Using clinical research to explore skincare

Recently, there has been a considerable increase in the advancement of the ‘ingestible beauty’ trend. However, a more common and ‘consumer friendly’ term has since prevailed: ‘Beauty-from-within’ has grown in popularity as it speaks to the modern consumer.

Using clinical research to explore skincare

Image Credit: Atlantia Clinical Trials

Clinical research has demonstrated that beauty is not skin deep; it is a holistic approach that comprises many factors, including skincare routine, sleep, diet and environmental factors.

The upsurge of consumers focusing on self-care since the beginning of the pandemic has only hastened the emergence of wellness as a holistic trend extending to conventional beauty areas such as skincare. This includes using clinically-proven botanical ingredients in combination with the highest standard of practice (ICHGCP), both of which will significantly boost a product’s chance of success.

Additionally, like a number of other factors, the pandemic has expedited the shift towards e-commerce throughout the beauty industry as brick-and-mortar locations have had to cease operations. In the US alone, online sales of beauty and personal care products totaled a breathtaking $62.6B last year, up from $53.1B in 2019, per CB Insights.

Using clinical research to explore skincare

Image Credit: Atlantia Clinical Trials

The global beauty and personal care industry was valued at a staggering USD 487.4 billion in 2020; of this, the skincare industry made up around USD 139.6 billion. In 2021, skincare is expected to grow and outpace all other categories, driven by the Asia-Pacific market, in particular.

Using clinical research to explore skincare

Image Credit: Atlantia Clinical Trials

The post-Covid-19 era will generate sustainability-focused and digitally savvy brands, as well as those that can deliver clinically validated, affordable wellness-orientated solutions. While projections for growth may fluctuate, most believe it will continue to progress at a 5%-to-7% compound-annual-growth-rate to eventually reach or exceed $800 billion by 2025.

Passport: World Market for Beauty and Personal Care, 2021

Source: Passport: World Market for Beauty and Personal Care, 2021

Using Clinical Research to Explore Skincare

Source: Euromonitor

A report from Lumina Intelligence determined two types of consumers depending on the application reason: wellness versus symptomatic. For instance, the leading sub-area in Eczema is psoriasis, with an average of 2,000 monthly searches.

At the keyword level of this area, searches using the term(s) “best probiotic brand for psoriasis” have decreased by nearly 80% in the last two years. However, “best probiotics strain for psoriasis” is growing at an exponential rate (1,300%).

Could this signify a shift in the way consumers are looking for recommendations, and does this provide an opportunity for suppliers to influence the end-user with content on their strains?

In acne, “fungal” and “hormonal” acne appear in the fast-growing niche quadrant. Although acne is an entire grouping experiencing low growth compared to others, there are still high-growth opportunities worth considering.

These “cause” searches are not always a result of people taking probiotics to alleviate acne, but it shows that these symptom consumers are aware of the potential impact of any dietary changes.

Therefore, convincing them of probiotic efficacy may require more detailed information – no matter what reason they are taking them.

The report from Lumina also outlined that those cosmetic products with probiotics experienced the highest growth in consumer interest – 113% in the 1st half of 2020. Consumer online engagement with probiotic cosmetics increases eight times faster in % terms when compared to probiotic supplements in NA and 2.5 times faster in APAC.

North America

Table 1. Source: Lumina Intelligence: Skinbiotics: Probiotics for skin health, eczema, allergies & more, 2021

Category Review Jul
2020
% 6-month
Growth (1st
Half of 2020)
Absolute 6-month
Growth (1st
Half of 2020)
Products
Probiotic Cosmetics 21K 308% 16K 33
Probiotic Supplements 300.8K 39% 84K 333
Kombucha 3.2K -25% -1K 25
Probiotic Juice 6.7K -25% -2K 15
Total 331.6K 41% 96K 406

 

APAC

Table 2. Source: Lumina Intelligence: Skinbiotics: Probiotics for skin health, eczema, allergies & more, 2021

Category Review Jul
2020
% 6-month
Growth (1st
Half of 2020)
Absolute 6-month
Growth (1st
Half of 2020)
Products
Probiotic Cosmetics 34.3K 71% 14K 109
Probiotic Supplements 3458K 28% 761K 900
Kombucha 5.5K 116% 3K 84
Probiotic Juice 148.3K 16% 20K 52
Total 3646.1K 28% 798K 1144

 

To be completely aware of the cosmetic market of products whose claims have been scientifically validated, the Atlantia team visited Clinicaltrials.gov and downloaded all trials with the keyword “cosmetics” on the 26th of August 2021.

Only trials conducted with cosmetic products, dietary supplements, probiotics and combinational products were included (n=89). Clinical trials treating skin with biological, medical devices, drugs and chirurgical interventions were eliminated.

The variables used to split the data were study type (interventional/observational), condition researched and product type of the intervention (cosmetic product, combinational product, dietary supplement).

Out of the conducted studies, 78.65% were intervention while just 21.35% were observational. Interestingly, there was a significant variation on average sample sizes on intervention studies (89 participants) versus observational studies (2607 participants).

