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Nutricosmetics: Feeding the Skin
By: Bud Brewster, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: January 30, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Everybody agrees that fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals are beneficial to human health. Humans have been eating them since the days of Adam and Eve. The question is: Do fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals added to cosmetics have a measurable effect on the health and appearance of skin, hair and nails? To put it another way, do nutricosmetic products—which the Kline Group values as a $1.5 billion global market with 12% growth per annum1—actually feed the skin, or are they merely feeding the youth appetite of an aging consumer?
The search for the science behind nutricosmetics often leads to a blind alley. For example, as this is written in December 2008, the term nutricosmetic yielded not a single “hit” anywhere in all the patents and patent applications on file at the Web site of the US Patent and Trademark Office. Similarly, the Wikipedia page for the term nutricosmetic had been deleted in November. The deletion log contained two explanations. One said there was “no indication that the article may meet the guidelines for inclusion.” The other called the deleted article “blatant advertising.”
Advertising has certainly contributed to the growth of the nutricosmetics market. So has the muscle of big companies. In 2002, cosmetics giant L’Oréal and food products leader Nestlé cooperated to create the Inneov range of nutricosmetic products, attracting follow-up activity at Estée Lauder, Amore Pacific and Shiseido. Many companies, seeing nutricosmetics as a way to add value to their formulations, are competing with their own product lines. For example, the Inneov range, which is used for antiaging, is a skin care product that not only prepares the skin for solar exposure, but also intensifies the tanning process.2
This Bench & Beyond column will look at a few of the nutritional ingredients being added to cosmetics to promote the concept of beauty through a healthy body. Both the claims and the claims support (if any) will be discussed. The column will end with a suggestion about where to find the science behind nutricosmetics.
Inside out or outside in: Nestlé is the world’s largest food conglomerate. Its nutrition research occurs at the Nestlé Research Center (NRC) in Lausanne, Switzerland. In this decade, the NRC has extended its expertise in nutrition research beyond foods and beverages, to nutritional supplements for skin and hair health and beauty. The premise is that the skin is not only nourished on the outside with moisturizing creams and topical solutions, but also with nutrients to nourish from the inside.