Skin Elasticity, Wrinkle Reduction Are Not Health Claims, EFSA Says

EFSA responds to a health claim application from collagen protein firm Gelita.

“Wrinkle reduction” and “higher elasticity” do not qualify as health functions and thus do not merit health claims, says the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA; Parma, Italy). EFSA published this opinion on June 20, in response to an Article 13.5 health claim application from collagen protein ingredients specialist Gelita (Eberbach, Germany) for the firm’s Verisol collagen peptide ingredient.

Gelita’s application proposed a health claim effect of “maintenance of skin health, as indicated by an increased skin elasticity and a reduction of wrinkles volume,” according to EFSA documents. EFSA said it informed Gelita in 2012 “that a change in skin structure contributing to the maintenance (i.e. reduced loss) of skin function might be considered a beneficial physiological effect provided that there is evidence that such changes in skin structure lead to changes in skin function.” EFSA also added, however, that basic maintenance of skin health-such as normal structure, hydration, elasticity, or appearance of the skin, or a decrease in wrinkles-might not be classified as a change in skin function.

According to EFSA, Gelita’s evidence did not demonstrate statistically significant effects of what EFSA considers “skin function.” The company’s evidence included two unpublished, placebo-controlled, randomized human studies, one unpublished animal study, and one unpublished in vitro study.

EFSA did not negate the fact that the studies did show a significant improvement in skin elasticity and wrinkle reduction (with a daily dose of 2.5 g); however, EFSA still stated, after reviewing the evidence, that it does not consider elasticity and wrinkle reduction “skin functions.”

Gelita says that even though companies can’t use an EFSA health claim implying a change in skin function, that the company’s evidence would still be strong enough to support general beauty claims of “increased skin elasticity” and “reduced wrinkles. “We believe that a beauty claim that does not suggest or imply that a relationship between the food and health does exist may be used if supported by strong and relevant scientific studies,” Gelita stated in a press release.