The panel was speaking at the Beauty-from-within APAC 2023 Interactive Broadcast organised by NutraIngredients-Asia and CosmeticsDesign-Asia on November 2.
The six panellists involved in the discussion were Deepapriya Velumani, NPD brand lead, Wellness at Haleon, Gabrielle Covino, head of healthcare practitioner communication and content at Blackmores Institute, Dr Vincent Candrawinata, founder of Australia-based Renovatio Bioscience, Dave McCaughan, storyteller at Bibliosexual, Ewa Hudson, director of insights at Lumina Intelligence, and Amanda Lim, editor of CosmeticsDesign-Asia.
The panel was moderated by Koe Ting Min, editor of NutraIngredients-Asia. The broadcast is now available to watch on demand.
Kickstarting the discussion, Velumani said that post-COVID, intrinsic health and wellbeing have become more important than achieving just external beauty alone.
“Lately, we see that consumers are getting to a spot where it's not just about extrinsic beauty, but intrinsic health also matters a lot…and that’s much more amplified against the backdrop of the post-COVID era.
“Also, in post-COVID, mental health has taken a tremendous toll on both intrinsic and extrinsic health. Therefore, the nutricosmetics impact in terms of boosting your inner health, thereby promoting your external health, has become fundamentally very important to the consumer.”
Dr Candrawinata echoed similar views, pointing out that consumers were looking beyond the vanity aspect of health post-COVID.
“Year 2020 and 2021 were two years when for the very first time, people look more at functionality and therapeutic functions as compared to just the vanity aspect of health,”
He gave an example on how consumers have reported higher satisfaction when taking his company’s beauty-from-within supplement Skin Remedy and Mental Resilience for mental wellbeing.
He said that although he did not intend the two products to be taken in tandem, post market consumer research survey showed that consumer satisfaction had risen from 87 per cent when taking Skin Remedy alone to 93 per cent when taking both products together in a 30-day period.
“This is probably a piece of evidence to show that there is a lot more to just specific ingredients when it comes to beauty-from-within,” he said.
Citing a survey conducted by Shiseido this year, Lim said that out of the 23,408 women who responded, 74 per cent believed that their skin, body, and mind were connected.
Also, 72 per cent believed that they would need to take care of their body from the inside out in order to stay healthy and beautiful.
As many as 96 per cent of the Shiseido Personal Beauty Partners who offer beauty advice in stores said that they received health and nutrition inquiries from consumers.
“Consumers generally understand that in order to get healthy skin, they need to eat well, sleep well, and lessen their stress.
“So, we are seeing more topical ingredients that incorporate just that – ingredients that claim to reduce stress, boost self-confidence, improve skin immunity, improve the regeneration of skin while you sleep,” she said, on the trends seen in the topical beauty space.
Creating beauty-from-within products that offer multi-dimensional benefits is thus an important approach and the trend is here to stay, according to Covino.
Some examples that she gave include stacking ingredients for skin health with sleep support or stacking gut and skin health benefits together.
“We know that good sleep changes everything and while we're resting our body, that’s the opportunity to repair and regenerate all cells – including skin cells…I think stacking the gut and skin health benefits together definitely makes sense as well.”
Other approaches include developing products that cater to both skin and metabolic health, or age-specific concerns such as hair loss, or skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
“An extension of that is [to pair skin health] with metabolic conditions and the world is exploding with these [metabolic conditions], so I definitely think that creatively pairing skin with other systems in the body is something that could be really exciting.”
The gut-skin axis
In fact, consumers are much more educated about the connection between what happens inside the body – especially the gut – and external appearance these days.
This is according to findings from a consumer survey that his company had undertaken in the past 3.5 years, said McCaughan.
“What was interesting was that gut health or the recognition of gut health as a beauty idea has grown, whether that comes from ingestibles or other pharmaceutical ingredients, or whether it's just come from better diet, the two things are working in parallel. And we're seeing that constantly growing in markets all over Asia,” he said.
This has given rise to the presence of biotic formulations – products that use pre/pro/postbiotics in the beauty-from-within space.
The trend also attests to the evolution of the ‘biotic’ category, which is moving slightly away from one specific probiotic strain targeting a condition to the use of more strains in targeting more conditions, said Hudson.
In her presentation, Hudson gave examples of ‘biotics’ for skin health, such as South Korean brand Lactofit’s Probiotics Beauty, which uses probiotics, microcollagen peptide and hyaluronic acid.
“The idea is that we boost gut health and this kind of moisturise skin as such to make you look younger. It's a product for the skin health, moisture and potentially skin glow,” she said.
Another example is Australia’s Lifespace Skin Rebalance, which claims to help reduce the occurrence of symptoms of acne and congested skin pores, as well as supporting and skin healing.
Ingredients used are Bifidobacterium breve M-16V, Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus Lb-87, bovine lactoferrin, zinc gluconate, vitamin C, E, and biotin.
Collagen, biotin, and vitamin C are some of the most common names in the ingredient list of beauty-from-within products.
In response to a question from an audience regarding the use of astaxanthin, Velumani said that the ingredient possessed antioxidative functions and was not readily available from the diet.
The company has explored a clinically efficacious dose of six to 10 milligrams in the past, and there has been challenges in terms of incorporating the ingredient in the gummy format, as well as consumers wanting to see the effects within weeks.
Responding to another question from the floor regarding ‘vegan collagen’, Dr Candrawinata pointed out that it was a misconception to identify collagen as vegan, as collagen could only be found in animals.
“There is no such thing as vegan collagen because collagen is only found in animals. That's why in the early days of collagen being market is either bovine or marine collagen.
“When we're talking about vegan collagen, we're basically talking about the source of protein that contains amino acids that your body could then digest and utilise.”
He believes that the ‘best source’ of collagen lies on how easily it could be digested by the body.
Convenience and enjoyment are two elements that companies could consider when developing beauty-from-within products.
As a result, there has been a surge in formats like gummies, jelly sticks, and effervescence powders, said Velumani.
Consumers would also tend to link certain functions with certain formats, she said.
“If someone is looking for skin hydration, they would like to go for jelly sticks, because of the perceived efficacy of moisture being there and lubricating your skin is much higher than the conventional format of a tablet or capsule.”
However, she also cautioned that some consumers might not take a product seriously if they were presented in a fun format, such as functional confectionery. This also goes to show that the beauty-from-within category is a fragmented market space.
“It’s not just the formats that consumers are looking for, they do look at synergies, or combinations of ingredients.”