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Sandy Almendarez

July 7, 2011

16 Min Read

Top Cosmeceutical Market IssuesSales decreased with the recession, but are bouncing back nicely as consumers from several demographics treat themselves to the luxury of better beauty. Lack of government regulation and consumer desire to avoid greenwashing has increased the need for products to carry third-party certification. Cosmeceutical buyers, especially women, are looking for branded ingredients that have been clinically tested for bioavailability.

Consumers want the products that fill their bathroom shelves to not only make them look more attractive, but also be safe for their families, animals and the environment. Beyond the morning get-ready routine, supplements are also making a name in the beauty industry as ingestible products are increasingly positioned with personal-care messaging.

These products and more fall into the cosmeceutical category, which is growing in market size from number of sales and number of potential consumers. In addition to aging Baby Boomers, the Generation-X/30-something consumers are striving to maintain their youthful looks, said Steve Holtby, president and CEO, Soft Gel Technologies Inc. (SGTI). They are spending thousands of dollars on cosmetic products and procedures to help reverse, or at least suspend, the aging process.

Younger consumers are joining the Boomers and Matures by focusing on healthy aging, and according to the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Healthy Aging is Getting Younger" is a health and wellness trend for 2011. NMI noted the "healthy aging" concept has now been embraced across the entire demographic spectrum.

Cosmeceuticals are there to address these needs. Wherever we look there are anti-aging products, and its not just for the Baby Boomers; men and 20-something year olds are also buying products, said Ellen Delisle, technical sales manager, personal care division, Bio-Botanica Inc.

April 2011 research from Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) reported nutricosmetic products are primarily targeted at women aged 40 or older because they are particularly concerned about appearance, health and age-related issues. However, the research firm noted nutricosmetics are also gaining popularity among younger women in the age group of 25 to 35, due to the desire to stay youthful and start early with remedial measures. Lately, nutricosmetics have further widened to include the hitherto largely ignored category of men. Although at present the market potential is highly untapped and mainly restricted to products dealing with hair-loss issues, GIA said the male grooming segment is beginning to catch up with the rest.

While more are buying, consumers are skeptical of beauty-from-within products, and say they believe genes and lifestyle affect aging more than external products, according to March 2011 Mintel research. However, consumers still have a small hope that cosmeceuticals may help stave off wrinkles and age spots. Almost seven in 10 (69 percent) of consumers believe how one ages is mostly genetic, eight in 10 consumers think diet and exercise are the most important factors associated with aging skin, and 78 percent say using sunscreen is the real key to preventing visible signs of aging. Even with the skepticism, more than half (69 percent) also reported the earlier one starts using age-prevention remedies, the better off she is.

The earlier-the-better mentality may be helping to drive sales. In April 2011, Datamonitor noted the global personal hygiene/personal care industry is growing. It reported growth for bath and shower products (total revenues of $9.6 billion in 2009, representing a compound annual growth rate [CAGR] of 3.4 percent for the period spanning 2005 to 2009), deodorants market ($11.9 billion, CAGR of 3.8 percent), facial care ($41.6 billion, CAGR of 4.7 percent), fragrances ($32.2 billion, CAGR of 4.6 percent) and hair care ($41.2 billion, CAGR of 3.6 percent).

While the market is increasing, those CAGRs arent as big as many would like. Mintel reported in March 2011 the economic recession is still hampering cosmeceutical sales. In 2010, 26 percent of consumers spent less on beauty, and 40 percent of U.K. adults said they were shopping around more to compare prices on beauty products. Seven million shoppers (14 percent) have bought more special offers, promotions and discounts, while approximately 2.5 million (5 percent) said they use the Internet more to research prices as well as product details.

However, Mintel did find consumers are still prepared to pay extra for small luxuries, with one-third of consumers prepared to pay more for good-quality fragrances and more than one in five on skin care (23 percent) and cosmetics (21 percent). And, in the U.K., total monies spent on beauty has risen 8.5 percent, from £15.4 billion in 2009 to £16.8 billion in 2010.

Euromonitor research found similar results, as Carrie Lennard, beauty and personal care industry analyst, Euromonitor, noted most consumers will sacrifice many other areas of spending before altering their attempts to hold on to a youthful appearance. As a result, she said, the anti-aging category is set to gain more than US$5 billion over 2009 to 2014. The crucial reason behind this is anti-agers are seen by many as an investment in future skin health. Skin care manufacturers would be well advised to focus their product development budgets on producing high-quality, scientifically proven anti-aging ranges, she advised.

