Seal of approval: all about Japan’s Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) certification.

Look out for this logo to identify foods with the highest level of government approval. 


Japan is a country that is no stranger to supplements and health foods – step into any pharmacy and you’ll find shelves stocked from end to end with a mind-boggling selection of products. To help consumers to navigate their options, Japan has regulatory systems in place which categorise products, distinguishing those with functional benefits from general ones.

Introduced in 1991, Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU), also known as Tokuho in Japanese, is the sole system used by the Japanese government to recognise foods containing ingredients with specific functions for health, which are officially approved to claim their physiological effects on the human body. In order for a product to be certified as FOSHU, strict assessment is required in order to attain approval from the Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan, a governmental agency. Compared to medical grade products, FOSHU products are taken for maintenance and improvement of health.

The screening and evaluation process for FOSHU requires products to demonstrate their effectiveness and safety through rigorous clinical trials, and only approved products are allowed to display the FOSHU seal and state their functions. The screening is not conducted on general food and supplement products, which are not authorised to display their effects or functions.

In January 2019 in Japan, ORBIS launched DEFENCERA, the first FOSHU product available in the market to have a skincare benefit. Before this, there have only been health-related FOSHU products, such as for lowering cholesterol levels. It took a gruelling 10 years in total for DEFENCERA to be launched. Research and development focusing on its key ingredient, ceramides, took six years, while evaluating the effectiveness and safety to get the FOSHU certification took four years. 400 participants took part in FOSHU tests for DEFENCERA over a continuous 3-month period and it was proven effective in reducing moisture loss from the skin.

DEFENCERA’s key ingredient, DF-Ceramide, is a highly purified glucosylceramide extracted from brown rice. It is so rare that only one to two grams can be derived from one tonne of brown rice. Taken orally, it is broken down and delivered to the skin, where it fills up the gaps between skin cells and strengthens the outermost layer of the skin, thereby keeping moisture locked within the skin. As a FOSHU product, DEFENCERA is proven to be effective in preventing moisture from escaping the skin, making it beneficial especially for users with dry skin concerns. Its mode of consumption also allows its effect to work on not only the face, but also other areas prone to dryness such as the back, elbows, and heels.

In a refreshingly tasty yuzu-flavoured powder, DEFENCERA can be taken on its own without water. Perfect for those who are always on the move, it can be consumed anytime and anywhere. DEFENCERA is not only Japan’s first skincare FOSHU product – it redefines how we approach skincare. Neither an external moisturiser not a supplement, it offers a more convenient and sophisticated way of caring for our skin, and a more effective method to fight dryness via ingestion.

Sold out in Japan in the first month of its launch, DEFENCERA has already won major accolades from key beauty media in Japan. Get yours today here.