The word itself has been around since the 80’s, and you’re probably already using at least one every day – so what exactly are these so-called “cosmeceuticals”? Do cosmeceuticals work? What are some popular cosmeceutical ingredients? Let’s dive in and take a look!
Read on for…
- Categories and Uses
- Popular Ingredients
- Side Effects
- Bottom Line (Q&A)
Cosmeceutical is a hybrid word – a marriage (or mid-way point) between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are topical and sold as cosmetics, with benefits that suggest something a little more medicinal. The most well known ingredients are commonly found in nature — but more on that later.
Humans have been using herbs and other botanicals as medicine since ancient times. Many of the most popular plants used in premodern times can still be found in cleansers and lotions of today! But despite this, dermatologists and other professionals are still challenged with understanding the science behind it all. There’s even still a global discrepancy on how cosmeceuticals should be formally labeled; in the United States, they are considered and treated as a subclass of pharmaceuticals, or drugs. In Europe, however, cosmeceuticals are seen as a subclass of cosmetics.
But regardless of how they are categorized across the globe, one thing is for sure: cosmeceuticals are only increasing in popularity! Let’s look at how you may be using such products without even realizing it….
Categories and Uses
The benefits of cosmeceuticals span many different categories! Cosmeceuticals utilize special properties found in different ingredients to either aid or target specific areas. These categories include, but are not limited, to:
- Scar reduction
- Moisturizing agents
- Skin lightening/brightening
- Anti-wrinkle care
For some fast examples, berries provide tons of antioxidants, peppermint leaf extract helps prevent acne, and rosemary can help protect skin cells from sun damage. All three of these ingredients are also found in the built-in skincare portion of every Lava Art Compact Cushion foundation!
So…exactly what are cosmeceutical products? How can you tell which product is a cosmeceutical? There are actually tons of different ways for products to hint that they contain cosmeceuticals. Your favorite items may include some now! Look for these common phrases and indicators:
- Rhytide (wrinkle) reduction
- Anything related to pigmentation (freckles, scars, melasma)
- So many more!
Ingredients used for the above purposes include tea tree oil, which offers anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender extract, which may reduce the appearance of scars. But be careful — many products will try to trick you with packaging, or may print the word LAVENDER nice and big to distract you, when the only trace of lavender in the product is just in the fragrance! Always remember to read labels to make sure there are real cosmeceutical ingredients in a product.
Popular Cosmeceutical Ingredients
We’ve already named quite a few, but go check what you and your friends are using to see if they contain some of these other popular ingredients!
- Chamomile (German)
- Teas (black, white, and green)
- Jojoba oil
- Rose oil
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, so your favorite skin care and makeup products may very well contain other botanical and cosmeceutical ingredients that have not been named above. Many ingredients are also listed by their scientific or Latin names, so if you see Simmondsia Chinensis anywhere on your label, don’t worry — that’s just some jojoba oil!
The benefit of cosmeceuticals in skincare and makeup is really dependent on your own skin type, and which specific ingredients are best for you! Maybe you don’t need acne-fighting peppermint extract…but some aloe gel would deliver a world of happy hydration to your dry or dehydrated skin. Not sure what your true skin type is? Check our handy skin type guide here!
Oh no, side effects?! Well, maybe! Skin sensitivity comes in all different shapes and sizes…literally. There may be some products or ingredients that cause some irritation or burning sensations. Most side effects are very manageable, and may just mean that you’ve discovered a new allergy for yourself. Yay! Stop use immediately, and the symptoms should fade. But if side effects worsen or persist, please call your doctor or dermatologist for some professional advice. For example, tea tree oil can be very harsh for some, but others celebrate it for helping fade acne scars! It’s all based on the individual.
Q: What is a cosmeceutical product?
A: Cosmeceuticals live somewhere between cosmetics and topical medicine. Many contain botanical ingredients, like herbs and essential oils or extracts, that help target and treat different skin conditions.
Q: What are some types of cosmeceuticals?
A: Theoretically, any cosmetic product can be a cosmeceutical, should it contain the right ingredients. Think of a Vitamin C serum, or chamomile hand cream. Basic cosmetic products, but with active ingredients that deliver special benefits!
Q: Should I use cosmeceuticals? Are cosmeceuticals better?
A: Some extreme acne and other skin troubles may need a special prescription, but for others, there is virtually no risk to using cosmeceuticals if you have no known allergies! Cosmetics in general can be very pass-or-fail…some of us have picky skin! But when we find an ingredient that seems to work magic…well, there’s no better feeling than seeing your skin start to heal!
From cleansers to lipstick and everything in between, people love the benefits they are seeing with different cosmeceuticals, and you’ve probably used many before without even realizing it! As always, there is risk of your skin becoming irritated, but overall, the natural ingredients found in cosmeceuticals are happily helping moisturize, fade scars, and reduce blemishes on countless faces all over the world!
Have you been using any cosmeceutical products or ingredients yourself? Let us know in the comments below!
All the best,
– Rose from Lava Art