This seems logical as there are various formulas of sample size calculation for different types of variables evaluated in specific study designs, particularly descriptive, epidemiological, comparative and interventional research studies.1 By condition researched, numerous diverse conditions were repeated as study endpoints:

Atlantia Clinical Trails: cosmetic Trail Lanscape Research conducted on August 2021

Source: Atlantia Clinical Trails: cosmetic Trail Lanscape Research conducted on August 2021

The conditions were sorted into the categories, following Lumina Intelligence’s market categorization of wellness vs. symptomatic applications. Conditions that fell into the wellness area, including skin wrinkles or skincare, represented 51% of the total.

Symptomatic applications which included atopic dermatitis made up 49% of the overall number of published studies.

“Given skin’s sensitivity (and visibility), many consumers are particularly cautious about the ingredients, quality and brand of the skincare products they buy. Previous personal experience is the top influencing factor for any skincare product purchase,” as stated in Euromonitor.  

Euromonitor’s report highlighted that advances in microbiome research are placing probiotics as desirable and effective ingredients that are clinically proven to repair existing damage and improve the skin’s natural defenses to resist future damage.

“Products with demonstrated efficacy will garner more purchases and recommendations than advertisements, loyalty rewards or discounts. Claims about functional benefits work best when they are able to connect with consumers’ individual concerns about their skincare needs,” says Euromonitor.

The more widespread and robust the scientific data quantifying these claims, the more products will be able to detail specific cases and add quantitative data to endorse existing claims.

In an era of ever-growing competition for “skin health,” utilizing scientific studies to corroborate key health claims will be crucial in compounding the hold that probiotics have on the premium skincare market.

Suppose doctors, dermatologists and other healthcare professionals can cite studies or award distinct data claims in relation to products that fulfill certain criteria for providing good results. In that case, it will offer a significant boost and make probiotics more attractive to new consumers.

In 2017, 19% of consumers around the world reported that their main influencer in deciding which skincare product to purchase was either a doctor or medical professional, with market highs of 58% in Indonesia and 55% in Russia.

Acquiring scientifically backed claims help commercial teams determine the positioning of the product. In a recent report on microbiome search trends, Lumina Intelligence emphasized that checking for microbiome implications will boost a product’s potential and help when positioning a product in relation to online trends.

Claire Tansey is the Director of Operations at Atlantia Clinical Trials, which performs clinical studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of functional ingredients, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, medical foods and dietary supplements.

Using clinical research to explore skincare

Image Credit: Atlantia Clinical Trials

Claire has 25 years’ worth of experience in the cosmetic industry across all aspects, specializing in skincare, new product development, product innovation and product performance.

Before joining Atlantia, Claire’s responsibilities included overseeing the clinical efficacy and sensory investigation of the Skincare and Wellness categories at Oriflame Cosmetics and performing research studies in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

When asked what the future of skin research would look like, Claire responded:

“There has been a shift away from negative ‘anti-aging’ claims in the skincare industry and the focus is now on achieving healthy skin and ‘well aging’ which is a more holistic approach to skincare. I believe that the future of skin research will be focused on skin health and will delve further into the gut-skin-brain connection.”

Now a part of the Atlantia team, Claire’s main focus is driving operational excellence across the Clinical Operations teams in Cork and Chicago and guaranteeing that all studies are delivered on time and within budget.

Claire also makes a significant contribution to the development and implementation of new business opportunities in Atlantia to promote the quality of clinical trials and deliver on strategic ambition.

Customized skincare is also a huge trend, and I will be interested to see more research studies exploring how we can look at our genetic pre-disposition and utilize this knowledge to take a proactive approach in targeting individual skin health and ageing concerns.

Claire Tansey, Director of Operations, Atlantia Clinical Trials

To discuss your project with Atlantia’s research experts, contact: [email protected]

Atlantia Clinical Trials’ expertise is built upon a foundation of Microbiome knowledge that has been developed over the previous decade. Atlantia’s experts have outstanding knowledge of developing and testing new ingredients, designing efficacy testing to support final product claims, advising on skincare formulations and meeting EU and FDA Regulatory requirements.

About Atlantia Clinical Trials

Atlantia Clinical Trials Ltd is a CRO that specializes in conducting studies in foods, beverages and supplements for companies world-wide that want to scientifically validate their functional ingredients to support an: EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) Health Claim; FDA (Food & Drug Administration) Structure Function Claim; or General Product Marketing Claim.

Atlantia works with world leading scientists (among the top cited 1% internationally, in the areas of digestive health and functional foods) at the: APC Microbiome Institute in University College Cork, Ireland; Teagasc, Moorepark, Ireland and recognized centers of excellence globally.

Atlantia runs and operates its own clinic sites and conducts all studies to ICH-GCP standard (International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use - Good Clinical Practice). Its team includes physician experts in digestive health, mental health (psychological stress and cognition), cardiovascular health, sports performance, metabolic disease, bone health, immune health and healthy ageing. The clinical team also includes project managers, research nurses, nutritionists, certified sports trainers and lab researchers.

Atlantia manages all elements from protocol design, placebo manufacture, recruitment, and study execution, to sample and data analysis, statistics and report/dossier preparation to provide a service which is technically, scientifically and clinically superior.

The clinical studies cover a broad spectrum of functional food and beverage categories, such as dairy, cereal, probiotic, different protein forms, infant-specific foods, vitamins/minerals, plant or marine extracts and medical foods.


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Last updated: Nov 22, 2021 at 12:56 PM

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