The market may be experiencing a rainbow after the economic thunderstorm as the NPD Group reported high-end beauty products performed well in the first quarter of 2011, with March sales up 2 percent from the same month a year ago. Sales of prestige fragrances fared the best, with dollar sales up 6 percent for the month. Year-to-date, the NPD Group said sales of total prestige beauty products are at $1.98 billionan increase of 5 percent from the first three months of last year. Fragrance dollar sales are up 6 percent, makeup 5 percent and skin care 6 percent.

 The cosmeceutical market will continue to grow in the United States in the next 10 years, but Japan will be in the lead, said Bryan See, regional product manager, Carotech Inc. We also expect to see China to move into the market in a bold way, seeing that China is now the second largest economy in the world with a large population.

Globally, the professional skin care products market experienced declines in 2009: Europe experienced a 3.3-percent decline in 2009, according to Kline & Co. However, sales were up in 2010, the market firm noted. Although Japan remained flat with 0.1-percent growth, Europe recovered in 2010 posting a 3-percent increase, and sales in the United States increased by 2.7 percent in 2010. Over the next five years, Kline said it expects the market to increase at a CAGR of 4.2 percent in Europe, 6.7 percent in the United States and 2.6 percent in Japan.

In April 2011, RNCOS reported with increasing disposable income and product availability, the cosmetic sales in India is expected to surge at a CAGR of around 18 percent from 2011 to 2014. RNCOS said female consumers have helped spur this market; however, the mind-set of male consumers is also changing due to the increasing influence of media and Western exposure. And GIA reported Japan and Europe represent the leading markets worldwide, but universal growth and acceptance of the nutricosmetics concept is severely hindered by the skepticism surrounding the product claims made by manufacturers, which in several cases fall short of consumer expectations.

Regulation and Third-Party Participation

What consumers expect and what they actually get may be disjoined because this market is still trying to define itself. Generally speaking, cosmeceuticals refer to personal care products that include a pharmaceutical or nutraceutical element. If you ask the general person on the street, he will say its a cosmetic and a pharmaceutical, said Cara Welch, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, Natural Products Association (NPA). I treat it as a cosmetic that gives a clinical aspect or a pharmaceutical aspect. Obviously, you cant make a drug claim, but something that makes a chemical change.

Industry members and consumers may have their own definition, but the most important thing here is FDA doesnt. I think its important to first establish what we mean when we say cosmeceuticals, said Jaclyn Bowen, QAIs general manager. While the generally understood definition is a cosmetic with some type of medicinal benefit, its important to realize that there is no definition of cosmeceutical under the FDA Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.

Welch added, I dont want to imply FDA isnt doing a good job. I think it is doing the best it can considering all the products it is regulatingfood, drugs, dietary supplements, over-the-counters (OTCs) and cosmetics. Cosmetics get the lesser end of the budget, and subsequently less manpower and less resources in the regulatory aspect. Claims are definitely something cosmetic companies need to watch out for. If you go too far and say you treat, cure or mitigate a disease, you are considered a drug, and the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) definitely has resources. There are serious consequences for making drug claims.

With the across-the-board implementation of cGMPs (current good manufacturing practices) one year old for supplements, Holbty said he hopes regulation will become tighter in the cosmeceutical market. It will take time to see how the FDA GMPs will affect current business, costs of raw materials and prices of finished goods. The tighter regulations mean prices will definitely increase, and also that companies whose quality programs are not as robust as others will need to quickly instate adequate protocols or risk losing business.

He also lamented the abuse of the word natural in this industry. Shockingly, there is no minimum requirement of natural ingredients to be present in a product for a manufacturer to be able to use natural in the name or marketing, he said. A product can therefore be 100-percent synthetic, but still use the word natural on it, which is hugely misleading for the consumer. He suggested the establishment of an international governing body to certify the presence of natural ingredients, similar to the bodies already established for the use of the word organic.

However, that governmental body does not exist for natural. USDAs National Organic Program (NOP), certifies personal care products as 75-, 95- or 100-percent organic per the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA). Many European countries also certify organic standards, including Germany and the U.K., and others have combined their efforts to homogenize organic personal care standards with the European Cosmetics Standards Working Group's Cosmetics Organic Standard (COSMOS). COSMOS consists of BIOFORUM from Belgium, COSMEBIO and ECOCERT from France, BDIH from Germany, AIAB and ICEA from Italy, and SOIL ASSOCIATION from the U.K.

