Study spotlight: Fruits, plants and botanicals promising areas for beauty supplement innovation

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Research institutions, suppliers and manufacturers worldwide are investing time into better understanding the active power of fruit, plant and herbal ingredients [Getty Images]
Research institutions, suppliers and manufacturers worldwide are investing time into better understanding the active power of fruit, plant and herbal ingredients [Getty Images]

Related tags beauty supplements edible beauty inside-out beauty beauty from within supplements Fruit extracts Plant extracts herbal extracts active beauty

A round-up of our scientific study coverage on inside-out beauty ingredients spotlights tomatoes, pine bark and red ginseng, amongst others, as promising ingredients for industry to consider closely.

Innovation around product formats, sustainability goals and target outcomes had long been on the agenda for beauty supplement manufacturers and brands. But research institutions, ingredient suppliers and brands had also stayed sharply focused on building scientific knowledge and understanding on specific active ingredients and blends that could be suitable for future formulations.

In this round-up, CosmeticsDesign-Europe reviews some of the more recent published studies investigating ingredients that worked from the inside-out for a range of edible beauty needs.

Fruits forever – tomato extracts and grape powders

A study published in Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications ​conducted by researchers in Japan showed that saponins from tomato seeds might improve skin elasticity in healthy women. Findings demonstrated that consuming 200mg per day of the tomato seed extract led to significant improvements in measures of facial elasticity specifically.

A separate Lycored-funded study published in Molecules​ detailed the mechanisms around how tomato extracts, alongside rosemary extracts, protected the skin against ultraviolet (UV) radiation and therefore contributed to skin health and appearance. Findings showed that the phytonutrients present in the blend regulated the transcription factors that played a role in inflammation, cell production, differentiation, and protection.

Moving beyond tomatoes, a two-part study funded by the California Table Grapes Commission, published in American Academy of Dermatology ​showed that consuming whole grape powder also protected against UV skin damage, likely due to the polyphenol content of the fruit. Findings demonstrated consuming the powder daily led to a resistance to sunburn and reduction in markers of UV damage at the cellular level.

Tree power and botanicals  environmental stressors and sun damage

A study published in Skin Pharmacology Physiology ​showed supplementation of a standardised French pine bark blend Pycnogenol may protect skin from seasonal changes and environmental stressors. Findings from a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study indicated that oral supplementation with the ingredient – already widely used in dietary supplements, cosmetic products and functional foods and beverages worldwide – helped retain skin moisture, elasticity and barrier function amongst outdoor workers in China.

A separate study published in Food & Nutrition​ showed a botanical supplement, made from a proprietary blend of olive leaf, lemon verbena, rosemary and Japanese pagoda tree extracts, also reduced effects of pollution on skin health. Findings showed daily supplementation of the Zeropollution branded product, manufactured by Monteloeder, reduced oxidative stress-induced skin damage, decreasing wrinkle depth, increasing elasticity and firmness, strengthening skin barrier function and reducing dark spots after just two weeks.

A systemic review published in Cosmetics ​by scientists in Malaysia and the UK analysed how extracts from the Southeast Asian tree Thanaka offered a range of active beauty promise, most notably as a natural alternative to sun protection. Findings showed that whilst the ingredient had long been used for anti-ageing and acne treatments, many Asian brands had further developed its potential as a sun protection ingredient. The researchers said extracts characterised from various parts of the plant, including stem bark, leaves and fruit, offered bioactives important in use for sun protection.

Red ginseng and herbals – post-menopausal skin health

A study published in Nutrients​ showed that daily supplementation of Korean red ginseng reduced age-related issues in post-menopausal women. Findings from an eight-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial showed supplementation of 2g per day of the extract did so by improving mitochondrial function, antioxidant status and reducing fatigue in subjects.

A separate study on supplementation amongst post-menopausal women, published in Cosmetic Dermatology​, found a herbal blend of soy germ, black cohosh, chase-tree berry and evening primrose seed improved skin roughness and other parameters. Findings showed that Australian firm Max Biocare’s supplement Belle Dame, sometimes marketed as Estosalus, improved skin elasticity, smoothness, scaliness and wrinkle density in post-menopausal women after 12 weeks of daily supplementation. Researchers suggested the soy isoflavones in the blend activated the estrogen receptor-β which stimulated collagen and elastin content.

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