If you wonder why I had to completely revise and update the Seventh Edition of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, think of edible cosmetics to beautify your skin. Whether they are called “nutricosmeticS” or “oral cosmeceuticals” or “nutricosmeceuticals” it takes a lot of attention to keep up with the changing cosmetic industry. Those in the field are geniuses when it comes to satisfying our needs for anti-aging and beautifying products.
Viactiv Multi-Vitamin Chews was perhaps the first commercial marketing in the nutricosmetic segment in 1998. A Vivactiv Choclate Chew is a good tasting super-vitamin targeted primarily at women. Frutels then came up with a nutricosmetic candy bar tailored to the younger set in 2006. The supplement was marketed to support the body’s own defenses against acne by regulating hormone fluctuations and supplying micronutrients that are absent in poor diets.
Intelligent Nutrients(IN), a company is now claiming to utilize 100% food-based, organically certified ingredients. IN is now marketing an antioxidant-infused chocolate bar and liquid and tablet-sized dietary supplements. The target? They sell in North American to medical spas, salons and boutique retailers.
Among other “inner-outer” beauty promoters, according to GCI, a trade journal for the cosmetic industry:
• Danone Essensi sells vitamin-fortified skin care yogurt which is produced by the actions of beneficial bacteria or yeast.
• Russia’s Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods markets a probiotic yogurt drink. Probiotics are live microorganisms that reportedly confer an inside and out health benefit to consumers.
• Neo-Beauty line has come up with aloe vera containing antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. The company claims the nutricosmetic improves the overall health of skin, nails and hair. Aloe Vera gel has long been topically applied in folk medicine for burns and other skin problems but according to the medical literature may cause intestinal cramps when ingested.
• Japan’s Nippon Milk Community’s Kirapuru sells lactic acid bacteria---produced commercially by fermentation—in a drink it claims firms the skin with 1,000 mg of collagen per pack.
• Toki, a lemon-flavored powdered collagen supplement, is also sold by the Japanese to the U.S. market”
• Eiwa Confectionary’s marshmallows are enriched with collagen to reduce the signs of aging.
• Hot and Sour Wonton Vermicelli, from Singapore’s Myojo Foods Company, features collagen and vitamin C.
• In South Korea, Goliath’s Orion Corp. sells Mi in Gumi Collagen Jelly.
• Japan’s Asahi Food & Healthcare Co., Ltd. offers Soaking Collagen Water Jelly.
Collagen is a protein substance found in connective tissues, usually derived from animal tissues for cosmetics. Firmer skin and other popular marketing claims have elevated collagen as one main ingredient in many nutricosmetic products, especially in Asian beverages.
Hyaluronic acid is another popular ingredient in nutricosmetics. It is a sugar compound present in all connective tissue in vertebrates. In humans it is found in high concentrations in the skin. Ceramides are also popular in nutricosmetics and they occur naturally in skin fats. Synthetic fatty alcohols are usually substituted for natural ceramides and are used in hair and skin conditioners..
Ingredients for nutricosmetics, Yoichiro Sugimura, senior director of scientific affairs and business development for Kyowa Hakko USA told GCI: “Historically, many herbs have been thought of and used for optimal health. In Japan, there is a saying that ‘food is the best medicine,’ so people are willing to think that certain foods are good for health, including skin health.”
The nutricosmetics market was worth $1.5 billion in 2008, according to Euromonitor International, with 95% of sales generated in Europe and Japan. Due to stringent regulations, the US market lags behind with only a 3% share, but interest is growing as Americans become acquainted with a wide array of functional foods and drinks that reportedly promote health. The success of functional products such as VitaminWater, Airborne and Emergen-C are strong indicators that consumers are warming to cosmeceutical and nutricosmetic products.
And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy seeking nutricosmetics, you can always look for nutriceuticals which are parts of foods considered to provide medical or health benefits. A snack bar which can stay moist and chewy for up to 24 months without the need for artificial preservatives, for example, has been developed by scientists in California. Its aim is to keep kids ingesting healthy snacks instead of fat-loaded, sugary, synthetically colored candy. The US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) said that the new process makes bars out of organically grown apples and berries and gives them a long shelf-life. The move reinforces a growing consumer demand for natural ingredients as opposed to the use of additives, which have become the focus of increasing public concern over the past few years.
A United Kingdom study recently concluded some artificial food colorings had an "adverse effect" on the hyperactive behavior of 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children. The efforts by Europeans to try and make food manufacturers take artificial everything out of snacks is described in my completely revised and updated Seventh Edition of A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives just published by Three Rivers/Crown.
Please excuse me now while I run and try to keep up with the new marketing techniques created by food and cosmetic manufacturers to entice you into buying their products despite the poor economy. It is quite a challenge.