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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.
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Drinkable or oral: A 2007 Frost & Sullivan market report2 identifies two main categories of nutricosmetics:
• Drinkable nutricosmetics that are taken in liquid form or yogurts, fortified with minerals and vitamins, for better skin care and body health. Examples of drinkable nutricosmetics marketed for skin care properties include Borba’s skin balancing water, Groupe Danone’s Essensis beauty yogurt and Coca-Cola’s Lumae tea.
• Oral nutricosmetics that are ingested as pills for purposes such as antiaging and skin care. Some popular brands include Inneov by L’Oréal and Nestlé, Imedeen by Ferrosan, and the Olay Vitamins line from Procter & Gamble. Both of these types of nutricosmetics enhance skin and hair condition and also protect the skin from UV damage, according to Frost & Sullivan.
Ingredients and Tests
Frost & Sullivan’s list of the major ingredients used currently in nutricosmetics includes soy isoflavone proteins, lutein, lycopene, vitamins (A, B6, E), omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene probiotics, sterol esters, chondroitin and coenzyme Q10. They are antioxidants promoted for their skin care properties and antiaging effects on free radicals. They also claim anti-inflammatory action to protect the skin against UV radiation. Discussion of any comprehensive list of nutricosmetic ingredients is beyond the scope of this column, so here is only a sample of those ingredients (Figure 1), followed by available research supporting their claims.
Phytoene and phytofluene from tomatoes: IBR Ltd. offers the colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene, which are obtained from tomatoes and the edible unicellular algae of the Dunaliella species. There are more than 700 different carotenoids, many of which differ in the health benefits they offer and the body sites where they are found. Unfortunately, most carotenoids are sensitive to light, a property that considerably limits their use and shortens the shelf-life of products that contain them. In addition, almost all carotenoids have a distinctive visible color, which limits their utility for cosmetic applications. However, phytoene and phytofluene are colorless (i.e., they absorb light only in the UV range) and dietary phytoene and phytofluene have been shown to accumulate in human skin.4 According to IBR Ltd., this accumulation potentially can protect the skin by several mechanisms: as UV absorbers, as antioxidants, and as anti-inflammatory agents. Therefore, IBR has developed both topicala and dietaryb tomato-based products to bring phytoene and phytofluene to the skin.
Lycopene from tomatoes: Scientists at the NRC developed a food ingredient, Lactolycopene, to enhance the bioavailability of the carotenoid lycopene, a nutrient found commonly in tomatoes and tomato products. This unique preparation contains the antioxidant lycopene dispersed among milk proteins for increased nutrient bioavailability.
Lactolycopene was later combined with vitamin C and soy extract in a nutricosmetic supplement called Innéov Fermeté. This antiaging supplement reportedly helps to improve skin firmness and density.