Apart from being the editor forWholeFoodsMagazine, I am also a woman who cares about skin health. While researching for this month’s cover story — ­­Natural Beauty (and Protection) From Within, p. 18 — I decided to ask the experts I interviewed to share what emerging trends we should be on the lookout for to support healthy skin.

As you will go on to read in the nutricosmetics feature, collagen has been and will continue to be in demand because simply put, it is the most important component to the skin’s overall structure. But according to Rob Maru, vice president of innovation and brand development, Reserveage Nutrition, Boca Raton, FL, consumers are looking for an alternative to collagen that isn’t derived from animal sources — vegetarian- and vegan-friendly products.

Plant-based collagen using botanical-based nutrients so the body can produce its own collagen in support of healthy skin is what’s currently in demand, he says. Herbs like “vitamin C from organic amla (gooseberry) extract, silica from bamboo, and antioxidants from white tea, are combined with amino acids and vegan phytoceramides to help naturally hydrate the skin and prevent collagen breakdown,“ Maru explains.

The demand for collagen alternatives don’t end there; innovative delivery systems are the hottest trend in nutricosmetics, according to Tim Mount, CN, CCMH, director of education, NeoCell, Irvine, CA. “People are looking for enjoyable and convenient ways to incorporate skin supplements into their daily routine instead of adding another pill to their regimen,” he says. Mount explains that soft chewable tablets are proving to be the most popular as they are both healthy and tasteful. Another emerging trending according to Mount is to incorporate unflavored powders into cooking recipes. For example, adding collagen powder to a soup, sauce or dressing so that it “doesn’t affect the taste, but adds in valuable collagen proteins to rebuild the skin while you eat,” he asserts.

Golan Raz, vice president of health and nutrition, Lycored, Orange NJ, points to a natural alternative gaining traction: the combination of tomato lycopene and lutein from the marigold flower. Raz points to a recent study held at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany — which was also published by the British Journal of Dermatology  — by a leading dermatologist, Prof. Jean Krutman, who found that the combination of tomato lycopene and lutein have beneficial properties in improving skin conditions and overall skin health. Raz calls this an important scientific finding as it is “supported by extensive research that demonstrates how tomato lycopene and lutein are working synergistically to protect the skin in multiple ways.”

As a skincare products consumer, I look forward to exploring these options. As an editor, I am looking forward to more research and writing on these new developments in the nutricosmetics field — especially after attending next month’s Natural Products Expo West!WFjcheadshot

Julissa Catalan Editor