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Cosmeceuticals Are Not Just Skin Deep

  • Though not officially recognized by any dictionary or government organization yet, the term cosmeceutical, or cosmeceuticals, includes any cosmetic product that claims to have therapeutic benefits and usually is derived from natural ingredients or materials
  • Pycnogenol is a common ingredient found in many cosmeceuticals that can improve blood circulation, promote the production of collagen fibers, and inhibit the negative effects such as caused by ultraviolet rays
  • Opextan and borage oil are two other ingredients found in many cosmeceutical products that helps with anti aging skin care treatment because they enhance the smoothness of the skin by acting as skin tightening agents

Cosmeceuticals are a very acceptable treatment for skin care these days and its consumer base is diverse. Once known as a woman’s market, it now draws in increasing numbers of men and many people from different age groups, especially young adults. However, these products continue to draw image-focused women who prefer using cosmeceutical products to prevent skin aging and promote skin health. The spectrum of use includes a wide variety of people who are keen on trying such natural products for skin care.

It is important to point out that the FDA does not have an official definition of the term “cosmeceutical” and the term “cosmeceutical” has no meaning under the law. However, the common definition of a cosmeceutical is: a cosmetic product offering a claim of therapeutic benefits and is usually derived from natural sources. These products can either be ingested as pills or applied topically.

Cosmeceutical products are very appealing to the consumers because of the convenient ways of treating the skin. By avoiding medicines and painful surgeries as well as short-term injection treatments like Botox, cosmeceuticals provide a healthy alternative. It is also believed that the effects of cosmeceuticals are long lasting. By gleaning from natural sources, cosmeceuticals also promote direct nourishment to our skin and consumers have indicated they consider this a solution to improving the integral condition of their skin and believe the effects will be long term. The concept of our bodies reflecting what we eat has been accepted globally and consumers also believe that the influence of diet is essential to the appearance and condition of the skin.

While buying cosmeceutical, consumers must be well aware of the active and inactive ingredients that make up the products. It is very difficult to decide on the best-suited product and the indications for use. Listed below are some of the most popular and essential cosmeceutical ingredients that go beyond the conception ”beauty is only skin deep” .


This is a multi functional dietary supplement and may be considered on of the highest beneficial cosmeceutical ingredient. Obtained from barks of pine trees named French maritime (Pinus pinaster), it contains antioxidant compounds in high concentrations. One such antioxidant compound is procyanidin that improves circulation of minute skin capillaries, gives protection to the collagen of skin, and hinders the effects of the suns UVB rays on the skin.

Pycnogenol also neutralizes the damaging effects of the free radicals that aggressively breaks down and causes damage to the skin cells. Studies have shown that it also has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents the immune cells from activation by constricting the release of proinflammatory mediators, thereby protecting the skin against photo aging and also enhancing the resistance power of the skin against sunburns.


Borage oil or Borago officinalis is an important cosmeceutical ingredient possessing potent anti-inflammatory properties. Borage oil is allegedly the richest and the most natural form of GLA or gamma linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acids and contributes to the proper and healthy functioning of the cellular membranes. Preserving the natural barrier of the skin against water-loss and maintaining the fluidity and stability of the dermal cells accomplish this function. By preventing water-loss, GLA can actually prevent dryness of the skin. If the barrier function of the skin can be well maintained, it is actually possible to prevent the occurrence of irritation and skin infections. Borage oil also has moisturizing properties and when topically applied, enhances the smoothness of the skin and also improves the complexion.


Opextan is derived from the olive fruit. In extract form it is standardized to consist of polyphenol verbascoside and is the result of a joint collaboration that took place between Kanebo Cosmetics Inc and Indena. Their research revealed that polyphenol verbascoside content of the product could actually help in prevent the skin’s dehydration and thinning. It is also promoted to be a great aid against wrinkles and fine lines.

Opextan also prevents the underlying tissues from weakening and also decelerates the loss of skin moisture, giving a healthier appearance to the skin. The antioxidant property of Opextan is very helpful in maintaining the skin’s cellular structure and also acts as prevention against the UVB radiation. It also reduces the epidermal penetration and by helping to maintain the proper levels of blood sugar, the skin’s moisture content is safeguarded.

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant is a well known and well used succulent with fleshy leaves. The juicy extract of these leaves has a sticky property and is actually used for direct application for treatment of rashes, burns, and chronic skin irritations. It is also been used in the past as a laxative. Aloe can be used both orally and topically giving it properties for a wide variety of usage in cosmeceutical products. Although it is common for Aloe Vera to be used for various skin problems, the newer approach by consumers is that it may be considered an ingredient that helps to promote “beauty from within” when ingested. This concept is still being considered by the scientific researchers and is not a proven theory. However, Aloe Vera can also be found in foods and beverages as a dietary supplemental ingredient.


Vitamin C undoubtedly has potent qualities including being an antioxidant, improving the skin’s texture and smoothness. However, cosmeceutical manufacturers are often faced with the problem of this particular ingredient’s instability and acidic nature. The instability can affect the effectiveness of the product and the acidic nature might be a cause of concern for different skin types. Because vitamin C needs to have oil base, people prone to skin breakouts and acne might have a problem using a product with vitamin C as an ingredient.

A better alternative to vitamin C is Ester-C. This is a patented product by Zila, with a neutral-pH and combines ascorbate calcium with several other ingredients. The potency of this product can last for about two years. The application of Ester C can be a topical serum, Ester C gold that is highly concentrated and has been used in spas and by dermatologists.


Most common beauty and skin products have a fragrance as an essential part of the allure of the product. However, it can have a negative effect on the skin. But with cosmeceuticals, this can be prevented. Cosmeceuticals products also include fragrances, but are usually restricted to plant and herbal extracts only. This actually adds some more benefits to the products because of the antioxidant properties of the herbs or plants used. Labiatae plants such as basil or Ocimum Basilicum, rosemary or Rosamarinus Officinalis and also sage or Salvia Officinalis contain antioxidant compounds like oleanoic acid and ursolic acid that can be very advantageous for the skin.


When you think of bran, you think of food. Bran is the coating of various grains, which is highly nutritious and is usually thrown away when processing the food. This is actually a nutritious and potent source of antioxidant and moisturizing benefits used in cosmeceuticals. Nutrilayer was introduced by Eastman Chemical Co. as topical ingredient that can be obtained from rice bran.

Nutrilayer also contains wax of rice bran, squalene and also phytosterols that helps in creating a skin barrier that helps in retaining the moisture in the skin. This ingredient also supplies the skin with antioxidants like tocotreinols and tocopherols that fight against the free radicals that assault the skin. It further protects the skin against damaging photoaging effects from UV caused stress and oxidation.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Cosmeceuticals Are Not Just Skin Deep”

  1. 1
    Stephanie Says:
    Wow, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals have finally teamed up to do something good for you. But are they really all that they promise to be? I'm a bit skeptical on the issue and I don't know if all of these oils and creams will be all beneficial. Are there any negative effects to using these "cosmoceuticals"?