Cosmeceutical Skin Care: What Are Cosmeceuticals and How Do I Use Them?
Have you ever heard of cosmeceuticals? If you haven’t, you’re not alone, after all, they do have a pretty unusual name as far as skin care products go.
But the chances are, you’ve probably used them in your daily skin care regime at some point, as there are plenty of cosmeceutical skincare brands about. If you’re keen on all the latest skin care trends or you've ever found yourself drawn to scientific sounding ingredients, you've almost definitely seen or used cosmeceutical brands. You may even have a bathroom cabinet or dressing table full of them, without you realising.
Cosmeceuticals in skin care are commonplace now. Whether you're visiting a cosmetic dermatologist to talk about skin health products that need a prescription or you're browsing a pharmacy or department store looking for anti-ageing skin treatments to target fine lines, you'll find them.
So, in this article, we’re going to discover what these strange sounding skin care products are, what they do and how we might use them to improve the appearance of our skin. Here's our lowdown on great skincare using ingredients that actually deliver.
What Are Cosmeceuticals?
The word ‘cosmeceutical’ is a relatively new word, made up of two words. Like all the best pairings the world has seen; avocado on toast, gin and tonic, Jennifer and Brad, etc etc, cosmeceuticals are a blend of the best bits of cosmetics and pharmaceutical topical drugs meant to benefit the skin.
(Topical drugs being creams and serums etc that you apply directly to the skin that have been formulated with medical-grade ingredients.)
What Are Cosmeceutical Skincare Products?
Cosmeceuticals contain active ingredients that target specific skin problems. Depending on your needs, you may look for biologically active ingredients that help to improve skin elasticity. Or to increase skin cell turnover, improve hyperpigmentation or remove skin dulling dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
If you have sensitive skin or the kind of skin that breaks out in blackheads and spots on a whim, you need skin care ingredients that respect this, and again, there's a cosmeceutical for that.
So, what skincare contains effective cosmeceutical ingredients? Think of a foundation or a tinted moisturiser with added ultra hydrating hyaluronic acid clinically proven to combat dry skin. Or a serum containing exfoliating salicylic acid to improve the appearance of the skin.
Or a lipstick with added antioxidants to help support healthy, smooth lips. How about an overnight product with anti-ageing ingredients such as retinol that will help to reduce wrinkles and also help to manage an uneven skin tone? Or vitamin C products and eye creams that combat ageing free radical damage?
When Were Cosmeceutical Skin Care Products First Developed?
Despite it being a relatively new buzzword, this new category of skin supporting makeup and skin care was actually first developed way back in the 1980s. 1984 to be exact, when the first Apple Mac (or Macintosh, as it was known back then) was unleashed on the world and Band Aid released Do They Know it’s Christmas.
Cosmeceuticals were first developed by Dr Albert Kligman of the University of Pennsylvania. They’re universally accepted to “exert a pharmaceutical therapeutic benefit but not necessarily a biological therapeutic benefit”.
This means that cosmeceuticals are sold as topical preparations. That is, products that are designed to be applied directly to the skin, as in, makeup or a moisturiser, that has a benefit more than just that of a regular cosmetic or skincare product, but more of a pharmaceutical, or medical benefit.
Active Ingredients: What's an Example of a Cosmeceutical Product?
So, what's the difference between something you might be prescribed by a medical skin expert and over-the-counter products you might add to your skincare routine that haven't been prescribed by a doctor?
Non-prescription ingredients that are clinically proven to work, as in cosmeceuticals, tend to be weaker than prescription strength medical products with a higher potency. And, unless you have a severe skin condition, this is a good thing. As beauty industry products that are backed by science will work, without side effects and changes to the skin such as drying and peeling.
Beta hydroxy acids, or BHAs, such as salicylic acid that help to exfoliate the skin, collagen boosting vitamin C and ageing skin supporting retinoids are all examples of ingredients you're likely to find in cosmeceuticals.
Will I Find Cosmeceuticals in High Street Skincare Brands and Cosmetics?
So, we can see, using cosmeceutical products can be really beneficial for the skin. Here at Sönd, we understand what it is to have non conformist skin that gets stressed out and spotty, oily, dry or any other type of contrariness at the merest hint of something irritating to the skin.
No one more than us knows the appeal of skin care products that promise to soothe and nourish our skin as well as impart the benefits of makeup. Be that covering up our stressed out skin, enhancing our features or giving us that ‘just made up’ feeling that makeup gives us.
But finding cosmeceuticals can be tricky, not least because the word ‘cosmeceutical’ isn’t generally used on product labelling. This is due to labelling laws here in the UK and globally, and presumably because something so medical sounding might put potential skin care product loving customers off.
This doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to find, however. It's worth putting on our label reading hat (or glasses) on and working it out for ourselves, whatever our skin needs, whatever our skin goals.
For healthy skin, we need to look for ingredients such as salicylic acid, vitamin C and retinoids on packaging and labels.
How Good Are They?
Skin care brands need to be careful what they promise. If a product promises to “banish wrinkles”, that’s a pretty bold statement. To make this claim, the product must have gone through rigorous, and extremely expensive, clinical trials to prove this claim.
So most products are going to make claims such as “approves the appearance of wrinkles and the other telltale signs of skin ageing” instead. Which in our book, is absolutely fine. Because products that contain certain ingredients, such as retinol, salicylic acid or vitamin C, contain ingredients that generally have been through scientific testing to prove their efficacy and skin benefits.
When you’re out shopping for cosmeceuticals, look for products that contain ingredients such as BHAs, retinols, hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. These are all cosmeceuticals, because they contain ingredients known to have skin supporting properties and pharmaceutical type benefits.
How Can I Boost the Work of Cosmeceuticals?
The best way to support and nourish your skin, whether you have ‘normal’ skin or skin that’s prone to acne, dryness, oiliness or conditions such as psoriasis, is to get down to basics.
Our range of skin care products includes a creamy cleanser, a day and night time moisturiser, a serum and our detoxifying clay face mask.
They’ve all been developed to support all skin types and are based around alkalising silica salts and are filled with antioxidant rich plant botanicals.
Use our range to support your skin and then use your cosmeceutical products on the top. After all, what’s makeup without a fantastic base to put it on? Good skin is yours to have!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.