The future’s bright for inside out sun protection


Dr Tal Offer, Product Manager for Dietary Supplement Technologies, Lycored, examines the emerging market of suncare-from-within

Sunscreen is always a smart choice. Increasingly, though, clinicians agree that tackling skin damage caused by the sun from the inside out with ingestible products is more efficient and effective than applying topical creams and sprays alone.

This is particularly true because the majority of our exposure to the sun is incidental, occurring during normal everyday activities when we are less likely to use topical products, rather than through intentional sunbathing.

However, it’s also the case that during those times when we deliberately expose ourselves to the sun — most notably while on vacation — that a combination of both topical sunscreen and ingestible skin protection will offer a 'belt and braces' solution, the best of both worlds, giving consumers both reassurance and, most importantly, all over protection.

As such, we think there’s a great opportunity for manufacturers of skin protection creams and sprays to extend their product portfolios into the emerging market for suncare-from-within. They have excellent brand equity already, and command high levels of trust among consumers — which is essential in a market in which safety is of paramount importance.

Education would be needed, of course, and this is where existing sunscreen companies with established brands would have a head start. They are already talking to consumers about sun protection, and consumers are already listening to them. It’s a great opportunity and one that is presenting itself at a time when concern regarding the effects of exposure to the sun is at an all-time high.

In addition, the outlook for the beauty-from-within category is very positive. A recent report by Transparency Market Research forecasts that the global nutricosmetics market will more than double in value to $7.16 billion in 2020, up from sales of $3.36 billion in 2013.1

This demonstrates that consumer minds are opening up to the concept of beauty-from-within. Ingestible skin protection presents an excellent opportunity to get in on the ground floor and build an established presence in this market during the next 5 years.

There are two key factors to consider when selecting an active ingredient for a skin protection ingredient:

Naturalness: consumers are increasingly reluctant to consume ingredients that they perceive to be artificial. They want products made from materials and components that sound familiar to them, not like they’re out of a chemistry set.

Efficacy: any nutritional ingredient should have scientific proof behind it, but in this area it’s even more important because people will be depending on it to protect them from the sun.

The future’s bright for inside out sun protection

Lycored offers a unique suncare-from-within ingredient that meets both of these criteria. Called Lyc-O-Derm, it is made from a rosemary extract standardized for the antioxidant carnosic acid, and a whole-fruit skin-grade tomato extract that is rich in the natural carotenoids lycopene, phytoene and phytofluene.

Lyc-O-Derm has consistently been shown in clinical trials to protect the skin from sun-induced DNA damage. It also protects the skin from, and limits, the redness caused by sunburn. In addition, it preserves and maintains the texture, density and thickness of skin to maintain a more youthful appearance. The latest tests involving Lyc-O-Derm were done at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf in Germany. In the double-blind placebo-controlled study, 80 participants received a 12-week supply of Lyc-O-Derm or a placebo.

Because accumulative incidental sun contact is the highest form of UV exposure, participants with bright skin tones who live in Germany or Scotland were chosen, where residents experience an average of 40 minutes of daily sun exposure year-round. To mirror this daily sun exposure, and ensure accurate results, participants were exposed to a quantified amount of UV. Formation of sunburn (erythema) was then monitored.

The interim results are in … and they are very encouraging: in those subjects that took Lyc-O-Derm, skin redness as a result of UV exposure was significantly reduced following supplementation. Although brighter skin types are at a higher risk of photodamage, it has been shown that skin damage, skin ageing and skin diseases affect most populations, and these promising results could represent a benchmark for future research into the effect that this nutrient complex has on other skin types.

Suncare-from-within remains an emerging category, but it is shaping up to be an important one in the next few years as consumers wise up to the dangers of the sun. Natural and backed by strong scientific evidence, Lyc-O-Derm is perfectly poised to lead the way as the category takes off.