The regulatory landscape is constantly evolving, not only here in the United States, but also abroad, said Suhail Ishaq, president, BioCell Technology LLC. These changes provide both never-before-seen opportunities, as well as arduous challenges to the dietary supplement industry.

This nonregulation also causes challenges for consumers pressed for time, but who also desire something natural. They may look to third-party certifiers to do the legwork for them. For instance, the NPA has its Natural Personal Care Standard and Seal, which requires a minimum of 95 percent of ingredients from natural sources and no ingredients with any potential suspected human health risks, among other requirements. In February 2011, NATRUE and NSF International partnered up to develop a U.S. standard for natural personal care products that defines the term natural for cosmetics, oral care and personal hygiene products.

Being supported by a third-party nonprofit organization seal can set you apart from the other five products that are on the shelf, Welch said. We see the USDA organic seal as setting a bar. If you claim organic, consumers expect you to meet that bar. Ideally, the NPA seal will set the bar for natural. If you say natural, consumers are going to recognize the NPA seal and expect the product to reach that bar. And conventional is conventional; there will always be a market there.

Third-party certifications seem to be necessary without government regulations, at least to consumers who increasingly want eco-friendly products. There is an increasing concern with the environmental impact of our cosmetics (both how they are made and their impact once they have been used), and also growing concern about what goes on our skin, Holtby said.

Christian Artaria, marketing director and head of functional food development, Indena S.p.A, said going green is not a trend, but an imperative demanded by the market. Being natural is now often combined with sustainability, he said. Both environmental consciousness as well as a social sustainability are dominant trends.


Just like wanting a third-party to give the OK on natural, consumers increasingly want products verified by the third-party, so to speak, of scientists. These new consumers are proactive about cosmeceutical products and are not ready to take product manufacturers word on efficacy; they want research. Cosmeceutical brands are seen as trend leaders in high-tech, advanced skin care, said Nica Lewis, head consultant, beauty innovation, Mintel. They tend to use the newest active ingredients and technologies, often backed by research from biochemists or medical professionals. The scientific and clinical expertise lends credibility. Lewis added in the United States, 35 percent of women actively seek personal care products that have been clinically tested (The Beauty and Personal Care Consumer, U.S., January 2010). Mintels survey showed women and higher household income respondents are more likely to seek clinically tested beauty products.

The industry will need to continue focusing on scientific research in order to alter the public consciousness with regard to cosmeceuticals and skin health, Ishaq said. Product manufacturers need to focus on sound science in order to market their products. Today's consumer is definitely more apt to do his own research before purchasing; therefore, companies need to formulate products that are based on sound scientific findings.

Consumers expect solid scientific results, but also respond to simple messages, according to Artaria. The first point is to select ingredients that have clinical validation and then translate these benefits into common words that are understandable to all consumers.

See said Carotechs tocotrienols Tocomin® and Tocomin SupraBio® are backed by significant research addressing anti-aging, anti-wrinkling, skin lightening, increased wound healing, scar reduction and hair loss. He also noted SupraBio guarantees an average of 250-percent increase in tocotrienol absorption over vitamin E tocopherols.

BASFs Xangold® natural lutein esters is another branded ingredient that has research showing benefits to skin hydration, elasticity and moisturizing, according to the company. Xangold can provide a number of claims for beauty-from-within product marketing materials, such as helps protect against UV damage, and helps maintain healthy skin.

SGTIs coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) ingredients (CoQsol®, CoQsol-CF® and CoQH-CF®) have all been clinically shown to have higher absorption rates than dry CoQ10 powder, according to Holtby. He said CoQ10 can help repair the skin from within by inhibiting free radical damage.

Hylauronic acid (HA), another ingredient offered by SGTI (as Injuv® and Cerenew), has been shown to be an essential component to healthy, youthful skin, Holtby said, adding Injuv increased skin smoothness and firmness in a study of Japanese women.

BioCell combines HA with collagen in its BioCell Collagen II®, which Ishaq said has shown to hydrate facial skin and enhance collagen production in the skin in a clinical trial. To ensure bioavailablity, Ishaq said BioCell Collagen II undergoes a biooptimization technology that takes the large collagen and HA macromolecules and breaks them into smaller ones. This allows the biologically active peptides to be efficiently absorbed by the human body, as well as allowing them to be biologically active at the target site, she said.

