- beauty from within
Bridging the Gap Between Science and Beauty in Nutricosmetics
In our preceding article, we explored the burgeoning trend of nutricosmetics, comprising products and ingredients that serve as nutritional supplements to boost the health and beauty of skin, hair, and nails from the inside out. We emphasized the remarkable growth anticipated in the beauty ingestible market, attributed to heightened consumer awareness, a growing inclination toward natural remedies, and the blending of nutrition, dermatology, and wellness with the realm of beauty.
This article takes a deeper dive into the scientific foundations, delves into the dynamic interplay between nutrition and cosmetics, and unveils the active components propelling nutricosmetics to revolutionize the beauty industry.
The Science Behind Nutricosmetics
Nutricosmetics, far from being a fleeting beauty trend, find their foundation in robust scientific evidence validating their effectiveness and safety. To comprehend their mechanisms, one must delve into the intricate architecture of our body’s largest organ – the skin, comprising three primary layers: the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis.
The epidermis, the outermost layer, serves as a protective shield against external elements. Topical cosmetics predominantly interact with this layer, offering moisturization, exfoliation, or skin surface enhancements. However, their influence on the deeper skin layers remains limited, where much aging and damage occurs.
In stark contrast, ingredients from nutricosmetics can reach the deeper skin dermis layer by traveling through the bloodstream, where they can enact profound transformations on skin health. Take carotenoids, for example; they exhibit robust antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, effectively enhancing the skin barrier. This could, in turn, foster a “beauty from within” approach by internally supporting the reduction of skin aging-related expressions. They and other substances like vitamins, amino acids, and flavonoids, can also help diminish some aging signs when they are delivered to the skin layers by oral ingestion.
Nutrition is essential for maintaining and improving skin health and appearance. It plays a significant role in influencing the aging process of the skin, encompassing both internal and external factors. For example, nutrition can provide vital nutrients that protect and renew skin cells, fighting against damage caused by factors such as sun exposure, pollution, smoking, and diet.
The Power of Ingredients in Nutricosmetics
There are many factors that can cause or worsen skin damage, not just inflammation and oxidative stress. Other aspects to consider are collagen production in the dermis, skin microbiome balance, and nutrient sufficiency for skin repair. It is also important to note that inflammation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) can influence each other and create a cycle of skin damage.
Skin health ingredients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can play a crucial role in regulating the immune system and mitigating the impact of free radicals, leading to better skin health. The nutricosmetics market by ingredient is segmented into lipid, peptides, polysaccharides (marine-derived), minerals, vitamins, secondary metabolites and probiotics.
While nutricosmetics have found resonance with consumers by highlighting the benefits of specific skin health ingredients tailored to diverse skin conditions, it’s noteworthy that growing brands focus on the unique indication-based efficacy of the ingredients. This approach aligns with the growing consumer trend of favoring ingredient-driven marketing in ingestible beauty products. For instance, in Southeast Asia, consumers are well-acquainted with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its recommendations for achieving fairer skin through ingredients like dried pears, pearl powder, peach gum, or white fungus, which brands actively promote.
Consumers, especially in Europe, are increasingly choosing vegan collagen and hyaluronic acid for their nutricosmetic benefits, especially those who follow vegan diets and prefer natural sources of ingredients. The use of microencapsulation and modified release technologies is also growing, further boosting the performance of nutricosmetics in this changing market.
Nutricosmetics in Action: The Case of Acne
To illustrate the profound synergy between cosmetics and supplements for skin, let’s delve into a specific example – acne. Acne, a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles or sebaceous glands become plugged with oil and dead skin cells, offers a compelling case study on how nutrition and cosmetics can collaborate to improve skin health and appearance.
