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New studies backing beauty ingredients underscore durable demand in category

Two ingredient suppliers highlighted research done on botanical ingredients that support skin health.

Hank Schultz

November 28, 2023

6 Min Read
Botanical ingredients for beauty are on trend

At a Glance

  • Beauty from within category is growing at low single digit rates
  • Suppliers are backing effects of their ingredients with new studies
  • Botanical ingredients for beauty are on trend, expert says

While other categories within the dietary supplement industry such as sports nutrition or pet supplements might be experiencing stronger growth, beauty ingredients (both for beauty from within and topical formulations) are demonstrating a steady rise in demand. 

Small but growing part of market 

According to the most recent data from Informa Markets’ Nutrition Business Journal, beauty from within (hair/skin/nails) is expected to grow 3.4% to $1.45 billion by the end of 2023. At that rate, it would capture 2.3% of an overall supplements market that is expected to reach about $63 billion by the end of the year. 

That demand can be projected to be steady at the very least or rising soon as the overall population ages, bringing healthy aging considerations to the fore. According to The Urban Institute, the number of Americans ages 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. 

And this is also the most affluent segment of consumers, meaning more money available for non-essential purchases like supplements. According to data from a survey issued in 2020 by the United States Federal Reserve Board, in 2020 households in the 65-to-74 age range had a median net worth of $409,000, the biggest of any segment of the U.S. population. 

Related:8 nutricosmetics ingredients that can help brands create solutions-based and science-backed supplements

Suppliers in the beauty space are capitalizing on those projections by publicizing new science backing the results of their ingredients.  

[For a deep dive into the beauty-from-within category, download the free Natural Products Insider digital magazine on nutricosmetics here.]

Carotenoid-rich ingredient positioned in beauty-from-within category 

Israeli supplier Lycored, a long-time specialist in carotenoid ingredients derived from tomatoes, is highlighting a study published recently on its Lumenato ingredient. 

The ingredient, which is a colorless combination of beta-carotene, zeta-carotene, phytoene and phytofluene, and healthy lipids, supports skin health from within by enhancing the skin’s barrier function, according to the manufacturer. 

The ingredient is sourced from the company’s proprietary strain of golden tomatoes. Lycored claims its solvent-free carbon dioxide extraction process preserves the structure and function of the active fractions better than other methods. 

To support the claims of the ingredient’s effects, Lycored commissioned a study of 59 healthy women ages 35-55 of Caucasian and Latino ethnicities and varying skin types. At baseline, the women exhibited a TEWL (trans epidermal water loss, an important skin health/beauty measure) of ≥12G/M2/Hr. 

The women were split into two groups on receiving Lumenato soft gel capsules (10 milligram total carotenoids), with the other receiving placebo soft gel capsules (pure glycerin) for 12 weeks daily. 

The results, which were published in the Skin Research and Technology journal in early November, showed significant improvements over placebo in terms of skin barrier strength, firmness and elasticity. 

Lumenato supplementation participants saw a 10.4% reduction in TEWL, while skin barrier strength improved by 59.9%, meaning more resilient, supple and radiant skin. Skin firmness and elasticity also improved by 9.34% and 11.6%, respectively. The researchers said this is made visible through a decrease in fine lines, wrinkles and skin sagging. 

Niche botanical ingredient makes mark in topical formulas 

Bio-Botanica, another longtime player in the botanical ingredients game, threw its hat into the beauty ring with a new ingredient called Puresterol, which is a proprietary extract of the Southeast Asian herb Pueraria mirifica. This plant, which bears such common names as Kwao Keur Kao or Kwao Kurea Khao, depending on which research study you're looking at, is native to northern Myanmar and Thailand. 

In the American Herbal Products Association’s Herbs of Commerce, the standard reference in the herbal trade for common names and Latin binomials of species used for medicinal purposes, the species is referred to as Thai Kudzu or White Kwao Krua.  

What little research on the plant that has been published in the West has tended to focus on relief of menopausal symptoms. 

Nevertheless, Bio-Botanica, which is based in Hauppauge, New York, and has been in business since 1972, saw promise for a topical anti-aging preparation based on traditional uses. The plant, according to the company, “has been used by the Thais for a millennium as a rejuvenator and revitalizer to help offset some of the effects of aging.” 

In a recent press release, the company highlighted the results of proprietary research done by a contract research organization that it claims shows a statistically significant reduction in wrinkles compared to placebo after 28 weeks of using formulas featuring the ingredient. 

According to the company, the CRO used 3D laser scanning techniques to measure depth and extent of wrinkles and crow’s feet to get an accurate measure of the claimed benefits. 

Cosmetics expert: Botanical ingredients are on trend 

While some of these measures can be too small to be apparent to the naked eye, consumers are still eager for any help they can get, according to Simon Pitman, an editor who has covered the cosmetics field for almost two decades. 

A key to the continued success of beauty-from-within and topical ingredients is that marketers are doing a better job of matching claims to performance, he said. 

“The narrative about anti-aging claims for cosmetic skincare products has changed significantly over the last few years, and this is something that is also playing out in the beauty-from-within/beauty supplements category,” Pitman said in an email to Natural Products Insider. “What has changed is that consumer expectations are being better managed, and instead of making far-fetched claims that allude to fine lines and wrinkles being reversed, marketing language is now centering on healthy skin aging.” 

 “Commonly known as pro-aging, this focuses on more realistic claims, like improving the health and general appearance of facial skin, as opposed to reversing signs of aging,” he added. 

Pitman said science-backed ingredients like those provided by Lycored and Bio-Botanica stand to capitalize on demographic trends. With the recent negative focus on artificial or synthetic ingredients (such as the kerfuffle concerning titanium dioxide), consumers are looking for alternatives. 

“Consumers are more trusting of products that are sourced from nature, as opposed to a lab. What is now providing further impetus for botanical ingredients is the fact that there is a growing body of scientific research and/or clinical trials to back up claims, meeting consumers' expectations for the 'prove it' trend,” Pitman concluded. 

[For a deep dive into the beauty-from-within category, download the free Natural Products Insider digital magazine on nutricosmetics here.]

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Supplement Science

About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the senior editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

Prior to joining the Informa team, he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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