Cosmeceuticals is a hot trend these days especially in the western world. In the United States alone, the demand for cosmeceutical products is expected to rise. It has been reported that an increase in demand for cosmeceutical products in the U.S of about 5.8% yearly is projected. Such increase would yield to $8.5 billion in the year 2015. This just goes to show that many are still seeking the fountain of youth. Have we found the fountain of youth in cosmeceuticals?
Let us learn more about cosmeceuticals first.
Cosmeceutical was a term coined by Albert Kligman. Although it is just in recent years that there is much attention given to cosmeceuticals, Kligman actually came up with this term back in 1984 to refer to substances that are able to give both cosmetic and therapeutic benefits. Cosmeceutical products contain biologically active ingredients working on improving the appearance of the skin. They also have vehicles that ensure these active ingredients needed for healthy skin is delivered.
Common Ingredients of Cosmeceutical Products
Here is a list of some of the most common ingredients found in cosmeceutical products.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs
AHAs are also commonly referred to as fruit acids. Examples of AHAs are citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid. AHAs have the ability to improve the texture of the skin as well as minimize the signs of skin aging. AHAs fight skin aging by promoting shedding of skin cells in the outer layers of the epidermis as well as bringing back hydration to the skin. AHAs are credited to promote younger looking skin. It is believed that AHAs can reduce the calcium ion concentration in the epidermis which in turn promotes cell growth and slows down cell differentiation and as a result, younger looking skin comes to surface.
By now, you probably are already aware that antioxidants have the ability to reduce skin damage at a cellular level caused by free radicals. Antioxidants also prevent inflammation which can cause a significant decrease on one’s collagen levels. Collagen is a protein fiber that gives the skin its elasticity, firmness and suppleness. Collagen is also crucial in the continuous renewal of skin cells. Antioxidants also protect the skin from photodamage and probably one of the most important benefits we get from antioxidants is protection from skin cancer. The most popularly used antioxidants in cosmeceutical products are Alpha-lipoic-acid or ALA, Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, N-acetyl-glucosamine or NAG and ubiquinone or CoQ10.
- Botanicals or Plant Extracts
Cosmeceutical products also usually contain botanicals or plant extracts. Three of the most common and believed to be the most beneficial botanicals added to cosmeceuticals are green tea extract, grape seed extract and ferulic acid. Studies have shown that polyphenols in green tea can suppress the cancerous activity of UV rays and protect the skin from sunburn, photoaging as well as immunosuppression while ferulic acid is known as a potent antioxidant providing the skin immense protection against UV damage. Grapeseed extract is also an antioxidant and can speed up wound healing.
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