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What are Cosmeceuticals? And how are they different to regular creams?

October 20, 2017

The key behind the effectiveness of cosmeceuticals lies in the biologically active ingredients that are included in these products. These ingredients have therapeutic benefits beyond that of traditional moisturisers.

‘Cosmeceutical’ is the general prescriptive term given to skincare products that have higher levels of biologically active ingredients, capable of producing real change to some of the important features of the epidermal skin cells.

All skincare products (including cosmeceuticals) are mainly only able to improve the surface 0.2mm of the epidermal layer of skin – down to the basal layer. Active ingredients in the cosmeceutical are what produce change.

Good cosmeceuticals are capable of improving the plumpness and hydration of the cells within that layer, including the clarity, colour, lustre, sheen and the smoothness or texture of the skin. These active ingredients have some mechanisms that are able to improve the production and longevity of the active growth and lifecycle of the epidermal cells, when they are produced in the basal layer. They can improve and regulate the amount and evenness of the pigment or melanin production, and they can improve the DNA and RNA synthesis and general metabolism of individual cells. They can also improve the absorption of water to plum or hydrate the cells.

Exfoliating properties are able to gently dissolve and reduce the thickness of the dead cell layer (or horny keratin) on the surface of the skin. This prevents thickening and build-up of this hard dead cell layer which can inhibit the appearance, lustre or sheen of skin.

Skin Diagram

How do cosmeceuticals differ from regular creams/lotions?

The difference is a matter of ingredient quality, production and percentage of active ingredients that have more of a therapeutic effect on epidermal skin cell production, health, maintenance and exfoliation.

Most regular over the counter products are sold through heavy marketing and have very little active ingredients. They principally have the largest percentage of ingredients that are made up of filler, that give the cream a smooth feel and is achieved through noticeably cheaper ingredients – including silicon’s, parabens and various chemicals that have these nice slip qualities.  These products do not have enough active ingredients that have a therapeutic cellular effect of the actual stem cells themselves. Furthermore, to keep these products fresh and keep the colour of the product stable, they often have synthetic preservatives and other properties that not only have a therapeutic effect, but have a block effect on the surface of the skin.

Cosmeceuticals are greater in quality and percentage of active ingredients and are considered more beneficial to skin as they have a higher percentage and a greater concentration of quality of ingredients.

What are the most active ingredients found in cosmeceuticals, and why are they important?
Good quality cosmeceuticals should have a specific purpose to produce a cellular change in the skin. These products should be designed ideally without artificial, synthetic fillers or preservatives and they should be in preferably a serum or light cream that is capable of being absorbed easily through layers of skin without building up and causing blockage. The base should also be of superior quality and work towards a therapeutic effect.

The main ingredients in cosmeceuticals should include optimum levels and specifically non-irritating forms of the below:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
  • Peptides
  • Minerals


Be in your best skin possible!

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