Anti-Aging: The Trends and Challenges in New Product Development

Today’s anti-aging market is expanding to incorporate diverse consumer concerns. Wrinkles are no longer considered the only sign of aging. Age spots, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, uneven skin tone, dark under eye circles and even hair damage are now topping lists of anti-aging concerns among consumers. Spending on anti-aging products is expected to reach $291.9 billion by 2015, according to a Global Industry Analysts report. With this level of projected growth, it’s no surprise that beauty and personal care brands, manufacturers and suppliers around the world are closely monitoring consumer trends for a piece of the market.

The constant demand for new beauty products is leading to exciting new innovations in UV absorption, natural products, multifunctional ingredients and anti-aging hair care products. The resulting unique dynamic of consumer trends and new scientific innovations are truly driving the industry forward.

UV Absorbers

Over the last decade, some of the most interesting beauty product formulation innovations have occurred in UV absorbers. For a population increasingly concerned with skin cancer and preventing signs of aging, (52% of respondents for a Mintel report make an effort to use sunscreen and stay out of the sun to prevent aging) UV absorbers are being more readily incorporated in all kinds of products from sprays to lotions, makeups, serums, creams and gels.

In the last few years, product developers and formulators have focused on two types of UV absorbers in sunscreen products: organic and inorganic. Organic ingredients include avobenzone or octylmethoxycinnamate while zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are commonly used inorganic compounds. Regardless of the type used, beauty brands are challenged to decrease tack and whitening in products while still creating a high SPF, long-lasting sunscreen product. To address this, product developers have turned to various silicones as film formers and dispersants to boost a product’s SPF rating while improving the texture and weight.

Product developers are additionally challenged to blend water resistance, texture, absorption and long-lasting protection while increasing SPF, and the ingredients are critical in this challenge. For example, certain SPF enhancers like Dow Corning (DC) FA 4002 ID (isododecane and acrylates/polytrimethysiloxymethacrylate copolymer), which are film formers that are compatible with organic UV absorbers and pigments, are able to increase base formulas from SPF 20 to SPF 48. Developing functional sun care products that work—while addressing how to obtain the aesthetics of a product that consumers look for—is a primary challenge for the industry.

As with all beauty and personal care products, UV products must be aesthetically appealing. If a UV-added product has an unpleasant texture and doesn’t feel good on skin, people won’t use it.

Natural Products

In anti-aging and beauty trends, the desire for more natural ingredients is one of the fastest growing around the world. According to Kline & Company, the natural personal care market is predicted to reach $6.7 billion in 2015 in the U.S. alone, and according to a recent anti-aging survey by Mintel, 76% of respondents who are concerned with aging report being interested in products with natural/organic ingredients.

As consumer demand for natural products increases, product developers are challenged to keep pace and find new ingredients and formulations that are natural while providing the same results consumers expect from synthetic products. Natural oils such as argan, marula, coconut and almond have historically been popular ingredients for hair care, but today these oils are gaining recognition as a versatile option for skin care products as well. Product developers also around the globe are innovating with vegetable oils and butters like sunflower and shea, as well as natural gums for rheology modifiers like xanthan, carrageenan and gellan. Active ingredients like corn or beets are also being used to derive lactic acid for products.

The beauty industry has made great strides in natural products, but there is a lot more innovating to do. The cost of natural ingredients often exceeds synthetic counterparts, creating even more challenges for brands and product developers tasked with keeping costs down. Natural products can also be very chemically complex, and extensive testing must be done to determine toxicological issues and identify allergens. Achieving the same functionality, feel and aesthetic as synthetic products often requires a combination of natural ingredients, creating further challenges.


Busy, cash-strapped consumers are demanding smarter products that provide more than one benefit. According to Mintel, products that claim to both hydrate and contain antioxidants generate the highest levels of interest among consumers. As a result, there is increased focus in the industry to create products that perform at least two functions—if not three or four. The rapid growth in the popularity of BB and CC creams, which provide both skin care and cosmetic benefits, are just one example. Usage of BB creams alone have reportedly increased by 5% since 2012.

This reflects how the industry has risen to consumer demand and blended remarkable functionality into one product. The primary challenge in these formulations is to maintain the same look and feel consumers expect in a single-function product. Product developers are using ingredients such as DC FZ-3196 (caprylyl methicone) and DC MQ-1640 Flake Resin (trimethylsiloxy silicate (and) polypropyl silsesquioxane) to create a non-tacky, non-greasy after feel and enhance the spread of a product, while ingredients such as DC EL-7040 Hydro Elastomer Blend (caprylyl methicone (and) PEG-12 dimethicone/PPG-20 crosspolymer) are used to create a fresh, powdery affect.

Balancing these ingredients is critical to creating multifunctional products that also have the aesthetic appeal consumers expect. The addition of oil-in-water or water-in-oil emulsifiers can also help create a more stable multifunctional product by enabling product developers to create a small and homogeneous particle size.

Anti-aging In Hair Care

One of the newest emerging trends in anti-aging is in hair care. Just as skin ages with time, hair becomes more brittle and prone to breakage over time, resulting in hair that’s coarser, duller and less voluminous. To address this and meet growing consumer demand, the beauty industry is creating new products designed to protect hair from free radical damage and other elements that can weaken hair as it ages. Anti-aging formulations are being added to products ranging from shampoos and conditioners to volumizers and serums to meet this growing demand.

Among the new anti-aging hair care formulations is an age-defying hair shine product Univar recently developed to increase hair strength, shine and protection with natural ingredients, for example. The use of Cremer Care Argon Oil helps repair free radical damage and increase hair’s shine, while Dow Corning DC 2-2078 provides heat and color protection. Dow Corning 5200 Formulation Aid is used as an emulsifier to provide stability and moisturizing, light hair conditioning. Additional ingredients being used for anti-aging hair care include niacinamide, omega 3, caffeine, panthenol and essential fatty acids.

As with all new beauty and personal care products, developers are challenged to maintain the aesthetic appeal consumers expect in a product’s look, feel, texture, scent and color while also adding functional ingredients that protect against UV, excessive heat and free radical damage that cause hair to age. Seamlessly integrating these benefits into existing hair care products will continue to challenge chemical formulators and beauty product developers.

Continuing Innovation

The rapid growth of the beauty industry will continue to drive innovative products in the anti-aging market. Companies and brands are spending time and money on product innovation and new formulations to meet and drive consumer trends. The science behind products must reflect consumer trends, from UV protection to natural ingredients, multifunctional products and anti-aging hair care. It is incredibly important that product developers and beauty industry suppliers remain connected to emerging trends to create products that embrace the needs of today’s consumer.

Beauty professionals are challenged to stay ahead of consumer trends, but also to develop innovative formulations that exceed demands. Sometimes it’s consumer expectations that drive the industry, and other times it’s formulation breakthroughs that drive consumer demand. Amidst the advancements in beauty and personal care products, continuing to deliver innovative formulations and products has never been more important.

Phillip Mitteness is a technical development specialist in the personal care division of Univar, a global chemical distribution company. He helps chemists, formulators and products create new products and improve existing ones through ingredient introduction and technical support.

More in Skin Care