Cosmeceuticals is a relatively new term. It’s an engaging name that sounds both cosmetic and medical at the same time… and that’s exactly what these products are supposed to be.
Clearly, cosmeceuticals is the combination of the words “cosmetics” and “pharmaceuticals,” and in the universe of pharmaceuticals, we’re actually referring to “drugs,” so let’s first understand what these terms mean to best understand cosmeceuticals.
Cosmetics are defined as topicals used to make the appearance of your skin look better… the key word being “appearance.” So, they help the appearance but don’t actually change the function or structure of your skin… THAT’s what drugs do… Drugs are defined as products that affect the structure or function of the human body with the intention to cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease.
The FDA is the government organization that created these definitions and that is also in charge of oversight. By reviewing the ingredients in the products and the claims made by the manufacturer as to what the product can do, the FDA determines whether a skincare product is a cosmetic or a drug. And if it’s a drug, it needs to go through rigorous and costly testing to both ensure it’s effectiveness and safety.
So enter Cosmeceuticals…
Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with newer active ingredients that really can help your skin and that claim to have medical or drug-like benefits… But… the companies that manufacture them ensure that they don’t cross the line into making a drug claim or being a drug. This means they’re as close as you can get to a drug without being one, and thereby, can affect desireable change without the strict oversight of the FDA.
Now, when I talk about “new Cosmeceutical ingredients” on DermTV, I’m referring to these newer active ingredients like vitamins A,C and E; Antioxidants like poly phenols, green tea and Vitamin C derivatives; Minerals like copper and gold; Peptides, tensors, pigment bleaches, essential oils, and so many more.
And it’s these active ingredients which make these products cosmeceuticals. It makes them much more effective than cosmetics but the manufacturers are also careful enough to promote them in such a way that the product doesn’t become considered a drug. For that reason they don’t have the same FDA oversight as drugs do, especially when it comes to marketing claims.
So when it comes to cosmeceuticals, make sure you’re purchasing them from brands you know and trust, because when they work, they can really make a difference in your skin.