The Switzerland-based company has identified a significant opportunity for interior beauty products in Asia, and particularly in China.
âThe focus is more on healthy skin with nutrition, so we’re seeing the beauty trend from the inside out. It’s a global trend and it’s definitely booming. The Asian region is also booming. It has been incredible over the past five to ten years. China, in particular, has been a very interesting market for us â, SÃ©bastien Bornet, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Horphag Research.
According to e-commerce giant Tmall, beauty was the fastest growing segmentin the health and well-being category.
Between 2017 and 2019, an Alibaba-owned company observed that consumers purchasing beauty supplements doubled. In addition, they were willing to pay more, 1,000 RMB (156 USD) and more, for them.
âI think now consumers are starting to understand that healthy skin is beautiful skin. So if your skin is healthy, if you are healthy, you will look at it, it will show on your skin – that’s why we have this beauty trend from the inside out â, said Bornet.
Bornet said CosmeticsDesign-AsiaThat there were still gaps in the beauty supplement market despite its growing saturation.
âIn the cosmetics industry, there has always been a lack of scientific approach, but consumers now want evidence-based ingredients because they want to make sure there is research and science. behind that. The other thing they are looking for are natural products as with everything these days.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
These factors present an opportunity for the company’s Pcynogenol, a natural plant extract that gauzes oral and topical applications to improve skin health and appearance.
âThere have been over 160 clinical trials with Pycnogenol alone and over 450 published studies and review articles. It’s 40 years of research, a lot of science behind it. With Pycnogenol, we can fill the gap in terms of science â, said Bornet.
He added that the ingredient also appeals to consumers’ desire for sustainably produced natural ingredients.
Pycnogenol is made from maritime pine bark extract from mono-species pines grown exclusively in a forest in southwestern France, where no pesticides or herbicides are used.
The forest plantation adheres to French forestry legislation, which states that fallen trees must be replaced every year.
The latest study looks at China
To exploit the opportunities in China, the company recently conducted a local study of an oral supplement with Pycnogenol to investigate how it can protect the skin from seasonal changes in the country.
âWe have excellent data [on Pycnogenol] but China has a difficult environment with things like pollution, so we thought it would be interesting to conduct our study there â, said Bornet.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study enrolled 76 participants, including 57 women, with a mean age of 41 years.
All of the volunteers were workers who spent long hours outdoors in Beijing and were exposed to urban air pollution and environmental stress as well as seasonal changes in temperature and humidity from April to November.
They were randomly selected to receive a daily dose of 100 mg Pycnogenol or a placebo for 12 weeks. After a one-week washout period, participants switched from verum to placebo and vice versa for another 12-week study phase of a dry fall period.
From April to July, the rainy season, the results showed that Pycnogenol was able to improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin by 7%.
During the dry season, July through October, data showed that participants in the Pycnogenol group had 14% less transepidermal water loss (PIE), indicating significant improvement in skin barrier function. Comparatively, there was only 4.5% increase in the placebo group.
In addition, there was less decrease in skin moisture, 3.3% versus 14% in the placebo group. The volunteers also reported a 13% improvement in skin elasticity and firmness and a 13.8% increase in skin lightening.
Horphag Research sees more opportunities in the Asian beauty market outside of oral supplements.
Currently, she is studying Centella asiatica – commonly known as cica or Gotu Kola – a perennial plant used in various Asian cultures, from traditional Chinese medicine to Ayurveda.
Cica products are best known as an antidote to sensitive skin problems such as redness and irritation.
However, the company is studying its effects on collagen and how it can influence skin problems such as stretch marks.
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