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Cosmeceuticals Inject Innovation Into Anti-aging

By: Diana Dodson
Posted: July 23, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The pursuit of eternal youth has become a global preoccupation with consumers spending more and more money—and some even going to extreme lengths—in effort to turn back the clock on maturing skin. Once only found in the medicine chests of women in their 50s and 60s, anti-agers are increasingly appealing to a younger audience keen to put the brakes on the aging process. And not even men are immune to the promise of eternal youth, as anti-aging creams have become an important contributor to growth in the burgeoning $1.5 billion men’s skin care segment.

Asia-Pacific lags behind

While the anti-aging trend is a global phenomenon, the drive to maintain a youthful appearance is strongest in the affluent Western markets of North America, Western Europe and Australasia, which spent a combined $7.7 billion on wrinkle-reducing facial creams in 2007, according to Euromonitor International’s new 2008 cosmetics and toiletries database. Anti-aging facial creams are also enjoying a booming demand in Latin America, where consumers put a high priority on looks, and the market saw growth of 15% in 2007 to $5.5 billion. In Brazil, more than one in every three U.S. dollars spent on skin care goes toward a facial anti-ager.

Eastern Europe has a relatively underdeveloped anti-aging market, but as economic fortunes in the region rise, so does interest in age-delaying beauty care. Sales of facial anti-agers nearly tripled from 2002–2007 to $3.9 billion, according to new Euromonitor International figures.

While skin care is a beauty priority in many Asian markets—four of the six biggest per capita spenders on skin care are in this region—anti-aging is seen as less important than skin whitening and standard cleansing, toning and moisturizing products. At $13.1 billion, Japan is the largest skin care market in the world, but less than 10% of that spending is accounted for by anti-agers. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the figure is closer to 30%. However, China, India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia are seen as important new growth areas for the anti-aging market as international beauty trends filter into these booming new economies.

Youthfulness: A beauty priority

A growing appearance-consciousness among consumers is fueling dynamism in the global anti-aging market. People are under a great deal of pressure to look good all the time, something being instigated by a mass media that often promotes an unrealistic archetype of beauty. Healthier lifestyles, too, mean that, as they grow older, consumers are increasingly feeling more youthful than their actual age would suggest, and anti-agers are seen as a way to ensure one’s outer appearance reflects this inner youthfulness.