If you are wanting to up your skincare routine or perhaps have found that your current products just don’t produce the results you want, you may have come across products known as cosmeceuticals. A play on the words pharmaceutical and cosmetics, these products can help to manage troublesome skincare concerns with less stress and more convenience. As dermatologists, it is our job to be aware of new trends in skincare and guide you to healthier, clearer, skin.
What are Cosmeceuticals?
Cosmeceuticals are medical-grade skincare products that can offer both medicinal and cosmetic benefits, allowing you to treat unwanted blemishes and concerns while refreshing your appearance without a prescription or undergoing costly procedures.
Cosmeceutical skincare products are products formulated using medical-grade ingredients to penetrate deeper into your skin and deliver stronger, better results compared to over-the-counter products.
It is important to note that not all cosmeceuticals are FDA-approved. Cosmetics do not require FDA approval, but drugs do, and while cosmeceuticals such as sunscreen do require approval, there are many over-the-counter cosmeceutical products without approval. Check the label or packaging for FDA approval.
Cosmeceuticals are popular choices in targeting common skincare concerns such as fine lines, dryness, dull texture, acne, scarring, pigmentation, sun damage, and minor signs of aging.
What is an Active Ingredient?
Active ingredients are ingredients added to a product with a specific purpose and have the strength to change the physical structure and workings of your skin. These ingredients are backed by scientific evidence and are proven to have beneficial effects on your skin. Active ingredients are considered the “heavy hitters” for treating your skincare concerns.
Common active ingredients used in skincare include:
- Benzoyl Peroxide
- Glycolic Acid
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Lactic Acid
- Salicylic Acid
It is important to note that though cosmeceuticals do contain a higher concentration of active ingredients compared to over-the-counter products, they do not contain the same amount as prescription medication and cannot cure skin conditions.
One of the biggest benefits is that cosmeceutical products can significantly improve your skin’s appearance and behavior of your skin cells without a trip to our office for a prescription and you can apply them in the comfort of your own home. They contain stronger concentrations of medical-grade ingredients that have been tried and tested by science allowing for higher-quality results compared to most store-bought topical products. Though they are expensive, many of our patients consider them to be great value products.
Due to the higher quality ingredients, you can expect quality results. However, it is important to note that they will not produce results similar to of cosmetic procedures such as botox or injectable fillers. If you are unsure of a product, bring it to our office and we can discuss which products are ideal for your skincare goals and needs.
Over-The-Counter Products VS. Cosmeceuticals
The biggest difference between over-the-counter (OTC) products and cosmeceuticals is that over-the-counter products do not penetrate deeply into your skin, they only treat on the surface. They do not contain the right amount of active ingredients necessary to treat concerns, instead, they work on the surface and remove superficial blemishes. Cosmeceuticals contain the right amount of active ingredients to change your skin from deep within and produce better healthier skin cells.
Over-the-counter products can be convenient, cheaper, and ideal for those who do not struggle day to day with unwanted skin concerns. Over-the-counter products are designed to suit anyone within a general skin type (oily, dry, or combination). They are also more readily available compared to cosmeceuticals which can only be purchased through licensed skincare professionals to ensure that the products you select are right for your needs and skin. This doesn’t mean that over-the-counter products are bad or do not work, it just means that they treat concerns superficially.
Understanding skincare can be difficult, but we are here to help. During your consultation, we will conduct a thorough examination to determine your skin type and discuss your concerns and desires for treatment. Afterward, we can decide together what products or treatment options are right for you. For more information on cosmeceuticals and our services or to schedule an appointment, contact Sullivan Dermatology today.