The Swellness Anti-Aging Revolution

Beauty products are reaching into multiple areas, offering benefits for consumers such as stress relief and sleep, which helps improve skin health. The intersection of beauty with topical and ingestible ingredients that include honey, essential fatty acids (EFAs) and probiotics helps allow for a holistic approach to beauty.

Karen Young, Founder

March 27, 2017

6 Min Read
The Swellness Anti-Aging Revolution

There’s a lifestyle tidal wave washing over today’s sophisticated consumer. It’s hitting multiple categories, such as beauty, health, nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep management.

Until the last handful of years, beauty—certainly skincare—has primarily been focused on anti-aging. Whether a Boomer who resisted aging kicking and screaming, or a Millennial who was keen to hold off the aging process for as long as possible, anti-aging was a segment of beauty with predictable, year-after-year, significant growth.

We’ve moved on from the predictability of the anti-aging segment. Boomers are tired of being told they have lines and wrinkles, dull gray skin, uneven skin tone, or look exhausted.

Millennials have decided there’s a more holistic approach to anti-aging that seems smarter and perhaps more realistic than simply obsessing about wrinkled skin.

The term “swellness" describes the feeling of both Boomers and Millennials nicely. It feels upbeat and positive and can encompass every aspect of healthy living. The trend sees consumers taking responsibility for improving their lives. While not everyone has signed on for the change, awareness has been raised, and it’s tough to plead ignorance.

Beauty products are reaching into every category. Lines like Sweat Cosmetics (“workout proof" mineral makeup) or ArrowCosmetics (all-natural, do-it-yourself makeup kits) are designed specifically for today’s athlete or wannabe athlete.

Bath and Body Works® Stress Relief Eucalyptus Spearmint Body & Shine Hair Conditioner, Aveda Stress-Fix™ Body Lotion and Origins Peace of Mind® on the Spot Relief assure the user she’ll feel instantly calmed and soothed.

Molton Brown’s® Cedrus Temple Soother, Tata Harper’s™ Aromatic Bedtime Treatment and This Works Deep Sleep Body Therapy all promise a better night’s sleep.

When it comes to the junction of nutrition and beauty, there’s a flurry of activity. The United States is behind the rest of the world in the beauty supplement category. Historically, it hasn’t been part of the American culture. It can also be a regulatory nightmare. It looks as though, slowly but surely, things are changing.

As Americans begin to demand “cleaner," more wholesome food, farmer’s markets are cropping up, and companies like Panera and General Foods are eliminating chemicals and colorants. It’s only logical to assume beauty supplements will catch on and possibly become mainstream.

Sales gains in the prestige facial skin care supplement market have increased fivefold since 2013, reaching US$4.1 million in 2015, according to the NPD Group. The firm projected sales to reach $6 million at the end of 2016.

Years ago, Olay® introduced beauty capsules as part of their skin care regimen. The line was a disaster, probably ahead of its time and merchandised separately. Medical doctor skin care lines such as MD Perricone MD® and Murad® have long included supplements as part of their skin care collections. In 2017, Perricone MD is introducing a new line of ingestible “boosters." Each one addresses a different issue—Metabolism Booster, Sleep Booster, Skin Booster and so on.

In general, skin care ingredients and foods are moving closer together. In some cases, they are inseparable. This is particularly true in the category of “natural" beauty products.

Three categories of skin care (humectants, essential fatty acids (EFAs) and probiotics) demonstrate how closely linked beauty topical and ingestible ingredients are.


Honey has been a luscious sweetener for thousands of years. Health benefits associated with its use are calming throat inflammation, antimicrobial properties and reducing gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. As a skin care ingredient, it is known to be a humectant, helping the skin attract and retain moisture. Numerous product launches highlight this ingredient and its properties.

Kiehl’s® Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream contains Manuka Honey. In addition to helping the skin hold moisture, Manuka Honey is alleged to be soothing and anti-inflammatory. Fresh® Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask is nourishing, moisturizing and loaded with antioxidants and EFAs . Josie Maran® Divine Drip Honey Butter Balm claims honey, a natural humectant and powerful antioxidant, draws in moisture to instantly repair and replenish dry skin.

Essential Fatty Acids/Avocado

EFAs, such as omega-3s and omega-6s are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. These polyunsaturated fats also help produce and protect the skin's natural oil barrier, critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper and younger looking.

It’s no surprise that avocado’s rich, nourishing properties have been identified as a skin care powerhouse, given its ingestible benefits.

"Perlier Avocado Hand Cream is a rich, creamy treatment for abused hands, leaving them nourished and soft. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado claims to moisturize and depuff the delicate skin around the eyes. Burt’s Bees® Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment uses avocado oil to deliver essential moisture and conditioning. Burt’s Bees is one company poised to make the most of this ingestible/topical overlap. The company just launched a new “beauty from within" plant-based protein shake concept.


Probiotics are essential for digestive health to balance the “good’ and “bad" bacteria. Probiotics are believed to manage this process by keeping inflammation at bay and the digestive system in good operating order.

It appears probiotics can do much the same for skin, balancing the skin’s natural barrier properties and keeping the healthy bacteria alive and well. This counter balances the bad bacteria causing inflammation, irritation and severe dryness.

BioeElements® Probiotic Anti-Aging Serum allows good bacteria to form a protective barrier on the skin's surface, helping deflect external stressors. Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream with Probiotic Technology fights inflammation and future flare-ups while being gentle enough for sensitive skin. KORRESorres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream is made with full-fat, Greek yogurt that contains 250 percent more protein than regular yogurt. These proteins provide a natural source of probiotics, vitamins and minerals to soothe, smooth and strengthen skin.

With consumer preference for “natural" ingredients showing no signs of slowing (74 percent of beauty consumers surveyed prefer “natural" botanical ingredients in their products.), the crossover of ingestible and topical ingredients and products is destined to grow. There will be regulatory hurdles to climb, but smart formulators and marketers need to keep an eye on this fast-moving, here-to-stay trend.

Also worth noting is the shift in emphasis in the anti-aging category to a positive, more holistic approach to improved general health. This is definitely good news.

Karen Young is CEO of The Young Group. Before opening The Young Group in 1999, Young was vice president of marketing, advertising, product development and sales promotion for Lancôme. Prior to that, she spent 17 years at Estée Lauder, where she held a variety of executive positions, including executive director of color cosmetics. She has developed concepts and products for RoC, Bath and Body Works, Neutrogena, Crabtree & Evelyn, Vichy and Canyon Ranch. Young has worked on numerous established brands in the beauty category, including Christian Dior Beauté, Shiseido, Parfums Givenchy, Avon and 3M Products.

About the Author(s)

Karen Young

Founder, The Young Group

Before opening The Young Group in 1999, Karen Young held executive titles in marketing and product development at Lancôme and Estée Lauder. An active board member of Fashion Group International, Young is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist who divides her time between her New York and Paris offices. She has worked extensively in all categories of the cosmetic industry, developing concepts and products for RoC, Bath and Body Works, Neutrogena, e.l.f, Vichy and Oribe. Young has also worked on numerous established brands in the beauty category, including Christian Dior Beauté, Shiseido, Bumble & bumble, Dove and Paula’s Choice.

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