The skin care industry is one of the most thriving industries in the world. Both men and women are looking for ways to look younger and fight back the natural signs of aging. Cosmeceuticals are one of the hottest topics in skin care based upon the claims companies associate with products that contain them.
The actual term itself provides insight as to what this product actually offers…both cosmetic and pharmaceutical benefits. Cosmeceuticals generally contain active ingredients in high levels to treat very specific skin conditions, such as premature wrinkling and age spots. The higher concentration of these active ingredients allow the products to penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers, which can lead to noticeably more dramatic results than “typical” makeup products.
Consumers are often confused by the categorization of these products. For instance, some will simply assume that all anti-aging products are cosmeceuticals and expect dramatic results right away. But, there are probably thousands of products on the market in the anti-aging category that do not fall into the cosmeceutical niche, therefore, the results will take longer to achieve and may not be as significant as one would see with cosmeceuticals.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lie prescription skin care products. These products contain an even higher concentration of active ingredients and are not available as “over the counter” products. These must be prescribed by a medical professional. The doctor will also provide an outlined plan for applying these products and monitor the patient on a regular basis. An example of a prescription skin care product would be a high concentration acne treatment.
The actual benefit of each product is determined by its active ingredients and focus. For instance, some cosmeceuticals are meant to accelerate hydration of the skin while others treat premature wrinkles. As a consumer, you need to become a label reader and educate yourself on these ingredients to find out the products that will benefit you the most. Some common benefits of cosmeceuticals are:
• Treating wrinkles and “spider” lines
• Reduction of pore size
• Preventing and/or treating UV damage
• Improving skin color and tone
Common Ingredients for Cosmeceuticals
• Alpha Hydroxy Acids – improve skin hydration and exfoliation
• Antioxidants – aids in the prevention of skin inflammation and protection against UV rays
• Botanicals – UV protection
• Peptides – aid in collagen production, reducing signs of aging, such as wrinkling
• Retinoids – aids in preventing collagen breakdown and reduction in “age spots”