Science and consumer demand drive innovation and opportunity for ceramides-from-within

The nutricosmetics market is expected to grow significantly from 2021–2028. Analyses by Data Bridge Market Research shows that the sector is growing with a CAGR of 7.07% and identifies the rising interest in healthy ageing as a key driver of this growth1

Consumers are spending time doing thorough research and are devouring information at an astonishing rate. Not only older consumers, but younger ones as well are looking for a better understanding of healthy ageing and new approaches to sustaining long-term, optimal wellness throughout life.

As Sebastien Merchet, Nutrition Sales and Marketing Manager, Seppic, reports: they seek products that are proven and substantiated by sound science that clearly demonstrates ingredient and product efficacy.

No more quick fixes for skin health

When it comes to skin health, consumers are taking the time to learn more about how to rebuild and repair their skin, as opposed to using surface solutions and cover-up cosmetics.

Last year saw many consumers switching their focus from quick-fix products such as peels, creams and make-up to deeper solutions that get to the root of skin issues. They are turning their attention to ways to deeply nourish, hydrate and heal the skin.

The somewhat sudden spike in interest may be partially influenced by the effects of the global pandemic. Wearing masks and other facial coverings has certainly contributed to more skin irritation.

Stress has also taken its toll on skin. Plus, many people simply have more time to pay attention to the deeper health of their skin and to identify real solutions.

And, now that many mask mandates and the need to wear them is decreasing, facial skin is once again out and about … and skin health is a high priority.

Sebastien Merchet

Today, “instant” solutions or simply covering up skin issues will no longer suffice. There has been a significant increase in demand for solutions that go beyond the surface.

When it comes to skin health, consumers are doing more research than ever and technical terms such as “sphingolipids” and “stratum corneum” (the skin moisture barrier), are popping up in mainstream conversations.

In particular, there is rapidly growing interest in products designed to strengthen, nourish and build the skin moisture barrier.

How do ceramides support skin from within?

The skin is made up of three layers: the hypodermis, dermis and epidermis (stratum corneum). The latter layer acts as a skin barrier and is made up of cells called corneocytes, which are surrounded by lipids (including ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids).

These lipids play a critical role in bolstering the skin barrier and allowing the retention of moisture within the cells themselves.

Cells that retain moisture remain plump and help to prevent the formation of cracks in the barrier. A decrease in ceramide content is a key factor in the decline of the epidermal barrier function.

Thankfully, it’s possible to deliver supplemental ceramides orally that are then transported through the bloodstream to restore ceramide levels in the stratum corneum. Ingesting the ingredient allows the ceramides to strengthen and reinforce the skin barrier throughout the body.

Repairing and strengthening the skin barrier

There is now broad awareness in the personal care and beauty space that ceramides can effectively support skin hydration and healthy ageing in topical solutions.

Science is now taking a closer look at ingestible ceramides and the body of research continues to grow, with evidence demonstrating that the oral use of ceramides is highly effective at working internally to strengthen and repair the skin barrier from within the body.

One clinical study looked at Ceramosides, a proprietary extract from Seppic that contains natural ceramides and digalactosyl diglycerides (DGDG). DGDG has been shown to improve the bioavailability and absorption of ceramides.

The study showed that Ceramosides significantly improved skin moisturisation by more than 16% compared with a placebo after just 15 days, and more than 21% after 2 months.

Efficacy was also validated by the study subjects, with 75% of participants reporting that they felt a lessening of pulling sensations, whereas 80% noticed a reduction in skin scales.

The double-blind clinical trial demonstrated significant wrinkle reduction after 2 weeks of supplementation with Ceramosides and reported a 26% improvement in skin elasticity compared with a placebo after 2 months of use.2

Significant opportunity for ingestible ceramides

Research firm Mordor Intelligence valued the global nutricosmetics market at $6925 million in 2020, predicting a CAGR of more than 8% for the forecast period of 2021 to 2026 and anticipating that North America would show the highest CAGR compared with other regions.3

Some of the key factors driving this growth include an ageing population, as well as young consumers — particularly millennials — embracing the category. There is a clear understanding in the minds of consumers regarding the wellness/beauty connection.

A broad range of consumers can benefit from ceramides-from-within. The natural ageing process contributes to a weakening of the skin barrier. With time, ceramide levels decrease and the body’s ability to produce lipids (oils) diminishes.

Genetics also play a role in determining the strength of the barrier. In addition, sometimes, even the best-intended skincare routines may be too aggressive and activities such as over-cleansing or the use of peels and exfoliants can damage the stratum corneum. Even stress and lack of quality sleep can wreak havoc on skin and weaken the skin barrier.

According to SPINS data, one of the top healthcare trends for 2021 is “Beauty Expanding to New Categories,” noting significant opportunities for innovation in nutricosmetic supplements, as well as functional foods and beverages with skin and beauty benefits.4

Sourcing ingestible ceramides: what to look for

Brands looking to meet consumer demand for healthy ageing solutions that address skin health at a deeper level should consider including ceramides in nutraceutical and functional applications.

Ingestible ceramides have a number of advantages compared with topical options, including the ability of the ceramides to travel throughout the bloodstream and provide full-body skin support.

When sourcing ceramides to be ingested orally, work with trusted suppliers that take science seriously and can provide clinical studies to prove product efficacy and test results for purity, quality and safety.

Phytoceramides are plant-based ceramides; they are natural, vegan and preferred by the majority of consumers compared with other forms. To meet additional clean-label requirements, look for ceramide ingredients that are non-GMO organic, and contain no additives or preservatives.

Ceramides may be found in oil and powder forms, and it is important to ensure that the ingredient form is properly suited for the product delivery format. For example, powders are great for tablets, hard capsules, mix-in powders and beverages, whereas an oil form works well in softgels and gummies.

Leveraging the opportunities

With the significant growth in demand for healthy ageing and beauty-from-within solutions that are natural and effective, ingestible phytoceramides are perfectly poised for innovation and growth.

These unique compounds are required to ensure skin barrier integrity and may be effectively replenished through supplementation. A large and growing body of science continues to provide evidence and validation for the efficacy of ceramides-from-within to support skin health and help to promote healthy skin ageing.

References

  1. www.databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-nutricosmetics-market.
  2. www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/4/4/37.
  3. www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/nutricosmetics-market.
  4. www.spins.com/resources-self-care-trends-2021.

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