‘Next hot ingredient’: Ashwagandha supplier eyes untapped potential in skin and hair care
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. It is an adaptogenic herb with multiple benefits from reducing stress to enhancing sleep quality.
Ixoreal Biomed is a leading supplier of ashwagandha. The company primarily operated in the nutraceuticals space and was now targeting opportunities in the beauty and personal care space.
According to CEO Kathikeya Baldwa, the Indian company has 65% of market share, supplying over 1,600 brands with its ashwagandha extract, KSM-66.
He credited beauty brands such as Forest Essentials and Goop Beauty for raising the awareness of ashwagandha as a cosmetic ingredient. Goop Beauty’s use of ashwagandha was even the subject of American comedy show Saturday Night Live, which K believed boosted the awareness of the ingredient even more.
The demand for natural ingredients that are backed up with clinical evidence in cosmetics will fuel the demand for ashwagandha, said Baldwa.
Furthermore, ingredients like ashwagandha, which have a history of being used for centuries, are in even higher demand as they are perceived as being the safer option.
“People are looking for the next hot new ingredient. But it must be efficacious, bioactive, safe and sustainable,” said Baldwa.
Foundation of science
KSM-66 recently debuted at the ingredients trade show, in-cosmetics Global 2023, where it showcased two new studies on the topical effects of ashwagandha in skin and hair.
The former was performed on 53 subjects over a course of 60 days. Compared to the placebo, the lotion containing ashwagandha extract showed significant improvement in skin.
Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) decreased by 15.12% while skin hydration increased by 20.6%. At the same time, skin elasticity increased by 16.4%.
Based on Physician Global Assessment Scores, the ashwagandha lotion improved wrinkles, pores, hydration, and pigmentation by 55.9%, 66.5%, 86.5%, and 80.5%.
The next study evaluated the effects of an ashwagandha hair serum on 60 subjects over 75 days. The findings suggested that ashwagandha could improve hair density and mitigate hair loss.
According to a trischoscan analysis, there was a 4.83% in hairs in the anagen phase and 8.33% decrease of hairs in the telogen phase. Hair density, hair growth, and hair thickness increased by 4.64%, 7.28% and 3.55% respectively.
The study also performed a 60-second hair comb test, which saw a 45.08% and 68.87% reduction in hair loss in both hair with bulb count and hair without bulb count respectively.
In addition to these two studies, the company has another four studies that were on-going or under peer review. This includes two studies on the oral applications of ashwagandha and its effects on skin and hair.
Baldwa told us that the company is focused on building its foundation in the cosmetics space by gathering scientific evidence of ashwagandha’s cosmetic applications.
“By the end of the year, we will have six clinical studies for skin, hair and beauty from within. We want to continue building upon science like the way we have it for food supplements,” said Baldwa.
In addition, the firm will look to acquire the relevant cosmetic certifications, he added.
“We also want to keep on adding to the pool of certifications that we have. Now that we are also getting into cosmetics space, we are looking into COSMOS certification, for instance. We're going to have at least three more certifications just for personal care.”