What are Cosmeceuticals?

Cosmeceuticals refers to the marriage or combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.   Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients purporting to have medical or drug-like benefits.

The first thing that you should know about cosmeceuticals is that they are not subject to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).   While the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act(FD&C Act) does not recognize the term “cosmeceutical,” the cosmetic industry uses this word to refer to cosmetic products that have medicinal or drug-like benefits.  The FD&C Act defines drugs as those products that cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease or that affect the structure or function of the human body. While drugs are subject to a review and approval process by FDA, cosmetics are not approved by FDA prior to sale. If a product has drug properties, it must be approved as a drug.   Although cosmetics and cosmeceuticals are tested for safety, testing to determine whether beneficial ingredients actually live up to a manufacturer’s claims is not mandatory.


This being said that doesn’t mean that that there is no benefit to cosmeceuticals.

Cosmeceuticals are usually divided into 4 categories:

  1. Antioxidiants – reduce the effects of free radicals, which are molecules that cause inflammation, increase sun damage and contribute to the development of skin cancer.
  2. Peptides – proteins that stimulate the production of collagen and thicken the skin.
  3. Growth Factors – compounds that act as chemical messengers between cells and play a role in cell division, new cell and blood vessel growth, and in the production and distribution of collagen and elastin.
  4. Combination of products from the other 3 categories

How do I choose a product:

Ask yourself what the product claims to do and have there been a studies to back up these claims?  Not sure?  One word: Google!  Go to sites like the American Academy of Dermatology.  Go with products and brands that you know to be reputable, never heard of the brand before do your research.  Trust yourself.  Are they make outrageous claims? Then the claims are probably not legit.   Still not sure?  Ask your Esthetician or Dermatologist they know you and your skin care needs and can guide you.

A side note:

Another exciting emerging field in beauty and health is nutricosmetics.  The emerging of cosmetics and foods refers to oral supplementation of nutrients, marketed mainly for anti-aging effects.  I will write more on this later.


While I’ve attempted to use credible sources for information, this is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If there is a disparity between the information presented within this blog and the advice given by your medical professional, please follow the medical professional’s advice as he/she will know you and your medical circumstances.

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