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Probiotics bring new opportunities to the cosmetic industry in Brazil

The successful use of “good microorganisms” in different applications can help increase consumer interest in natural ingredients that promote the skin’s own defense mechanisms.

The benefits of probiotics in food and vitamin supplements are well known by consumers. Has the beauty industry advanced in the development of products with probiotics? And what are the challenges this fledgling market currently faces in Brazil?

Buona Vita's Prosec

Buona Vita’s Prosec

According to Euromonitor International, in 2016 the global market for skin care products with probiotics accounted for 8,600 tons and it is projected to reach 10,400 tons by 2021, an estimated growth of 4 percent per year.

Juliana Martins, Senior Analyst for Beauty and Personal Care at Mintel, says Asia pioneered the use of beneficial bacteria in the beauty industry. “Many skin care products are being developed using fermenting rice, soy and green tea. Such fermented ingredients, mainly derived from probiotics, are a natural and safe way to moisturize the skin, something Asians have known for a long time.

Mintel’s figures confirm the Asian dominance when it comes to cosmetics with probiotics launched globally between January 2016 and April 2018. South Korea is the market leader, with a 16.7% share, followed by Japan (15,6%) and China (15.3%). The U.S. is fourth, accounting for 11.6% of new product launches.

New opportunities for the beauty industry – The success of probiotics in other industries has helped educate consumers on their benefits, as well as raising interest in cosmetics containing probiotic ingredients.

Maria Coronado, Senior Consultant at Euromonitor International, says probiotics can be seen as an opportunity to expand the trend initiated by antipollution and light protection claims. “They offer a natural alternative to chemical ingredients in anti-aging products by promoting the skin’s own defense mechanisms.

Coronado says even though probiotic ingredients are more commonly found in skin care formulations, they can also be used in products from other categories including oral care and dermocosmetics. “Further research is needed to fully understand the skin barrier and its impacts on health and ageing,” she says.

“Good microorganisms” of many different kinds, including probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics, are already being used in a variety of cosmetic formulations. The so-called “microbiome-friendly ingredients” – meaning they help maintain the health of bacteria and fungi naturally found in the human body – have also been on the rise.

Use of probiotics in the Brazilian market – Even though cosmetics made with probiotic ingredients are already available in Brazil, the Brazilian beauty industry still has a long way to go. Mintel’s global new products database reveals that the amount of skin care products containing the keywords ‘lactobacillus’, ‘lactococcus’, ‘bifidobacteria’ or ‘probiotic’ launched in Brazil in the last two years was insignificant. According to Euromonitor, Latin America accounts for only 6% of the global market for probiotic ingredients in cosmetics and Brazil is the second biggest market in the region, accounting for 21% of this share.

Hydradefence Solution Aqua Pro Bio (ADCOS), Hidratante Corporal Probiótico (BioLogicus) and Prosec (Buona Vita) – a serum for the treatment of acne, pimples and blackheads that claims to help heal the skin with as little residual scarring as possible – are some of the products available in Brazil. According to Gisele Caramori, Buona Vita’s Technical Director, the probiotic ingredient used in Prosec is Kopyeast, a lysate extract from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast. The ingredient moisturizes the skin and stimulates collagen synthesis, which in turn boosts skin-healing properties and protects it against photoaging.

Juliana Martins says cost is the biggest challenge in the development of products with probiotic ingredients in Brazil due to often complex production processes. On the other hand, market research on other industries shows consumers are interested in similar products. “Mintel’s report ‘Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ – published in February 2018 – showed that 51% of Brazilians would like to be offered beverages that help digestion, which is the case of beverages with probiotics. The report “Yoghurts” – published in November 2017 – revealed that 42% of Brazilian yoghurt consumers want to know more about the product’s probiotic or prebiotic benefits.”

Maria Coronado says there is still a lack of standards to guide the use of probiotic ingredients in the cosmetic industry, which makes it harder for consumers to understand what to expect from these products. “There are still many unknowns and challenges but plenty of room for innovation, especially in countries where the regulatory landscape is more favorable. More research and education will be the key for the probiotic market to evolve in the right direction.

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