With more consumers expressing concern over the impact of pollution, beauty products that claim to protect against industrial pollution has become more common in the past few years.
“We noticed this trend starting years ago along with the issue of pollution. Asian consumers especially became more aware with the harsh pollution in places like China,” said Andrea Taimana, founder and CSO of Organic Bioactives, a New Zealand-based cosmetics ingredient firm.
“At the same time, there was a lot of research done about how free radicals from environmental pollution and sun damage combined are really harmful to the skin.”
According to a report by Mintel, 38% of beauty product launches in Asia Pacific had an anti-pollution claim in 2016, up from just 28% in 2015.
Taimana believes the concerns over safety and hygiene, which was triggered by the pandemic, has accelerated the need for cosmetics with protective claims.
“I believe the trend and demand for protective beauty products have been completely boosted by COVID-19. Not only is there industrial pollution but people now are more aware of viruses and bugs. Now they are looking for products that form a skin shield against those aggressors.”
Taimana told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that as consumers gathered more concerns, the industry would have to respond with cosmetic products that can protect the skin from a host of aggressors.
She highlighted that some sun protection products already had added anti-pollution or anti-blue light properties.
“At the moment, there is a huge concern over viruses and bacteria. People know touching your face can expose you to infection, so you can imagine that even a face cream can have antiviral claims. Or a facial mist that plumps your skin while having antiviral properties at the same time.”
Preference for natural ingredients
Taimana also expects that consumers will seek out natural and organic ingredients for protective properties, and this is driving the company to study botanicals that can fit these demands.
“Obviously, the trend is going natural altogether. We are trying to research and find a superhero combination of bioactive ingredients that can multitask to cover different aspects and become a protection mechanism on the surface of the skin.”
She believes that the harsh environment and climate of New Zealand holds tonnes of botanical potential.
“The environment is prone to oxidation and degradation. Its humidity makes it a great environment for fungi and viruses, so our plants here have developed self defence mechanism against degradation.”
Among the botanicals the firm has looked into are native seaweed and red algae which it believes have the potential to be effective antivirals.
Taimana revealed that the firm was currently researching New Zealand green tea as well, which has been reported to have a higher level of antioxidants than other green tea.
“We do have some really potent natural bioactives that have been scientifically proven to have antiviral compounds as well. They have far higher levels of antiviral and antifungal properties compared to other plans from other parts of the world. This is what we want to leverage on and where we see massive potential for New Zealand’s cosmetic bioactivities industry.”