What are Cosmeceuticals?
Beauty in Seattle on 13 Jun 2006 at 12:37pm
What are cosmeceuticals exactly? I’ve been wondering myself so I decided now is the time to find out exactly what the term cosmeceutical means. Cosmeceutical is a fancy word for a cosmetic product with implied pharmaceutical benefits and in fact the word “cosmeceutical” is a combination of the words cosmetic and pharmaceutical. Despite being called cosmetic drugs on occasion, this does not mean that cosmeceuticals are drugs with pharmacological properties.
Anti aging ingredients associated with skin care and other beauty products such as retinal a derivative of vitamin A, hydroxy acids, antioxidants like vitamin C, depigmenting agents such as hydroquinine and kojiic acid, botanicals such as green tea or aloe vera, and hormones including weak estrogenic compounds such as estradiol or human growth hormone (HGH) fall under the umbrella term of cosmeceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are applied topically and in many cases do improve the appearance of the skin but in a non-direct way.
It’s all in the wording however. There is a fine line between a drug, which is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a cosmetic, which isn’t regulated. One way to look at it is if a company makes a statement that hydroxy acids reduce the appearance of fine lines, it falls under the cosmetic category. If the same company claims that hydroxy acids change the structure of the skin to make it more elastic, then it’s classified as a drug.
Nonetheless, many cosmeceuticals are anti-aging substances that promote physiological changes in the skin to reverse aging, but cosmetic companies aren’t going to tell us that just yet.