ZO Skin Health Solutions
Cosmeceuticals refers to the combination of two words cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Cosmeceuticals are not subject to approval neither by the US FDA nor EU, their benefits are not tested and their claims might be exaggerated. Additionally, the FDA states that: "Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines drugs as those products that cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease or that affect the structure or function of the human body. While drugs are subject to an intensive review and approval process by FDA, cosmetics are not approved by FDA prior to sale. If a product has drug properties, it must be approved as a drug.
Cosmeceuticals meant to be cosmetic products with biologically active ingredients supposedly to have drug-like benefits. These are products applied topically, such as creams, lotions and ointments.
Claims are responsibility of the manufacturer. The term cosmeceuticals is often used in marketing to enhance product benefits and in many cases; it may be misleading to the consumer.
Cosmeceuticals shall contain active ingredients that are very well known to be beneficial to humans, these benefits must have clinical prove, and results must be published in scientific literature. The gold standard to confirm a product's efficacy is a study known as the double blind, placebo-controlled study.
Most cosmetic manufacturers use open-label user studies, where subjects apply test creams for a short time and then assessment is done on their improvement over baseline. However, these types of studies do not assess the placebo effect and there are no objective measures.
Cosmeceuticals are divided into categories based on their active ingredients:
Antioxidants can reduce the harmful effects of free radicals, which are molecules that injure the skin's cells and cause inflammation, increase sun damage and contribute to the development of skin cancer.
Peptides are smaller proteins that stimulate the production of collagen and thicken the skin.
Growth factors are compounds that act as chemical messengers between cells and play a role in cell division, new cell and blood vessel growth, and in the production and distribution of collagen and elastin.
Well-studied ingredients are vitamin C, retinol, Nyacinamide, Palmitoyl tripeptide, Alpha-lipoic acid, Carnosine, Ferulic acid, Lactobionic acid, L-fucose, Alfa-Arbutin etc.
Product containing known active ingredients and formulated at their active concentrations, may be considered true cosmeceuticals.