With most of the talk lately being around the negative impacts of environmental threats and chemical ingredients on the skin, it’s not surprising that cosmetics companies have come up with a wide range of protection products. Nor is there any doubts that probiotic and anti-pollution ingredients are a perfect match for this trend.
Bacteria as a beauty ingredient
The protection trend is one that is evolving quickly, while anti-pollution claims were centre stage in 2017, this year microbiome research is top of the agenda for key beauty players. In fact, advances in microbiome science have the potential to shake up the entire skin care industry, which is expected to grow globally at a CAGR of 6% in value terms between 2016 and 2021.
Brands are all approaching protection claims in varying ways making it difficult to pinpoint which is the best approach. Obviously, ingredients such as botanicals and vitamins are far more attractive to consumers than bacteria, but probiotics present an opportunity to reduce the need for chemical ingredients and promote the skin’s own defence mechanisms.
The sooner the better
The future of the microbiome market looks promising and proof of this is in the investment that global companies are making to gain competitive advantage at this early stage. A greater understanding of the role of microbes in skin health and appearance is needed, and cash injections are essential to accelerate microbiome research.
Key players are using revolutionary start-ups as a vehicle for innovation through strategic partnerships. In 2017, J&J announced its partnership with S-Biomedic, a start-up biotech firm specialising in probiotic cosmetics, and the Swiss company Givaudan was the first fragrance company to invest in this rapidly growing niche segment with in-house microbiome research. More recently another big player, Unilever, landed in the probiotic arena with the announcement that the company was investing capital in the French probiotic skincare brand Gallinée. As the appetite for probiotic beauty continues to grow, other global companies are exploring potential investment opportunities.
Seizing the opportunity
Anti-pollution ingredients are increasingly used across a variety of beauty categories. Variations in consumer preferences, along with the specific environmental threats affecting different geographical locations, presents cosmetics companies with a unique set of regional opportunities. In the Asia Pacific region, where consumers are constantly exposed to dangerous levels of pollutants, demand for anti-pollution ingredients in daily facial care products is driving this trend. In contrast, North America presents the biggest opportunities for anti-pollution ingredients in sun care, while the Western European market shows exciting opportunities for anti-pollution ingredients in hair care products.
Probiotics claims are commonly found in skin care products, with the facial care market particularly, expected to remain a key market for these ingredients. In fact, the global demand for probiotic ingredients in facial care products accounted for 8,600 tonnes in 2016 and is projected to reach 10,400 tonnes globally by 2021 with an anticipated growth of 4% CAGR in the same period. The Asia Pacific is the single largest market for probiotics in beauty products, accounting for 90% of current global demand. However, opportunities are not limited to just the skin care category, other applications such as anti-agers, oral and personal care and cosmeceuticals to treat skin issues will also benefit from the microbiome research in the medium to long-term.
It is no secret that trends that fulfil a need lasts the longest. While anti-pollution products are expected to be around for some time, probiotics have the potential to shake up the beauty industry. The idea of using products that help to build up the skins own defences as an antidote to urban life and premature skin ageing seems to appeal greatly to consumers. The combination of botanicals, vitamins, and ingredients that support the skin defence appear to be the magic recipe for products carrying “microbiome friendly” claims.
Using live bacteria is far more challenging, unregulated and non-standardised. So far, parameters such as the type of probiotic, the form in which it is added to formulation (alive bacteria, lysates, etc.), as well as the limits for these ingredients to market safe and effective products, is not yet defined by the cosmetics industry. Protection is no longer considered a niche opportunity, it is now time to standardise definitions, labelling and proof of efficacy protocols.
Maria Coronado is Senior ingredients analyst at Euromonitor International and will present on “New claims in skincare: anti-pollution and probiotic ingredients” at in-cosmetics Global on Wednesday 18 April from 12.15-13.00.
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