Nutricosmetics: a science-driven approach to beauty

Published: 13-Oct-2022

As its name suggests, nutricosmetics represents a variety of nutritional solutions that provide external health and beauty benefits (as do cosmetics); these solutions target the overall health and appearance of our skin, hair and nails, reports Asdjad Aboudou, Product Manager, Health and Beauty Division, Robertet

With the rise of holistic beauty and health, the nutricosmetics market is growing and becoming increasingly competitive. It is expected to reach a value of $11.4 billion by 2027 (compared with $6.7 billion in 2019).

This market is notably driven by the “healthy ageing” trend: ageing, but ageing well! Historically, the nutricosmetics market was mainly occupied by pharmaceutical and/or food supplement laboratories wishing to diversify their portfolio.

The main stakeholders were, for example, Herbalife, BASF and/or Pfizer. Now, many new stakeholders are positioning themselves within this market, including

  • small stakeholders: small brands (often start-ups) that are surfing this new trend and offering innovative solutions, often with very aesthetic packaging, that correspond perfectly to the world of social networks — where image is paramount.
  • beauty stakeholders: large cosmetic companies that are rushing into nutricosmetics and seizing the opportunity to bring new solutions to the beauty market in general.

However, regardless of their history and objectives, these companies must respond to the same challenge: the need to create a climate of trust to acquire and retain more customers. To do so, their solutions must deliver reassurance on two levels:

  • the guarantee of a controlled origin, the naturalness of the excipients and their traceability, as well as total transparency
  • perceived and recognised benefits, as well as scientifically proven efficacy, notably through  clinical studies.

Why are nutricosmetics more attractive than before?
We have long known that food plays an important role in our well-being and beauty. Who hasn’t heard that carrots give your skin a healthy glow, for example? Or that excess fat can cause skin rashes?

There are many nutrients that influence the health of our skin, hair and nails. Let’s take the example of carrots: they contain beta-carotene, one of the forms of vitamin A. This vitamin is involved in many metabolic reactions, including

  • the perception of light in the retina (carotenoids are transformed into retinoids in response to light)
  • the transcription of many genes
  • protection from cell damage by way of their antioxidant properties
  • protection of the skin from UV rays (thanks to retinoids)
  • collagen synthesis
  • cell renewal.

These last three reactions are involved in skin health. Indeed, collagen is a structural protein that’s essential to the construction and renewal of skin tissue (among others).

A deficiency in collagen in the skin tissue is responsible for the appearance of wrinkles.

Therefore, many cosmetic and nutricosmetic solutions contain collagen and vitamin A (or its derivatives).

In addition, studies have demonstrated the existence of an intestine-brain-skin axis. They reveal that the intestine and the brain are involved in skin health: some diseases, such as psoriasis, acne or dermatitis, are supposedly linked to a dysfunction of this axis.

Thus, intestinal health is linked to the health of the skin. Although the impact of diet on health and beauty is known and proven, it has not always been the norm to associate nutrition and beauty. However, since the pandemic-induced health crisis, our approach to beauty has totally changed: it has become more holistic.

It is now clear, for a large proportion of the population, that beauty requires a healthy diet and a wholesome lifestyle, as well as physical and mental well-being. There is a general awareness that beauty is both internal and external. Thus, the nutricosmetic market, once a niche, is now experiencing a great boom.

Science: an essential pillar of nutricosmetics
Consumer expectations are growing in parallel with the size of the market. Indeed, the nutricosmetics sector’s main challenge is to offer reliable and efficient solutions — with proven effectiveness — that inspire consumer trust.

As such, for each active ingredient used, it is necessary to detail its mechanism of action in the most transparent way possible — and to associate a study that objectively proves its effectiveness. The studies can be of two types:

  • consumer: end users test the products and express their feelings afterwards; they are qualitative and allow targets to better represent themselves
  • clinical: these provide scientific proof of the mechanisms of action and effects of the active ingredients/products; they support the claims and statements of finished products.

Ingredient suppliers therefore play a key role in building consumer trust. Indeed, they manufacture and market the active ingredients that are present in nutricosmetic solutions. They are therefore responsible for guaranteeing the origin of the ingredients and for providing solid proof of effectiveness based on reliable studies.

Robertet Health & Beauty is committed to supplying only natural, 100% plant-based, high-quality active ingredients that are backed up by clinical studies. For 20 years, Robertet has been developing its nutricosmetic range with dedicated R&D teams; key factors include robust science with proof of efficacy and a demonstrated mechanism of action for each branded ingredient.

In addition, Robertet conducts reference studies with specialised CROs: 11 clinical studies have been done for its ingestible beauty products. The company offers a range of four branded ingredients backed by science for skin, body and hair.

Lipowheat is the most clinically studied ceramide ingredient on the market. This gluten-free wheat extract is very rich in phytoceramides and glycolipids, which offer protective and restructuring benefits for skin. The spectrum of its efficacy covers a wide range of properties that are characteristic of youthful and healthy skin, such as glow, hydration, visible wrinkle reduction, plumping effect and firmness.

Additionally, Lipowheat has a long-lasting effect of up to 8 weeks after supplementation for skin hydration and wrinkle reduction benefits (Figure 1).

Nutricosmetics: a science-driven approach to beauty

Figure 1: Wrinkle reduction by Lipowheat according to the Lemperle score 

Holimel helps to protect skin from UV and reduces any associated skin damage. It is a unique and effective solution for daily protection against exogenous threats and premature age based on the action of super oxide dismutase (SOD) — a powerful antioxidant extracted from French Cantaloupe melon.

Clinical studies have been done to prove its efficacy for both ingestible and topical applications (Figure 2).

Nutricosmetics: a science-driven approach to beauty

Figure 2: Improvement of the skin’s resistance to UV with Holimel

Dimpless is one of the only active ingredients that has been scientifically demonstrated to act against both collagen fibrosis and fat cell hypertrophy, the two main causes of the appearance of cellulite. Dimpless, a natural source of bioactive SOD from melon, represents an effective solution to restore skin elasticity and correct the appearance of dimples (Figure 3).

Nutricosmetics: a science-driven approach to beauty

Figure 3: Fat cell size reduction and fibrosis resorption with Dimpless

Nutricosmetics: a science-driven approach to beauty

Keranat is a patented natural hair ingredient that helps to reduce hair loss, increase hair volume and enhances hair beauty (Figure 4). It is made from millet, which contains a very rare molecule called miliacin that is at the heart of a patented encapsulation system to improve its bioavailability.  

Figure 4: Reduction of hair loss with Keranat

Nutricosmetic solutions are governed by science, which not only ensures their effectiveness, it also certifies their integrity and safety for consumers. Moreover, scientific studies are essential to be competitive and innovative in this market.

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