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in influencing the composition of bacterial skin colonization, the activity of sebaceous glands and sebum production, and the immune activity against acne-causing bacteria. Since the 1930s, scientists proposed that what we consume can tip the balance of the skin’s microbiome, either supporting or hindering the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, the main bacterium responsible for acne. In short, there is a connection between the gut, brain and skin, called the gut-brain-skin axis. A high-glycemic diet, for example, can increase insulin levels and stimulate sebum or oil secretion. Conversely, a well-nourished body boasts a stronger immune response to fight the bacteria and inflammation associated with acne.
Nutricosmetics influences the skin internally, exemplified by ingestible beauty products with ingredients such as Vitamin A, Curcuma, Artichoke, Ginseng, and more, contribute to dissolving and eliminating excess sebum. This helps to maintain microbiome balance and alleviate external itchiness. In addition, topical cosmetics which prioritize in clearing pores and balancing the skin´s microbiome, the inner-outer skin care regime supports and regulate sebum secretion, prevent clogging, and reduce inflammation.
There is clinical evidence on the effectiveness of probiotic complex, composed of three strains – L. plantarum PBS067, L. reuteri PBS072 and L. rhamnosus LRH020 – for acne. The short-term results reported a significant reduction of skin sebum and comedones, and an improvement in skin complexion. The ability of probiotic strains to colonize in the gastrointestinal tract prolonged the long-term beneficial effects of reduction in skin inflammation, demonstrating the gut-brain-skin axis interaction to prevent and support acne skin condition.
This three-level approach involves nutricosmetics addressing the hypodermis and dermis, while cosmetics focus on the epidermis. The potency of nutricosmetics is found in their capacity to coordinate a symphony of effects, operating both internally and externally to create a harmonized strategy for skin health. This holistic treatment approach delivers optimal results in preventing and treating acne.
The Future of Nutricosmetics
The horizon of nutricosmetics extends beyond what we currently perceive. One of the most promising frontiers in this domain is the growing evidence of the role of the gut microbiome in skin health. Current nutricosmetics in prebiotics, probiotics, or synbiotics are marketed to improve skin health in various ways, such as decreasing oxidative stress and suppressing inflammatory responses by regulating the gut-brain-skin axis. Further scientific research in the gut microbiome, dietary links, and their interplay with skin conditions will create novel opportunities in the field of nutricosmetics.
Personalization is another avenue that holds immense promise. Nutricosmetics can offer tailored solutions based on individual gut microbiome profiles and specific skin needs. This approach ensures that individuals receive precisely what their bodies require for optimal skin health.
Different life stages have different nutritional and supplemental needs for skin health. For example, early childhood is a crucial time for the development and maturation of the skin, as well as for the nutrition and supplementation that can have lasting effects on skin health. Nutricosmetics can provide suitable forms of nutrition and supplementation for children. Early interventions can prevent lifelong skin and gastrointestinal problems. Nutricosmetics can also help consumers of all ages to protect their skin from emerging threats such as blue light from digital devices and pollution.
Nutricosmetics align with the consumer trend towards preventive care, empowering consumers to proactively safeguard and enhance their skin health and well-being. SanderStrothmann is leading this charge, contributing to groundbreaking multi-center large-scale longitudinal research in collaboration with University Hospital OWL (UK OWL) of Bielefeld University, Klinikum Bielefeld Mitte, Center for Gynecology Gynecological Clinic, Maastricht University, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and children’s center at the Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel to unravel these complex microbiome development in early childhood.
Nutricosmetics represent the dynamic fusion of science and beauty, providing a comprehensive and science-driven approach to inner-outer skincare. This revolution places the power to enhance and protect one’s skin firmly in the hands of individuals, empowering them to nurture healthier skin throughout their lives proactively.
For brands aspiring to venture into the field of cosmetics and supplements for skin, the path forward is paved with opportunities for guidance and collaboration. Expertise from professionals like SanderStrothmann can be invaluable, ensuring that brands navigate this transformative landscape with knowledge and innovation, ultimately delivering the promise of nutricosmetics to consumers seeking a holistic and scientifically grounded path to beauty and well-being.