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The Ascent of Healthy Aging

By: Carrie Lennard
Posted: October 27, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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This is generating interest from multinational players keen to get a share of the market. In 2009, 10% of China’s $2 billion anti-aging market was comprised of products with added whitening features. China is forecasted to grow its anti-aging industry an additional $1.3 billion by 2014, while the emerging Thai market is also a big draw for players, with 48% of all anti-aging products sold in the country in 2009 offering additional whitening properties. The country is set to add more than $260 million to its anti-aging product market by 2014. Markets such as these make Asia a potential major region for investment from multinational skin care firms, which are often favored and trusted by consumers instead of domestic players.

Choosing the right ingredients

Although many consumers are willing to pay a premium to stave off the signs of aging, a proven track record of scientific efficacy is always a draw, regardless of price point. It is no longer enough for skin care products to make claims about their role in preventing the signs of aging; they are now under pressure to prove it.

For ingredient suppliers, active skin ingredients with proven efficacy are already among the stars of the market for personal care ingredients. Overall, volume sales of active skin ingredients posted a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% during 2004–2009 and are projected to grow 3% annually during 2009–2014. This is almost double the growth rate forecasted for all personal care ingredients, so it is no surprise to see ingredient suppliers dedicating hefty research and development budgets to exploring new active ingredients and their delivery systems.

Innovators have certainly not limited their horizons when it comes to researching technological advances in skin care, with some almost space-age concepts being investigated alongside more recognized technologies. Key themes for ingredient innovators in the coming years include stem cell technology, which is being touted as a possible focus for future new product development, with some plant stem cells already in use in the industry. DNA-customized formulation is another possible future concept, based on the idea of customizing personal care to target the needs of specific consumer types. It may seem futuristic, but the science of genetics has come a long way in a relatively short period of time, so innovation in this area is by no means implausible.


Growth in the skin care category will continue to be driven by anti-aging products. Ultimately, most consumers will sacrifice many other areas of consumer goods before they will alter their attempts to hold on to a youthful appearance. As a result, the anti-aging product category is set to gain more than $5 billion during 2009–2014, far outshining the performance of other skin care categories, such as facial cleansing wipes, predicted to rise by a more modest $115 million, and toners by just $110 million. The crucial reason behind this difference in performance is consumer perception with regard to the long-term effects of these products on skin. Anti-aging products are seen by many as an investment in future skin health, while the latter two examples are not. Depending on their clientele, spas would be well advised to consider focusing their retail areas and spa menus on offering high-quality, scientifically proven anti-aging products and treatments rather than offerings in the categories that are set to be affected by consumer cutbacks.