Shining a light on skincare’s healthy glow


Zev Ziegler, Lycored’s Head of Global Brand and Marketing, Health, discusses research that offers new insights into the beauty from within sector

A “healthy glow” is an increasingly important goal for users of skincare products, both topical and ingestible. According to the Daily Telegraph: “The most sought-after look right now is glowing from the inside out.”1 However, there is no one single definition of what the term “glow” actually means to consumers.

So, at Lycored, we set out to explore how they understood it, what they saw as the most effective way to achieve it and, more broadly, which skincare goals were most important to them. We surveyed more than 500 consumers in six different countries … and discovered some interesting findings.

The first was the importance of naturality. We presented respondents with a list of words or phrases associated with skincare and asked which ones they most wanted to achieve. The one that scored best was “natural appearance,” picked by 77% of consumers — higher than the numbers who chose smooth texture or youthful appearance. This is in line with previous research on the growing importance of naturality and the diminishing appeal of simply appearing younger.

As one commentator put it: “The trend to aspire to [look] ten years younger is gradually being eclipsed by the desire for a healthy, natural, youthful glow.”2 It’s also a key finding for manufacturers sourcing ingredients for skincare products, because a consumer who is focused on achieving naturality is also likely to want products containing natural ingredients.

Zev Ziegler, Head of Global Brand and Marketing, Health, Lycored

Zev Ziegler, Head of Global Brand and Marketing, Health, Lycored

The second key finding was that consumers understood “glow” in very holistic terms ― as a quality with emotional and mental elements as well as physical ones. When asked which words they most associate with the idea of a healthy glow, almost half our survey respondents picked “overall/holistic wellness,” along with more physical terms such as smooth texture and even complexion.

In addition, more than a third said mental or emotional wellness was one of the terms they associated with a healthy glow.

The respondents were also asked where they thought a healthy glow comes from. One in five (22%) said it was most likely to come from within, higher than the number (15%) who said it is most likely to come from external factors, such as applying a skincare product topically. However, the majority (64%) said a healthy glow is most likely to come from a combination or balance of both “within” and “external” factors.

The third key finding was the level of awareness of the importance of nutrition in achieving a healthy glow. Almost all (98%) agreed with the following statement: “Good nutrition is necessary to achieve a healthy glow.” And when they were asked which factors were most likely to provide it, the second highest score was for healthy diet/nutrition, which was picked by 65% of survey respondents, second only to getting the right amount of sleep.

Finally, we asked respondents to rank four foods in order of how likely they thought they were to give their skin a healthy glow. The highest ranked were those rich in vitamin E, such as almonds and sunflower seeds, shortly followed by those rich in carotenoids such as carrots and tomatoes.

Two thirds (65%) ranked these in either first or second place, ahead of foods that are rich in collagen (46%). In fourth place were foods infused with rosemary, which 11% of respondents ranked in either first or second place.

These findings were of particular interest to Lycored because we offer a range of whole food extracts and blends that are rich in carotenoids such as lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene. Lycoderm, our proprietary blend for skincare supplements, is also rich in vitamin E and therefore includes the two food ingredients that, according to our survey, consumers most associate with a healthy glow.

Overall, our research paints a picture of sophisticated skincare consumers ― a natural appearance is far more important to them than goals such as looking younger.

"They want a healthy glow but know it can’t come from a tube and is achieved through a complex combination of external and “from within factors.” Finally, they understand the importance of nutrition and the role that vitamin- and carotenoid-rich foods play in achieving that much sought-after “glow.”


  1. C. Thorp, “Skincare Secrets: How Healthy Became the New Beauty Goal,” Daily Telegraph (1 March 2019):
  2. A. Hart-Davis, “Grey Pound Buys an Ageless Look,” Raconteur (4 September 2013):

This article will appear in the May/June issue of Nutraceutical Business Review. To read a previous issue, click here.