One of the newest skin care categories is products with probiotic claims. According to GlobalData’s 2016 primary consumer research, globally, just 22% of consumers say they are interested in and actively buy beauty or grooming products containing probiotics. However, a further 41% say they are interested in probiotics but not yet buying such products, suggesting there is strong potential for innovation. By region, Asia Pacific has the highest levels of consumers actively buying these products, with Europe being the lowest. Given the huge success of Asian-inspired beauty regimes and products in the West, a probiotic skin care claim is likely to gain prominence in other markets, including Europe and North America.
Probiotics in the diet are widely known to maintain the good bacteria in the digestive system and keep the gut healthy. Grocery shelf space has increased to include a wide range of food and drink including yogurt, kombucha and fermented foods, including kefir and miso.
“The interest in natural and food-inspired actives has certainly contributed to the emergence of the probiotics trend as foods beneficial for inner health should also contribute to outer-wellness,” noted Jamie Mills, analyst, GlobalData.
Mintel has identified many probiotic-inspired beauty brands espousing the cosmetic and medicinal benefits of “good bacteria.” The probiotic Lactobacillus is mentioned in 2.8% of new global facial skin care launches and data from Mintel’s GNPD suggests the top three categories in 2016 were dairy (41%), skin care (28%) and health care (8%).
“The majority of offerings with Lactobacillus do not contain the bacterium itself, but byproducts of the fermentation process which are generated by incubating it with fruits and vegetables to produce a nutritious soup of amino acids, antioxidants, peptides and lactic acid to moisturize, nourish and protect the skin,” said David Tyrell, global beauty and personal care analyst, Mintel.
Growing consumer interest in the skin microbiome and the role good bacteria have in skin health is fueling the holistic approach to inner and outer well-being.
“Recognition that over-washing and over-cleansing the skin could remove both good and bad bacteria mean there is interest in products that can replenish good bacteria and, in turn, improve skin health,” observes Mills.
Marie Drago, founder of the probiotic-rich skin care line Gallinée, emphasizes that the skin microbiome is a key component of healthy skin.
“The skin bacteria have a major role in regulating the skin immune response and preventing infections,” she explained. “When damaged, it can lead to inflammatory reactions from the skin, such as premature aging, sensitive skin, all the way to acne and eczema.”
Gallinée products are said to help regulate the skin immune response and contain a high concentration of prebiotic to stimulate the growth of the skin commensal bacteria. Lactic acid is also added to keep the skin and its bacteria at optimal pH while creating a virtuous circle favoring the right kind of bacteria.
“We are one of the first brands to openly talk about taking care of your skin’s good bacteria,” claimed Drago. “Our communication is based on the fact that you are 50% bacteria and you should take care of them.”
GlobalData has captured other examples of probiotic skin care launches. La Flore Probiotic Skincare uses probiotics as a key active in order to enhance skin microbes and protect the skin from environmental stressors and harmful bacteria.
Vichy Slow Age contains probiotic-derived Bifidobacteria which contribute to protecting the skin and slowing the signs of aging. Pacifica Hot Vegan Probiotic & Spice Rehab Mask has Ayurvedic herbs, probiotics and coconut water to purify, energize and rebalance the skin. Tyrell foresees a bright future for probiotics in skin care among young men in particular.
“Almost 90% of US males aged 18-34 say they use, or are interested in using, probiotic-enriched facial care products,” he noted.
Consumers are also increasingly looking for products to manage their skin’s health through diet and supplementation. The inclusion of “superfood” ingredients, such as mushroom, pomegranate, chia seeds and turmeric, are becoming an important trend, reflecting healthier, “cleaner” diets, as described in the Mintel trend Power to the Plants.
“Superfoods continue to tap into the desire to be healthy and are often used to promote the benefits of nutritionally dense foods that meet specific dietary and beauty needs of consumers,” commented Michelle Teodoro, food science and nutrition analyst, Mintel. An example is The Beauty Chef, conceived by Australian natural health practitioner and formulator Carla Oates, who believes that the first step to healthy, radiant skin is balancing digestive health. The inner beauty products use bio-fermented ingredients designed to support skin health. Glow Advanced Inner Beauty Powder is described as containing a “powerhouse” of nutrients, including chia, lentils, chickpeas, linseeds, buckwheat, green tea, ginger, turmeric and more.
According to a 2015 study, Women’s Facial Skincare – UK, two-thirds of women respondents said that diet (including fruit and vegetable consumption and adequate hydration) is the most important factor influencing the appearance of their facial skin. Birch water is one such product that has potential as a skin health drink as it supports the notion of beauty from within. Teodoro draws attention to studies that suggest birch sap has been used traditionally as a powerful detoxifier due to its diuretic action and has important anti-inflammatory properties.
“Currently only a handful of birch waters on the market make mention of any skin health benefits. New innovations may be able to leverage this attribute and make it a key part of their brand,” she said. Meanwhile, Elemis Superfood Facial Oil taps into the healthy eating trend with a blend of highly concentrated superfoods, including broccoli, flax seed and daikon radish, to feed the skin and keep it looking plump and smooth.
With interest in health and diet showing no signs of abating, the beauty market stands to benefit from an increase in new products based around novel foods and ingredients.
GlobalData and Mintel will make marketing trends presentations at In-Cosmetics Global, April 17-19, 2018. More info: www.in-cosmetics/marketingtrends.