Cosmeceuticals – A Beginner’s Guide

Cosmeceuticals are considered both drugs and cosmetics; both of which have two different uses. Cosmeceuticals typically contain higher levels of active ingredients including phytochemicals, antioxidants, essential oils and enzymes. They are non-prescription products that are made to improve a person’s appearance. The makers of cosmetics are using the term ‘cosmeceutical’ but there is no meaning of this word under the law. A product may be a cosmetic, a drug or even both, but the FDA does not recognize the combination of the two – yet. The cosmetic industry describes cosmeceutical products as those that are borderline between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
It is estimated that the global demand for cosmeceuticals will continue to increase 7.4% each year through 2012. This increase will be driven by today’s aging population seeking more youthful appearances. These products are available over-the-counter and provide additional health benefits to the traditional cosmetics qualities.
Cosmeceutical products are separated into three categories based on their active ingredients:
Antioxidants reduce harmful effects that are related to free radicals (molecules that harm cells in the skin and cause swelling, increase sun damage and aid in the formation of skin cancer)

Peptides are proteins that encourage the growth of collagen and also thicken the skin.

Growth factors act as chemical messengers for cells and help in cell division, new blood vessel and cell growth and growth and production of elastin and collagen.
Cosmeceuticals are very popular in North America, and are growing in popularity worldwide. Retnoids, hydroxy acids, moisturizers, antioxidants and anti-cellulite creams are some of the most popular types of these products on the market. The popular ingredients found in them include pomegranate, grape seed, various teas, and Vitamin e.
The market of cosmeceuticals includes hair care, skin care, as well as sun care products. They are highly diversified products from major manufacturers and smaller companies throughout the world. Products can be purchased within the mass market, direct retailers and prestige retailers and online. There are nearly 400 cosmeceutical manufactures; this includes the companies that supply the chemicals and manufacturer products. Popular companies selling cosmeceuctical products include, , Neocutis and Nouveau.

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