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10 ingredients that can power new nutricosmetic supplements

The face of nutricosmetic supplements is glowing and plump with two handfuls of clinically validated ingredients. Here’s how to help consumers put their best faces forward, naturally.

Lisa Schofield

January 18, 2024

6 Min Read

At a Glance

  • Nutricosmetics will grow a CAGR of 8% from 2023 to 2028.
  • This is your guide to formulate nutricosmetic supplements.
  • Consumers give products 90 days to show an effect.

[Editor's note: This story is an excerpt of a more detailed guide for new product development for beauty-from-within supplements. Download the Natural Products Insider digital magazine on the topic here for this and more features—your toolbox to success.]

The mirror. It is either friend or foe. Nutricosmetics are there to help warm up the relationship. And there are more ways (ingredients) than ever for brands to promote healthy and beautiful skin.

Mordor Intelligence data shows that the nutricosmetics market size is estimated at $8.09 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach $11.91 billion by 2028, with a CAGR of 8.05% from 2023 to 2028.

“Although it is a very small niche of the overall beauty market, the beauty-from-within segment is one of the brightest spots, experiencing healthy growth year over year,” observed Volkan Eren, vice president of sales and business development for ingredient supplier Nutrition 21. “Beauty supplements are now seen as a way to complement topical skincare routines and promote skin health from within.”

According to Denis Alimonti, director of U.S. nutrition at ingredient supplier Maypro, there’s a growing demand for vegan collagen and more bioavailable collagen alternatives that address moisture and elasticity. Consumers are now seeking combination formulas that address interrelated areas such as sleep, stress and skin, while hair, skin and nails continues to exhibit strong market acceptance.

Emerging and strengthening trends in this space also include supplements that “help people with atopic dermatitis, acne and sensitive skin,” said Peyton Rudy, global marketing manager of ingredient supplier Fonterra. She reported that in a March 2023 CARAVAN omnibus survey of 1,002 US women conducted by Opinion Research Corp. 49% of respondents mentioned concerns about wrinkles, 39% for atopic dermatitis/eczema, 36% for skin sensitivity and 27% for acne. “Probiotics are poised to be an emerging ingredient in the beauty space in the formulation of new products. In the CARAVAN survey conducted in May 2022 among US adults, 19% of respondents who are currently taking probiotics indicated they do so to achieve better skin.”

The skinny on skin health

Understanding variable factors that affect skin health and appearance should help guide the formulation of nutricosmetic supplements.

According to Daniel Sato, manager for the functional ingredients division at supplier House Wellness Foods Corporation, various theories abound about the causes of skin aging. Aging reduces the de novo synthesis of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which are two compounds that keep skin supple and moist and are primary ingredients used in skin-health supplement formulations. Additionally, photo-aging caused by UV exposure, and “inflammatory aging” (now dubbed “inflammaging”) caused by the accumulation of AGEs, which are aging-promoting substances, are all challenges that cause skin to look older.

Additionally, defects in the barrier function cause dry skin, which can have a rough, scaly and flaky surface and is often accompanied by sensations of itching, burning, stinging and tightness. The causes of skin barrier dysfunction are still not fully understood, he noted, but major contributors include reduced levels of moisturizing factors, such as ceramides, and hyaluronan (HA), and disordered structures in both the stratum corneum and the granular layer. “Under these abnormal conditions, irritants, allergens, and pathogens can enter the skin and cause skin inflammation; such inflammation may be critical for the skin barrier defect,” he explained.  

Alimonti sees three key challenges to the skin, presented by compelling research. One also includes, to Sato’s point, the concept of inflammaging—that chronic low-grade inflammation associated with aging. “Developing products that modulate immune responses and reduce inflammation could have relevance for beauty-from-within product development strategies,” he surmised.

The second challenge Alimonti sees is how changes in the extracellular matrix, which provides structural support to the skin, contribute to aging. Understanding the enzymes and proteins involved in matrix degradation and repair could guide formulation of nutricosmetics that maintain skin elasticity and firmness.

Third is the microbiome’s influence on skin health and aging. “Research aimed at elucidating how specific microbial communities (read: probiotics) influence skin conditions and aging may help us formulate products that better support skin at all ages,” he commented.

In Japan, according to Tomoyo Takamatsu, account executive at Kewpie Corporation, data from Panasonic revealed that more women believe they have lost the glow in their skin. The reason, she noted, is the increased exposure to ultraviolet rays and skin losing moisture from excessive uses of air conditioners. “Based on the data, we have been focusing on skin oxidation,” she reported. “Skin oxidation occurs from exposure to external sources such as UV rays, stress, air pollution and unhealthy diets.” 

Such pretty opportunities

Based on the challenges and shifting consumer preferences, many opportunities can make a presence in the expansive nutricosmetic salon.

“We see areas for new opportunities in the area of skin detox, protection of the skin from air pollution and oxidative stress in cells, longevity and the topic of epigenetics,” related Alice Olufeso, senior product manager, Food & Health Europe, at Mibelle Biochemistry.

Alimonti predicted several areas where there will be opportunities for R&D and innovation, growth and brand differentiation. Overall, these opportunities fall under microbiome support, personalized and demographic-specific formulas, and combination formulas that target synergistic areas such as sleep support.

Nutrition 21’s Eren expounded, “Consumers increasingly seek personalized solutions that cater to their specific skin concerns, lifestyles and nutritional needs. Brands could capitalize on this trend by offering personalized beauty supplement regimens based on factors like skin type, age, dietary preferences and health goals.”

Another quickly growing area in nutricosmetics is the use of postbiotics to achieve the goal of naturally boosting the production of moisturizing molecules such as collagen and hyaluronic acid in the body, according to Sato. “With the uptick of the postbiotic movement in recent years, we have seen a number of postbiotic ingredients such as lactobacillus strains branch out into the skin health category,” he observed.

Just 3 months

Gummies, stick packs, powders, tablets, capsules and soft chews will be embraced by women and men to keep their skin healthy and looking good. And while long-term supplements such as multivitamins help the body to gain and sustain a healthy balance and set the stage for skin health, consumers will abandon nutricosmetics if they don’t see or feel any improvement.

“Consumers in this space expect objective results they can see and are quick to move on if they don’t see those effects,” stated Rudy. He added that in this category consumers often giving products at most, 90 days.

The mirror will never lie.

There is a colorful bounty of ingredients to formulate products that can perform as your labels will proclaim. To read about the 10 skin-sational ingredients—from botanicals to fruit derivatives, biotics to minerals — click here to download the free Natural Products Insider digital magazine on beauty-from-within nutracosmetics and cosmeceuticals.

Read more about:

Supplement Science

About the Author(s)

Lisa Schofield

Writer/Editor

Lisa Schofield is a veteran writer and editor who got her start interviewing rock stars for national music magazines. She now writes and edits content for B2B media and suppliers in the natural health product industry. She has served as editor for Vitamin Retailer and Nutrition Industry Executive, and prior to that as associate editor for Whole Foods.

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