Inside the Cosmeceutical Market

Inside the Cosmeceutical Market

7/28/2009 9:36:59 AM

by Steve MyersSteve Myers


Hybrids are the latest trend, and this goes for health and beauty products, including functional foods and beverages and cosmeceuticals. Just what a cosmeceutical is can be unclear. In the cosmetics industry, this term applies to products that are part cosmetic, part pharmaceutical; they have a cosmetic effect, but also exert a biological effect on the skin or hair, albeit one that is supposed to be far less than a straight up pharmaceutical would have. In the natural and organic industries, cosmeceutical is perceived slightly differently, bringing together cosmetics with nutraceuticals, itself a blurry overlapping of nutrition and pharmaceutical (at least in moniker).

It is this nutraceutical-based category of cosmeceuticals that has begun to stand out as its own category, difficult to define and quantify. Freedonia Group put the cosmeceutical market at about $5.8 billion annually, but that estimate includes products such as injectables and teeth whiteners along with other general hair care and skin care products. However, the most popular ingredients listed by Freedonia include antioxidants, acids, enzymes, proteins and botanicals, all from the nutraceutical arena. The market research firm said it expects demand for cosmeceuticals in the United States to increase 7.4 percent annually through 2012, partly due to the youth-driven aging population. The king of cosmeceutical actives will continue to be the broad range of antioxidants that dominate today’s market, but some of the best growth opportunities may be with botanicals and enzymes.

Being a hard market to define, cosmeceuticals is often analyzed by looking at the more defined segments of personal care and skin care. Kline & Co. reported natural personal care should maintain strong, double-digit growth through 2013, reaching $11.7 billion in retail sales for natural products and those inspired by natural products.

And Mintel noted sales of anti-aging skin care products, $1.6 billion in 2008, outpaced sales of facial cleansers. It also predicted continued double-digit growth for anti-aging skin products, calling for 20-percent sales growth through 2013.

According to Steve Holtby, president and CEO of Soft Gel Technologies, sales are holding steady for products in this category, despite the economy. “The nutraceutical industry overall has shown remarkable endurance in the face of the depressed market,” he added. “We are seeing a growing trend of custom formulation requests from a variety of marketers, all wanting their own formula.”

Looking at things from a different angle, Mintel found more than one out of every seven (16 percent) global beauty product launches in 2008 was organic, ethical or all-natural. This is an increase from the year prior, when only one in every nine (11 percent) such products carried one of these three designations. Domestically, U.S. manufacturers launched 30 percent of their beauty products as either organic, ethical or all-natural in 2008, up from 23 percent the year prior, according to Mintel.

Even more debate swirls around the beauty from within segment, which includes supplements and functional foods and beverages. While a high-profile functional beauty food, a yogurt from Danone, failed in the French marketplace, other functional beauty launches from Nestle and Mars in the United States appear to be doing better. Some market analysts think marketing and distribution strategy—cosmetics-specific stores and departments versus grocery and food store shelves—is the difference between success and failure for beauty from within products; however, other analysts contend it is simply a matter of proper formulation and education: does the consumer understand what the beauty from within product does, and are these benefits noticeable after using the products?

Holtby said the key to the future success of beauty from within products, especially in supplement forms, is reaching the proper mindset. “While external treatments may provide a more youthful appearance, people need to realize that they are the same age on the inside,” he reasoned. “Promoting longevity to this population for a supplement manufacturer means that marketing efforts are geared toward not only looking young, but feeling well and living without the burden of disability or chronic disease.” He further noted topical skincare products work best in conjunction with a healthy, antioxidant- and essential fatty acid (EFA)-rich diet, and supplements.

Holtby noted products that promote beauty from within most often have positive and beneficial health effects for the body. “Hyaluronic acid, though it is present in the skin and may help bring moisture and firmness, is also being used to help with joint pain; omega fatty acids, such as fish oils, flaxseed, borage and evening primrose, are used for a variety of health issues, including heart function/cholesterol, inflammation and hormone balance.” He also added his weight behind the growing popularity of antioxidants in cosmeceutical products for protection against oxidative damage at the cell level. “Some of the top ingredients with antioxidant properties for cosmeceutical use include grape seed extract, green tea, coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, lycopene, and various other botanicals, vitamins and minerals.”


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