A wide range of nutricosmetics products can be found in the United States—and, although America lags behind Japan and Europe in its embrace of “beauty from within” supplements and beverages, the concept has become mainstream enough for The New York Times to take a swipe at it. “Beauty from within, achieved with a pill, sounds so easy, so short cut, so bold, like those T-shirts that say ‘Spiritual Gangster’ on the front,” wrote Alex Kuczynski in a May 6, 2010, article for NYT’s Style Magazine. “If you can just announce to the world that you are a really cool spiritual person with an open heart chakra, why not just take a pill and believe you are gorgeous?”
Kuczynski’s comment—and the entire gist of her article—hits upon the key question plaguing the nutricosmetics market: Do these products really work?
While some beauty-from-within offerings are more efficacious than others, the inconvenient truth for the entire nutricosmetics industry is that many (but certainly not all) of its products and ingredients lack the science necessary to prove their benefits to consumers. This, of course, is hindering U.S. sales—particularly at a time when consumers are being forced to make more careful spending choices. “Americans are more skeptical of the beauty-from-within concept,” Carrie Mellage, director of consumer products at The Kline Group, told (NBJ’s sister publication) Functional Ingredients magazine. “There is a cultural emphasis on scientific investigation, and Americans also want instant results, which nutricosmetics don’t provide.”
According to Alda Brandao, product manager for PL Thomas’s Cosmeceuticals & Nutricosmetics division, the nutricosmetic ingredient Lipowheat is one exception. The product contains natural ceramides from vegetable origin that have been shown to restore skin barrier functions, thus ensuring healthy hydration and the softness and wellness of the skin.
Lipowheat’s efficacy has been demonstrated in three clinical studies, and the product received NDI (new dietary ingredient) notification without objection from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April of this year—not an easy feat these days. “The NDI is going to bring a lot of attention to this product,” Brandao said.
Lipowheat is manufactured by Hitex, a subsidiary of Lavipharm Group in Paris; PL Thomas is the exclusive marketer of the ingredient, which won the French Association of Antioxidants's 2007 prize for best health and beauty ingredient. The association’s prize committee gave Lipowheat the award based, in part, on the quality of its clinical studies. In October 2009, Lipowheat received the award for best innovation in dietary ingredients from Isogone Association in France.
“Lipowheat should set the science standard for the nutricosmetics industry,” Brandao said. “If all nutricosmetics products had such solid science and safety data behind them, the consumer would feel more comfortable embracing the beauty-from-within concept.” Lipowheat is available in oil and water-soluble powder formats and can be used in soft gel, capsule or stick pack products, Brandao said. “The beauty of this ingredient is the flexibility it offers for formulation.”
Genuine Health is the first manufacturer to use Lipowheat in a nutricosmetic product sold in the United States and Canada. The company's dermalipid line, which features the natural ceramides ingredient, hit the market in April 2010.
Lipowheat and other promising nutricosmetic ingredients and finished products will be the focus of The NutriCosmetic Summit, which will be held Thursday, June 10, at the Renaissance hotel in Las Vegas. Kimberly Stewart, former editorial director of Functional Ingredients magazine, and I will open the event’s business & marketing track by first providing some sales context for the beauty-from-within market and then presenting case studies of five nutricosmetics products, including Nestlé’s Glowelle, Solazyme Health Sciences’ Altruest and Isocell North America's GliSODin Skin Nutrients. Each case study will explore the consumer and ingredient trends being addressed by the product and discuss the brand’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats it faces in the market today.
NBJ’s 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview issue, which publishes in July, will also include an in-depth look at the U.S. nutricosmetics market. Subscribe to the journal at the NBJ website.
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