Nutri-cosmetics is a growing market. USA is leading the sales of dietary supplements and since 2010, this market segment has enjoyed annual growth of around 15%… to be followed.

Article realized in collaboration with David Martinetto – Analytical Expert, Pharmaceutical Industry

What makes the inside feeling good can be seen on the outside – that’s how nutricosmetics is defined, a new and growing trend.

The first alliance between nutrition and cosmetics was born in the 1970s, in Germany, with a product sold as a complement to the beauty of skin and hair, containing vitamins and amino acids.

Originally, nutricosmetics was a segment of nutraceuticals (bringing together nutrition and pharmaceuticals) before becoming a category in its own within cosmeceuticals (bringing together cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals).

Nutricosmetics is therefore situated at the intermediary of cosmetics & nutrition.

The first organ targeted by nutricosmetics: the skin.

This largest protective organ of the human body, the skin, is attacked on a daily basis by various factors such as stress, pollution or food.

While conventional cosmetics treats the superficial layers of the skin, nutricosmetics offers natural ingredients that act from the inside, at a systemic level.

Let’s take collagen as an example: applied topically, its effect will be limited to the superficial layers by the cutaneous barrier, which will limit its absorption.

However, when ingested, most of it is absorbed through the intestinal mucosa and the effects on the skin will be much greater.

Under these conditions, wouldn’t there be an interest in using a nutricosmetic in addition to a cosmetic product?

The nutricosmetics market has really emerged in Asia, and particularly in Japan where it represents, today, more than 25% of food supplement launches.

In China, the market is exploding and growth forecasts are very optimistic.

In Europe, and particularly in France, the market is currently at half mast, limited by regulatory constraints, but above all by a concept that is essential for the French: delicacy. What do good must be good!

The challenges for research and industry are therefore numerous.

Formulas that combine several ingredients to obtain fruitful synergistic effects are a challenge for formulators.

It is a job combining science and palatability to achieve the right balance between the dosage of active ingredients, the appearance of the product and its organoleptic properties (organoleptic is anything that is likely to excite a sensory receptor) in order to obtain an effective and pleasant result.

There are many trendy ingredients in nutricosmetics:

  • Essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) which improve the suppleness of the skin and the skin barrier function
  • Trace elements (selenium, zinc) which participate in the reduction of oxidative stress.
  • Probiotics that increase nutrient absorption
  • Some vitamins that reduce the signs of aging and improve skin tone
  • Plant extracts such as soy rich in isoflavones that stimulate cell renewal or aloe vera that promotes collagen production.

They can be consumed in different forms such as energy bars, functional drinks, yoghurts, capsules and tablets, etc.

To gain its place, nutricosmetics will have to meet several challenges: to innovate, to clinically validate the claimed effects and to please consumers.

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