Cosmeceutical, Defined

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When it comes to skin care, you’ve no doubt come across the word, cosmeceutical. The term is being used more frequently and is a hybrid of two words – cosmetic and pharmaceutical (drug). A cosmetic is a product that enhances your beauty and appearance while a drug is something that is used to prevent or treat a disease.

The word cosmeceutical was coined by Raymond Reed, founder of the U.S. Society of cosmetic chemists, in 1961 and was popularized in the 1970s to refer to cosmetic products that contain active ingredients claiming to enhance the appearance of your skin.

What Are Dermaceuticals?

What about dermaceutical then, as it pertains to our brand – Apothekari Dermaceuticals? Like cosmeceutical, it is a hybrid of two words – derma, derived from dermis (the dense inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis) and cosmetic. Like cosmeceutical, these two terms are often associated with skin care brands that are science based and for the most part, may be used interchangeably. In general, cosmeceuticals are non-prescription products, which are sold over the counter.

Cosmeceuticals contain ingredients including retinoids, antioxidants, alpha hydroxy acids and peptides. These active ingredients are not drugs but have known physiologic effects and will improve the appearance of aging skin over time.

Cosmeceuticals Can Deliver Results

The words cosmeceutical or dermaceutical are not recognized legally (i.e., they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada or the European Union) so cosmetics companies must be careful in their marketing and stating of benefits because their products don’t undergo the same amount of vigorous testing that is required for drugs.

While the ingredients that make up a skin care treatment may have many beneficial properties, manufacturers cannot market products with claims for purposes such as treating or preventing disease, or affecting the structure or function of the body—including the skin. These types of claims make the product a drug and then must meet the requirements for a drug. Under the law, information on cosmetic labeling, including claims, must be truthful and not misleading.

What Are Cosmeceuticals Used For?

If you’re shopping for a cosmeceutical, be wary of marketing hype. Ask questions and investigate the listed ingredients. Reputable companies include effective ingredients at appropriate concentrations and they don’t overstate their advantages. Cosmeceuticals are NOT magic treatments, but they can deliver a range of skin benefits including:

  1. Deliver Softer and Smoother Skin.
  2. Moisturize. Often by reducing transepidermal water loss (TWEL) thereby creating an environment for skin barrier repair.
  3. Provide an Added Skin Benefit.  Novel ingredients or technology may be used:
    1. Retinoids to boost collagen and elastin production.
    2. Antioxidants to fight free radical damage.
    3. Alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate.

Since we are all different, a product that works for you, may not work for your best friend, and vice versa. The key is to finding a cosmeceutical that works for your skin type and your needs. At Apothekari, our line of scientific skin care products offers a range of cosmeceuticals designed to improve the health and appearance of your skin.

What are you waiting for?