While protection is a key function of skincare products, Mintel highlighted a new dimension of this claim in 2010. ProTech’T looked at how beauty products began to claim defence against internal factors as well the better known external pollutants such as UV rays, pollution and smoke. These products offer a cosmetic shield against the effects of hormonal changes and stress on the skin and hair. Marketing language became more robust and borrowed from the world of network security and fire walls.

Active ingredients were drawn from ever more extreme environments. Plants that can survive the intense temperature variations of the Arctic or desert regions, for example, are said to be hardier with more concentrated power.

As part of this trend, we anticipated the growth of immune-boosting claims in beauty. Although the use of pro- and pre-biotic ingredients has continued, this trend hasn’t gained momentum as quickly as we expected. Instead, brands stuck to more realistic antioxidant claims with classic ingredients like green tea and vitamin C, as well as newer superfruits that migrated from food and drink. In the US so far in 2011, 30% of new skincare products made antioxidant claims while in China last year, the number of antioxidant skincare launches – led by global brands – grew 87%. UV protection claims continue to grow too as more day creams and BB creams include SPF.

The beauty food trend – which went quiet in 2010 – may be what propels the ProTech’T forward in 2012. Combination topical and ingestible products – based on newer healthcare actives – will reinforce synergies to promote greater protection against external and internal aggressors.