Taking a holistic view of beauty products

Giorgio Dell’Acqua looks at how we need to consider the whole body in order to truly improve beauty products for consumers

Back in 2000, when I started my adventure as a cosmetic scientist and formulator working at a contract manufacturer, I was introduced to suppliers and brands that suggested ingestible ingredients as an effective treatment to improve the way our skin, hair and nails looked. We called it at the time the “inside-out” approach to beauty. Although I knew about the association of certain vitamins with skin and hair aspect and quality, the supplements were more complex, from collagen to carotenoids to different phytochemicals with issues related to release, stability, bioavailability, etc. Mostly because of the lack of sufficient clinical evidence and the challenge for suppliers operating in the cosmetic industry to support clinical trials addressing the inside-out approach, many of these ingredients went unnoticed in the bigger picture of beauty and made their way through the nutraceutical market with a certain success, focusing on general wellbeing or wellness. Back in the day, I believed that the predominant dogma of addressing skin care and hair care as a specific target using topical products, almost like skin and hair were disconnected from the rest of our body, slowed down the adoption of a more holistic approach, and the idea to address beauty through an inside-out intervention as well.

A holistic world

The holistic view of our body has been explored and developed for thousands of years in TCM and Ayurvedic Practice and represents a philosophy of life. We are looking at interactions and equilibrium between our senses, our organs and our external world with its colours and smells, but also with its dangers (pollution and stress in all their forms). The notion that we are completely connected as individuals and with the environment is not surprising either. We just lived the disconnect for too long. There is a willingness to reconnect to ourselves, our communities and nature. Sounds familiar? This is very much in line with the principle of sustainability, but also with a holistic view of the world where individuals function better as communities. Connections are complex though and not necessarily linear. This is why it is risky to simplify; but in general, we can draw some essential concepts that I think are main takeaways when approaching the skin and hair as part of our body and subjected to its rules.

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