at a cellular level by improving mitochondrial functions, including those that normally subside with age. ThymoQuin (and B’utyQuin) can improve ATP production and cellular metabolism and machinery, energizing and hydrating the skin for a smoother, tighter, more effective protective barrier against pollution and other irritants that can harm the skin.
Overall, ingredients for nutrabeauty are about more than just helping consumers to look younger. It’s deeper than that, according to Lycored’s InnerGlow report 2019. Findings from its consumer survey confirm that achieving a skin “glow” is a key goal. According to the report, “The results also align with previous research on the growing importance of naturality and the diminishing appeal of simply appearing younger.” NIE
1 Tarshish, Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmaceutics 2020.
2 Calniquer, Molecules 2021.
3 Anthonavage, Natural Medicine Journal 2015.
4 Muizzuddin, International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 2020.
5 Muizzuddin, Natural Medicine Journal 2019.
6 Asserin, Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2015.
7 Kleinnijenhuis, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 2019.
8 Kim, Nutrients 2018.