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Cosmeceuticals Revealed
Noted as one of the most rapidly expanding categories in the personal care industry, cosmeceuticals are a combination of both cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The term — sometimes misunderstood — refers to a cosmetic product possessing active ingredients that manipulate the biological performance of your skin.

In other words, cosmeceuticals serve a greater purpose than enhancing or improving your skin’s exterior, but don’t quite qualify as a medical treatment for a disease. A cosmetic, as defined by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), is an article applied to the human body and meant to beautify or alter appearance. On the other hand, the FD&C Act defines a drug as an article aimed at “affecting the structure of any function of the body.” So how can some products fulfill the definitions of both a cosmetic and a drug? An excellent example is a common cosmetic product—anti-dandruff shampoo. While ordinary shampoo is regarded purely as a cosmetic item intended to cleanse hair, anti-dandruff shampoo is a drug and cosmetic because it is intended to treat dandruff.

Cosmeceuticals are applied topically and targeted at improving your skin’s appearance with medicinal or drug-like effects. For example, anti-wrinkle creams such as Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Confidence Injection Crease Concentrate or Azure Cosmeceuticals HydroPeptide Intensive Concentrate Anti-Aging Corrective Crème, anti-cellulite ointments such as Bliss High Thighs Cellulite Fighting Serum, and baldness treatments like DS Laboratories Spectral DNC are all considered cosmeceuticals. These products, particularly anti-aging skincare creams, may contain ingredients ranging from hydroxy acids, antioxidants, hydroquinone, and hormones such as estradiol or human growth hormone (HGH). According to Skin & Aging, Americans purchased $6.4 billion worth of cosmeceutical skincare products by 2004. Although the industry is thriving, the term is still somewhat misleading to consumers, many of whom may not realize that the FD&C Act does not acknowledge the term “cosmeceutical.” Additionally, while drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cosmeceuticals are not subject to review by the FDA as long as companies don’t market them as drugs. This lack of recognition by government regulators means that cosmeceuticals avoid the testing for efficacy that is necessary for a real drug.

However, many cosmeceutical products are known to possess beneficial and effective drug-like ingredients. According to Cosmetics Design, a new study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology analyzes the effectiveness of several anti-aging cosmeceutical ingredients. Research demonstrated that “skin surface irregularity can be improved through the topical application of niacin, while the appearance of fine lines can be diminished through the application of moisturizers containing engineered peptides and over-the-counter retinoids.” The drug-like properties of many high-performance cosmeceuticals can promote physiological change in your skin, providing benefits similar to plastic surgery.

When purchasing cosmeceuticals, it’s important to read the label, determine the ingredients, and find evidence-based substantiation in order to make an informed decision. By researching a cosmeceutical product before buying it, you’ll ensure its safety and effectiveness, then happily reap the benefits of its valuable qualities.



Sources

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What are cosmeceuticals? (2004).
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Website: http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/guide/what-are-cosmeceuticals

What are cosmeceuticals? (2006).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from Realself.com
Website: http://www.realself.com/blog/what_are_cosmeceuticals.html

What are cosmeceuticals? (2000).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from Cfsan.fda.gov
Website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-cos5.html

Legal Ease: Is it a Drug, or a Cosmeceutical? (2007).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from SkinandAging.com
Website: http://www.skinandaging.com/article/8071

Artfully Made-Up. (2005).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from LegalAffairs.org
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Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (or Is It Soap?) (2002).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from Cfsan.fda.gov
Website: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-218.html

Effective cosmeceutical ingredients identified in study. (2008).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from CosmeticsDesign.com
Website: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/news/ng.asp?
id=82325-cosmeceuticals-ingredients-study

Genie In The Bottle: Making Sense of Cosmeceuticals. (2007).
Retrieved January 29, 2008, from MedicalNewsToday.com
Website: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/62268.php


 
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