Collagen, in a hydrolyzed form, is combined with chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine in Protein M+ (from Copalis). According to Copalis, several placebo-controlled clinical studies concluded the marine polysaccharide complex is effective in the treatment of hair loss, with results showing an average hair growth increase of more than 30 percent.

Copalis sticks with the marine theme with two other cosmeceutical ingredient blends, Collactive and Prolastin. According to the company, Collactive, composed of marine collagen and elastin pepetides, was studied by Dermscan Laboratories, France, which found it can safely increase skin moisture and decrease the number of deep wrinkles (by 19 percent) in 71 percent of the 43 women aged 40 to 55 with crows feet-type wrinkles who used it. While Prolastin, a hydrolyzed form of marine elastin, hasnt been studied specifically, Copalis literature said several studies have highlighted the interaction of elastin products with cells to restore the elastic fiber of the skin.

Antioxidants are also big, with companies offering a slew of antioxidant ingredients that can be used in cosmeceutical formulations. These include alpha-lipoic acid, grape seed extract, green tea, vitamin C, aloe vera, orange peel and Baozene® (from Nutraceuticals International).

David Romeo, managing director, Nutraceuticals International, noted, Baozene is one of our trademarked products known for its 70-percent fiber content. But what most people dont realize is baozene is also extremely high in polyphenol antioxidants, which can be used in cosmeceuticals as an anti-aging ingredient.

Pycnogenol®, another well-recognized trademarked antioxidant, has been investigated for skin health benefits for more than 10 years, according to Frank Schonlau, scientific director, Horphag Research and Natural Health Science. He said supplementation with the French maritime pine bark extract was shown to significantly improve skin elasticity and smoothness in a double blind, placebo-controlled study, and a study just recently completed confirmed supplementation with Pycnogenol improved skin health in terms of elasticity and hydration.

Botanical ingredients offer antioxidant protection as well as other attributes to personal care products. Indena offers escin, obtained from horse chestnut, and Opextan, a standardized extract from olives. Artaria said escin provides anti-oedema and anti-inflammatory properties by making capillaries less fragile and less permeable to fluid leakage, and Opextan is made from an olive species that contains the antioxidant verbascoside. Indena uses a phytosome delivery technology for these and other ingredients to improve absorption of poorly absorbed molecules, such as polyphenols, in topical and oral administrations.

Its a good thing companies are working to boost bioavailability in various forms because consumers want variety. Consumers will continue to push formulators for novel and innovative methods to deliver active ingredients, Delisle said.

Romeo said cosmetics are usually delivered in a topical form, such as makeup, lotion and shampoos. But lately with the expansion of nutricosmetics, manufacturers have been producing supplements, and beverages for the idea of beauty from the inside out, he said.

Laura Troha, regional brand management and regional marketing communications manager,  Human Nutriton, BASF Corp., added, Specific products in the winners circle for cosmeceuticals are predicted to be breakfast beauty drinks or snacks, indulgent products such as chocolate beauty bars and innovative delivery formats such as chewing gum.

Market data from Mintel and GIA have tracked these trends. Creams and serums are the most common delivery forms for topical cosmeceuticals; supplements, tonics and powders to add to drinks are some of the formats for ingestible nutraceutical products, Lewis said. A number of brands (Perricone, Visoanska and Shiseido In&On) advocate combination topical and ingestible solutions for best results.

And, the April 2011 report from GIA said nutricosmetics is the latest food trend that is gaining popularity worldwide due to increasing consumer desire to go beyond conventional beauty solutions. This beauty avenue offers tremendous growth potential as the world moves toward a future where ingestible products would be developed specifically based on hormones, physical need and health, according to the firm.

Older women, and men and younger women, may soon be reaching for that beauty food or supplement overcoming their skepticism and recession-levels sales, especially if it carries a third-party seal and the ingredients have been clinically tested. The only question here is whose company logo will be the one on the package?

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

editor in chief, Informa

Sandy Almendarez entered the natural products industry in 2009 when she joined Virgo Publishing (now Informa Exhibitions) as an assistant editor. Since then, she's worked her way up to editor in chief where she writes, edits and manages content for INSIDER. Under Sandy’s direction, INSIDER has won editorial awards from Folio: every year since 2014, including B2B Editorial Team of the Year in 2015.

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