Understanding Cosmeceuticals: The Hottest Breakthrough in the Skin Care Industry

These days, cosmeceuticals are the talk of the town. You will find many articles in magazines and the internet about them.

Cosmeceuticals are regarded as the newest breakthrough in skin care and many say that these products have shown clinically improvements for numerous skin conditions such as skin aging and prolonged exposure to the sun and UV radiation.

The smart consumers would of course want to know what cosmeceuticals are all about and if the big buzz about these products is all but a marketing hype. They want to know how these products work and what sets them apart from other skin care products in the market. Many are also curious as to how they would know which type of cosmeceutical product would fit their skin care needs best.

Getting to Know Cosmeceuticals Better

So what are cosmeceuticals all about? A cosmeceutical product is a formulation combining the beauty benefits of cosmetics with the proven restorative effects of certain ingredients. The formulation is handled by pharmaceutical scientists. There are five basic categories that make up cosmeceuticals. These are antioxidants, retinoids, lightening agents, hydroxy acids and botanicals. The key to understanding which fits your skin care needs best is having an understanding of these categories.


As the skin ages, it sustains a lot of damage from oxidation and from being exposed to numerous environmental factors. To get a better understanding of the effects of oxidation on the skin picture a metal that has oxidized which just means it gets rusty. Although the skin does not rusts when subjected to oxidation rather, the skin gets dry and shows wrinkles. This is where antioxidants step in.

Cosmeceutical products contain powerful antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Niacinamide. Aside from being one of the most potent antioxidants, Vitamin C also plays a major role in collagen synthesis and also acts as a lightening agent. Vitamin E is as well among the powerful antioxidants and holds the ability to protect the skin against UV damage. Combined with sunscreen, Vitamin E immensely reduces signs of aging caused by sun exposure. Niacinamide is a B vitamin that is used in treating rosacea and sallow, yellowing skin. Niacinamide is proven to be safe for use and very gentle to almost all skin types.


So what are retinoids? If you check the ingredients of cosmeceuticals, you would always see retinoids in the list. Retinoic acid (derived from Vitamin A and called retinoids when it is a group) is actually the standard used to measure the effectiveness of all cosmeceuticals. Aside from containing retinoic acid, cosmeceutical products also have reinaldehyde and esters.

Retinoic acid is effective against severe acne and also has immense anti-aging properties. It can minimize lines and wrinkles and also lighten sun spots as well as age spots. Retinoids trigger thinning of the epidermis (the visible layer of the skin) as well as boost regeneration of the epidermis. Retinoids do have some side effects such as redness and skin irritation.

We will discuss in one of our future posts the remaining three categories that make up cosmeceuticals.

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