Beauty from within trend sparks a new era in nutricosmetics

Having beautiful skin is a universal desire. But as conversations about what constitutes a stunning visage evolves, consumers are moving away from traditional topical routines to whole body remedies. In the dynamic market of new cosmetics and beauty launches, you must be quick to identify the latest trends – and nutricosmetics is among the hottest of all new products, says Carla Felgueiras, global manager, ingredients at Novastell.

Carla Felgueiras, global manager, ingredients at Novastell
Carla Felgueiras, global manager, ingredients at Novastell

Nutricosmetics, loosely referred to as a combination of nutrition and cosmetics, can include micronutrient and vitamin therapy that supports the immune system, boosts collagen production for an anti-ageing effect, and improves the health of skin, hair and nails. The term “nutricosmetic” was first coined by Swedish biochemist Ake Dahlgren, who was behind its commercial launch in the 1980s.

Since then, the market for nutricosmetics has exploded. The category was valued at $6.925.49bn in 2020 and is estimated to register a CAGR of 8.05% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026.1 A big motivator for the growth has been the COVID-19 pandemic. As factors such as mask-wearing and lockdown started to bite into consumers’ skin health – resulting in conditions such as ‘maskne’. This saw shoppers gravitating towards natural health and beauty remedies and spikes in interest for botanical actives in “beauty-from-within” products.

To fully embrace the nutricosmetic approach to beauty, formulators and new product developers must understand how consumers respond to these trends. Clear communication is also needed on how ingesting nutrients, micronutrients and other active compounds aids skin health.

Health supplements with cosmetic benefits
The nutricosmetics trend is surging in popularity, as it addresses consumer demand for a more sustainable, clean label, natural and wellness-based beauty regime

Inner health is key to our appearance

Science backs the premise that a traditional skin care routine is not enough to ensure beautiful skin, and that a lack of micro- and macronutrients can lead to skin problems. To offset these conditions, the beauty industry is urging consumers to up their nutritional intake by incorporating a healthy and balanced diet, which can supply the essential micronutrients and antioxidant-rich substances to neutralise free radical damage.

In normal physiology, our bodies naturally produce free radicals to combat external aggressors such as viruses and bacteria. However, an abundance of free radicals affects the skin’s structural layer and defensive barrier, including collagen and lipids.

Free radicals can damage the skin when trying to grab an extra electron from other molecules in the body. When these molecules are “stolen”, it causes direct damage to the skin’s DNA, which results in accelerated skin ageing. Skin damage due to free radicals can appear in several forms: premature wrinkles; unwanted pigmentation; unevenness in skin tone; and lacklustre skin. Over time, the effects of free radical damage become more noticeable – this is known as a free radical cascade.2

The beauty of the sea buckthorn berry

The booming nutricosmetics market includes a wide range of health supplements that can positively influence skin, hair and nails. Most of us are already familiar with various vitamins, whose skin care benefits have been known for decades. Yet people are increasingly looking to zinc, omega 3 and 6, certain enzymes and phospholipids as defence mechanisms to protect skin against free radical damage and multiple modern aggressors, including pollutants, cigarette smoke, stress and a sedentary lifestyle.

As we age, the body’s natural production of unsaturated fatty acids begins to slow down and can only be supplemented by diet. There are various groups of unsaturated fatty acids, among them, omega 7 is a rare family of unsaturated fatty acids provided by the sea buckthorn berry. Also known as the “holy fruit of Tibet”, this berry has a long history of use in traditional medicine in Tibet and China, where it was used to treat coughs, digestive problems, skin problems, wounds and burns.

CyanthOx is a unique sea buckthorn extract with a rich combination of polyphenols, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins. This ingredient is said to skin from photo ageing and the effects of pollution. It also helps to improve collagen formation and promotes skin regeneration and repair.

Omegia is a standardised ingredient containing a balanced ratio of omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 unsaturated fatty acids. The high concentration of omega 7 is said to help reduce inflammation.

Sea buckthorn oil is clinically supported to:

  • improve skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkles
  • regulate sebum
  • promote collagen synthesis
  • protect the skin from UV rays.

Nature’s anti-ageing active

Phospholipids have been cited for their holistic benefit and impact on the so-called gut, skin and brain axis. At gut level, food constituents can directly affect the pathophysiology of this organ by modulating both the enterocyte function and microbiota. The result is a complex network that can lead to a low grade of inflammation, yet the cross-talk between microbiota and the immune system can affect skin health positively.4

Phospholipids, the main structural component of the cell membranes in the body, are integral to skin health. Healthy skin is even in tone, hydrated, moisturised and firm. To achieve this requires proper skin cell function and water retention. Skin cells high in nutrients can help to combat skin ageing and nourishing skin cells from within is vital to ensure optimal barrier function – resulting in a smoother and visibly healthier dermis.

When taken as a health supplement, phospholipids offer cosmetic benefits such as helping skin to lock in moisture. They also support the body’s natural hydration process while promoting optimal skin barrier function. Marine phospholipids in particular work at a deep cellular level to help maintain hydration, elasticity and barrier function, acting as an improved lipid carrier and reducing water loss.

Nutricosmetic health supplements are generally available in different formats, including capsules, sachets, gummies, chewing gum and functional beverages, whose bioavailabity rests on which format the manufacturer or formulator chooses.

Although nutritional foods are still the best defence, health supplements may work holistically and play a complementary role in addressing consumers’ beauty, health and wellbeing needs. The beauty industry is also excited about the potential of pre-and probiotic ingredients, which play a significant role in regulating the gut microbiome and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.4

An expert in nutricosmetic development

The nutricosmetics trend is surging in popularity, as it addresses consumer demand for a more sustainable, clean label, natural and wellness-based beauty regime. Brand owners that can formulate new supplements targeting specific beauty issues will find strong opportunities for their innovative products.

At Novastell, we assist formulators and brand owners in developing these new products by harnessing the best that nature provides. For example, our extensive range of functional phospholipid ingredients us targeted at the food supplement, beauty and personal care industries to meet the latest needs.

If nutricosmetics are the focus for your next product development, contact our team today and discover a world of stunning products at your fingertips. Click here to find out more about Novastell.



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