By and  on July 6, 2007

Supplements are increasingly spilling from pharmacies and health stores to beauty counters as marketers look for more ways to offer the promise of beauty.

These pills, drops and drinks are pushing the boundaries of beauty outward, with several leading dermatologists decreeing it's not enough to slather lotions onto skin.

"You can only do so much by applying a cream," said New York dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, suggesting a three-tiered approach of topicals, a healthy diet and supplements.

Current sales indicate that Europeans have cozied up to the idea of ingestible beauty more quickly than their American counterparts, but that's about to change as U.S. sales are projected to grow at a faster clip in the coming years. In 2005, sales of oral beauty supplements were $767.6 million in Europe, compared with $741.9 million in the U.S., and are projected to reach $1.16 billion in 2010, according to London tracking firm Datamonitor. U.S. sales are expected to accelerate to $1.17 billion in 2010.

"We're predicting continued strong growth related to the fact that people are looking for new ways to look after themselves, especially their appearance," said Dominik Nosalik, lead analyst at Datamonitor.

In the U.S., beauty supplements, most of which are designed to improve the appearance of skin and hair, are not regulated by the Federal Drug Administration, because they do not claim to change the structure or function of the body, as drugs do, said an FDA spokeswoman. The current leaders of the U.S. beauty supplement market include N.V. Perricone M.D., Dr. Brandt, Murad, Kinerase and Borba.

Perhaps one of the most significant indicators of European interest in the category is Sephora's plan to unveil an in-store beauty concept highlighting the notion of beauty from within. The so-called "healthy and beauty" bars, which will focus on nutritional supplements and drinks, will bow in 27 of its French stores starting in September. If the concept proves successful, it could be rolled out further next year.

In a similar move, the Farmacia Urban Healing retail group in the U.K. decided to introduce Urban Healing Pods in department stores, starting in August. The "pods," or shops-in-shops, will feature "Diagnostic Vitamin Scanning Systems," plus sell supplements and treatment products. The group is also revamping its presence in Harrods and Selfridges department stores and will introduce a branded line of supplements this summer. Recent arrivals to the European supplements scene include Nude, a natural skin care brand including a range of ingestibles, introduced in the U.K. earlier this year.Food and drinks brands are also tapping into the trend. Danone, for instance, introduced Essensis, a vitamin-rich yogurt, which has the tag line, "nourish your skin from the inside," in France this March, and Sip, a line of nutrient-enriched beauty waters, launched in the U.K. in April.

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