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Patent watch: Ingestible ingredients set to disrupt skincare space

Article-Patent watch: Ingestible ingredients set to disrupt skincare space

© iStock/miniseries Patent watch: Ingestible ingredients set to disrupt skincare space
Recent patent filings signal the potential of ingestible ingredients like probiotics, collagen boosters, and botanicals to disrupt the anti-ageing skincare market, according to Mintel analysts.

More than four in five (84%) US functional drink consumers consume functional drink products with beauty-enhancing claims at least weekly – creating space for manufacturers to leverage ingredients that provide beauty benefits in their product ranges.

While natural ingredients like botanicals remain popular, collagen production promoters and probiotics hold a “promising future in launches that claim to support young and wrinkle-free skin”, according to Mintel data analysis carried out in partnership with Cipher, the world's most sophisticated patent analysis system.

Consumers look to edible products for anti-ageing skincare support

Consumers are aware of the importance of skin longevity and seek products that help them to achieve youthful skin. More than half (53%) of US consumers who use facial skincare products say that preventing or minimising fine lines and wrinkles is an important skincare goal, while half (50%) of Italian consumers associate collagen with wrinkle-reducing benefits.

What’s more, shoppers are looking beyond traditional topical beauty products to ingestible ingredients.

While 14% of global vitamin and dietary supplement launches between 2018 and 2023 featured a skin, hair, and nails claim, fewer than 1% of total food and drink category launches featured a claim relating to beauty or appearance, Mintel data shows.

However, with 65% of Chinese consumers saying they have consumed food or drinks (such as yoghurt) with an added beauty ingredient (such as vitamin C or collagen) and will continue to do so, there is space to integrate beauty ingredients into food and drink products.

South Korea leads the way when it comes to patents with beauty benefits, accounting for the majority of global grants related to food, drink, and supplements, at 47%. It is followed by Japan (26%), China (7%), the US (3%), and France (3%).

Collagen boosters among patent activity in edible compositions with beauty benefits

Collagen boosters are widely recognised among consumers as helping to reduce skin ageing and wrinkles.

Elemis London's Pro-Collagen Skin Future Supplements claim to minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The product contains hyaluronic acid, chlorella, an antioxidant blend, and vitamins A and C, which support collagen formation for normal skin function.

A pending patent by Refine Holdings Co claims a triglyceride containing pentadecanoic acid – also known as vitamin B5 – as an active ingredient that can be used in topical skincare compositions as well as in beauty foods or beverages. The triglyceride is claimed to promote collagen production and skin fibroblast reduction.

Other products seek to stimulate skin collagen production via plant-based collagen boosters. A granted patent by inventor Ji Hye Yang claims a composition comprising extracts of flax seed, lentils, and kale in a weight ratio of 1:1:1-3. The extracts are said to work synergistically to promote collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis.

Jiangsu Hengshun Vinegar Industry Co and Shanghai Jahwa United Co have a pending patent for the use of Aspergillus oryzae (Koji mould) fermented filtrate for cosmetics and health foods. Koji mould is used in East Asia to saccharify rice, sweet potato, and barley when making alcoholic beverages such as sake, and to ferment soybeans for making soy sauce and miso. The claimed filtrate promotes both type I and type III collagen production and is high in antioxidants.

Exploring the anti-ageing benefits of probiotics for beauty

Ingestible probiotics offer another route that has consumer familiarity and can be leveraged for skincare claims: 35% of Thai consumers, for example, are aware of probiotics as an ingredient in beauty products.

Some studies suggest that certain probiotics may benefit skin health when ingested, as they act at the genetic level to help reduce skin ageing. Gallinée Youth and Microbiome Food Supplement claims to be a super-concentrated probiotic supplement – with Lactobacillus plantarum, acacia fibre prebiotic, vitamin C, and a selenium-enriched yeast – that fights dehydration, increases skin elasticity, and increases skin glow.

Elsewhere, scientists are exploring the role of probiotics in improving skin hydration. A patent issued to Konkuk University Industry-Academic Co-Found covers the use of Lactobacillus luteri (KCTC 3594) for improving skin health. The claimed ingredient is said to improve skin immunity through intestinal function, improve the water and oil content of the skin, and reduce transdermal water loss.

Natural anti-ageing ingredients are attractive to consumers

Of course, established ingredients also offer opportunities. Many consumers perceive ingredients with natural health benefits – such as botanicals – as being safer and healthier than synthetic alternatives. More than half (51%) of US consumers who use natural over-the-counter health products agree that herbal ingredients (such as turmeric or peppermint) are safe.

© iStock/Liudmila Chernetska Ingestible ingredients set to disrupt skincare space

LG Household and Health Care has a pending patent for a method to prepare citrus peel extract for use in cosmetics and food compositions. Citrus peel extract increases phenolic compounds, generates flavonoid aglycones, and reduces furanocoumarin, thereby helping to improve skin condition.

Another pending patent, from Hangzhou Yige Cosmetics Co and Zhejiang University, covers the use of China rose extract in cosmetics and health foods and beverages. The abundance of flavonoids, pigments, phenolic acids, volatile oil, tannins, proteins, and glycosides in rose extract effectively regulates skin hormone levels and resists photo-ageing.

Other companies are exploring the anti-ageing benefits of mushrooms, some varieties of which, including Tremella fuciformis (also known as snow fungus), are used to promote health and longevity. A pending patent by Mycology Techno Corp claims the use of Basidiomycetes-X FERM BP-10011 dry powder or extract as an elastase activity inhibitor. The claimed powder or extract can be used in topical compositions and in food and beverages.