Although it has been almost 30 years since the term was first used, cosmeceutical is a word that is still practically not used and whose meaning is not very clear, because it is often confused with cosmetic.
Mónica Lizondo, pharmacist and Scientific Director and founder of Segle Clinical, a brand specialized in anti-aging cosmeceuticals, solves some doubts.
What exactly is a cosmeceutical?
The word cosmeceutical, which was born in the United States in the 90s, arises from the union between two words: cosmetic and pharmaceutical, and emerged as a topical alternative to treatments antiaging Invasive performed in dermoesthetic medicine. That is, a product created for aesthetic purposes, but with a certain pharmaceutical or medicinal effect, “the concept of cosmeceutical is between a medicine and a cosmetic, since they act on healthy skin to improve it not to cure it,” says Monica Lizondo.
More effective and complex
Cosmeceuticals are, therefore, more complex than simple cosmetics and, therefore, more effective, “usually cosmeceutical is that cosmetic specialized in skin antiaging care that provides an obvious and high benefit, which goes beyond Classic cosmetics Is about more active cosmetics with a higher concentration of ingredients that transform the skin providing a visible difference in the short and long term. ”
These ingredients are usually active as "Vitamin C, antioxidants, retinoids, alpha and beta-hydroxy acids, bleaching substances, growth factors, stem cells, peptides, proteins such as collagen, hyaluronic acid …", ingredients that, although we can also find them in Traditional cosmetics are more effective in cosmeceuticals because "the formulas are more complex because their assets are vehiculized in more evolved pharmaceutical forms that allow them to penetrate the deeper layers of the epidermis and release themselves in a sustained manner over time." Broadly speaking, we could say that while cosmetics are macromolecules that do not penetrate beyond the dermis, cosmeceuticals are microencapsulated in nanoparticles that work the skin from the inside. This makes them penetrate more and be more effective. An efficiency that is also consistent with its price, much more expensive than that of a traditional cosmetic.
When is it advisable to use one or the other?
Both can be used at any age, always taking into account the characteristics of each skin. However, given that "a cosmeceutical is specialized in antiaging skin care, it is from a certain age that we begin to use them." That is, around 30 years, which is when the skin begins to lack from the inside and age. Before, the normal thing is that it does not hurt, but it is not worth spending the disbursement that a cosmo pharmaceutical compares because the skin does not need it. Even so, it is always advisable to consult an expert first.
Where are cosmeceuticals bought?
While cosmetics can be purchased at any mall or store specializing in cosmetics,cosmoceuticals must be prescribed or recommended by a doctor or pharmacist, so they are only sold in pharmacies, “cosmeceuticals require the prescription of a specialized professional who knows the skin of their client-patient and personalizes or controls their treatment. Since, in some cases, the high concentration and specificity of some of the assets can lead to irritations if a proper use protocol is not followed, ”explains the founder of Segle.
And it is those specific and more concentrated components that, although not considered medicines, make them more subject to controls, “cosmeceuticals are manufactured under strict studies of quality, safety and efficacy and with more regulated manufacturing processes than other products cosmetics that we can find in supermarkets, ”says Lizondo.
However, despite being products with different compositions, cosmeceuticals do not have a specific regulation other than cosmetics. This is something demanded by professionals in the sector, as this lack of regulation can lead to some products calling themselves cosmeceuticals without being so and the consumer is deceived.