Challenges, Opportunities in Clinical Evaluations of Oral Beauty Supplements

The idea that one can “pop a pill” to perfect skin is indeed fanciful. Yet, consumer interest in the correlation between diet, wellness, and skin health has increased the demand for information on oral beauty supplements.

Worldwide, the general functional food (foods or dietary components that may provide a health benefi t beyond basic nutrition) and “nutraceutical” market is valued at in excess of US$156 billion, according to Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals magazine. Such “nutraceuticals” can be defined as mainly natural products that are used to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake of important nutrients targeting a particular skin benefi t. This definition includes nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, antioxidants, amino acids, protein, etc. Such products existing at the interface between foods, drugs, and beauty (cosmetic) supplements are currently regulated under food supplement legislation.1,2 Yet, the line between cosmetic and drug products will become increasingly blurred soon, given the rapidity of more technologically advanced product introductions aimed at specifi c markets (e.g., for antiaging or sensitive skin). Since this growing segment is signifi cant—and because it addresses skin health care—assumption of skin benefi ts must be substantiated with scientific evidence.

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