At a recent international beauty convention, industry experts shared two key trends shaping the Japanese-beauty market: innovation in anti-aging and in natural, organic, additive-free products.
Innovation in Anti-aging
After decades of improved life expectancy and falling birth rates, Japan is facing an aging population. Today, almost one out of every three Japanese is over the age of 60. In the next 50 years, close to 40% of the population is forecasted to be 65+ year-olds.
Japan’s cosmetics industry has increasingly focused on anti-aging products in order to address the needs of the country’s changing demographic. “In order to respond to the aging population, we need to develop more anti-aging products. That’s quite important for Japan,” said Junji Yamamoto, Senior Managing Director of the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association.
The anti-aging market in Japan has increased steadily, currently estimated at 734 billion Japanese Yen ($6.5 billion USD), up 4% from $708 billion JPY in 2017 ($6.3 billion USD).
“We need more products for people who are older. This is a relatively new market for Japan,” said Atsushi Ebuchi, General Manager & Editor in Chief of Diet & Beauty magazine.
“For 50s” and “for 60s” are new skincare categories, with products coming onto the market one after another. In 2010, Suntory Wellness released F.A.G.E., an anti-aging series that uses yeast formulation targeting women aged 50 and above. In 2015, Shiseido released Prior, while Kanebo launched its TWANY Glow, both to address the skincare needs of women in their 50s and 60s.
Quasi-drug products with anti-wrinkle efficacy claims are also making leaps. In 2017, Pola launched the Wrinkle Shot, a cream that uses a patented technology to inhibit the production of neutrophil elastase, a natural enzyme that causes the degradation of collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. The product took 15 years to develop.
“Neutrophil elastase comes to the surface of the skin when there’s damage, and it decomposes elastin and collagen on the skin. We tried 5,400 materials that inhibit neutrophil elastase and evaluated their effect. We found one material that is very safe,” said Noriko Suenobu, Ph.D., Corporate Officer of Group research and Regulatory Affairs at Pola.
Rise of Natural and Organic Market
Driven by consumer demand for safer products, the natural cosmetics market is also growing in Japan. New product formulations rely on novel and natural ingredients that have proven benefits for the skin.
- White peony root extract to address skin barrier functions decline due to vitamin D deficiency
- Daylily flower extract to treat the decline of extra-cellular matrix components caused by inflammation
- Lotus flower extract to mitigate reactive oxygen species produced by abnormal mitochondria
- Cherry blossom flower extract to maintain levels of collagen type XVVII, which supports the skin’s basement membrane
- Botan-bofu leaf extract, a folk medicinal ingredient, which contains phenolic acids and flavonoids and has anti-pollutant and anti-oxidant properties
- Jerusalem artichoke leaf extract, which has been traditionally used to treat skin wounds and contains phenolic acids and chlorogenic acids
Japan’s unique terrain (75% mountainous + surrounded by waters) is abundant in natural resources, many of which are now being used in cosmetic formulations. On Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island, 70 ingredients have been identified for large-scale production for use in cosmetic ingredients. Okinawa, a small island in southern Japan, has also become popular for its mineral rich terrain. This Okinawa Marine Silt Face Wash, for example, uses natural sea silt from the ocean, which is effectively in reaching deep into pores to give the skin a thorough cleanse.
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