Peruvian Maca Takes Root in Skin Care


Maca root, Lepidium meyenii or Lepidium Peruvianum, is a nutritious Peruvian root crossing over from health care to the beauty category. In supplements, it was originally associated with fertility and virility claims; Inca warriors are said to have eaten it before battle to fortify themselves. More recently, maca root has been positioned as a superfruit with the ability to reduce stress and assist with weight loss or hormonal changes. Maca root is rich in essential minerals, fatty acids and amino acids.

Within the beauty category, maca root first emerged in 2002, in hair care products such as Andean Products MacaOption shampoo and conditioner and later in facial care. It remains a niche ingredient; however, in the past three months, maca root has provided the key active ingredient in several new European skin care brands, including the Body Shop’s new range for men.

Condensé launched a collection of 19 natural beauty products for face and body with 100% natural actives and no parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oil or artificial colorants. The Normal to Combination Skin line includes a Deep Moisturizing Cream with black tea ferment and maca root. It claims to nourish and soften the skin, refill wrinkles and stimulate fibroblasts.

Pure Altitude Bio-Organic range is the new line from French alpine spa brand Fermes de Marie. Its Maca Root Elixir draws on the brand’s signature antiaging edelweiss active and adds organic maca root and daisy extract. This ECOCERT-certified product claims "to help tired, strained skin recover radiance, suppleness and vitality.”

Nuxe Nuxuriance antiaging Re-densifying Emulsion features araucaria seeds, bakau plant cells, maca root and tetrapeptide dermican. This day cream focuses on the energizing capabilities of maca. It is designed for women who have skin “weakened by hormonal variations.” It contains 79.7% ingredients of natural origin and the new Nuxe preservative system. It is free from parabens, phenoxyethanol, mineral oils, coloring agents or ingredients of animal origin.

Maca root’s association with virility makes it a fitting ingredient for a men’s grooming range. As noted above, in fall 2008, The Body Shop released a range of skin care, deodorants and shaving products for men named after maca root. The Maca Root Energetic Face Protector with SPF 15 is described as a “dynamic defender” with energizing maca root and moisturizing Brazil nut oil from Peru and Guatemalan aloe vera.

YESforLOV is a range of products for sensual well-being that associates pleasure with skin. It includes skin care, protection and intimate games. While maca is not included in the skin care products, it is featured in the Libido-Vitamins, a dietary supplement designed to act on libidinal energy and the well-being of the sexual organ tissues. It is formulated with natural extracts of maca, ginseng, damiana, guarana, cinnamon and L-arginine, and claims to be dosed to regenerate, stimulate and heighten sexual energy.

Unlike many ingredients—especially superfruits—that traditionally move from food and beverage to beauty, maca root crossed almost directly from health care to personal care. Its use is limited in the food and beverage category. Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that it has appeared in fewer than 10 launches in the past five years, mostly in energy drinks and snacks in the United States.

The emergence of maca in skin care echoes Mintel’s findings that the beauty category is looking beyond superfruits to lesser-known natural ingredients with health benefits. Actives claiming to boost energy, cell longevity or immunity are ripe for growth as the beauty food trend develops.

-Nica Lewis, Mintel Beauty Innovation

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. Mintel Cosmetic Research tracks mass market and luxury cosmetic innovations in France and the United States. For additional information regarding either Mintel GNPD or Mintel Cosmetic Research, call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

More in Ingredients