Get to know: What are Cosmeceuticals?

Get to know: What are Cosmeceuticals?

You’ve probably heard of Cosmeceuticals,  but what actually are Cosmeceuticals and what do they do for our skin? The word “Cosmeceuticals” is a portmanteau of cosmetics and pharmaceutical, which also describes its effect on our skin.


Compared to regular over the counter (OTC) products, Cosmeceuticals contain active ingredients that benefit our skin and alter our skin cell function in some way. Often times, they are the most powerful you can get on the market without going to get a skin care prescription. Examples of actives include AHA, Peptides, Vitamin C, Retinol, Lash enhancement products and more.


Cosmeceuticals are applied topically, much like over the counter products, and yet it has a greater effect on improving our skin appearance or areas of concern. While over the counter products may also contain ingredients with a certain percentage of active ingredients, cosmeceuticals differ in purity, potency and penetration.


Are cosmeceuticals worth it?


As cosmeceuticals contain more active ingredients, they are at a higher price point than over the counter product. However, are cosmeceuticals really effective, or are they simply a marketing gimmick to get more buck out of the consumer?

That depends. Although “cosmeceuticals” are simply a marketing term, that does not mean it is all gimmick. Ideally, a good cosmeceutical product should have good research backing it up, for effective and proper penetration as well as effective results. It can be more cost-effective compared with aesthetic treatments as well. The key is to find a good product that is safe, efficacious and kind to your skin.


For a quick comparison between the differences of Cosmeceuticals and OTC brands, take a look at this chart:



How should I use cosmeceuticals?


As cosmeceuticals contain active ingredients, often times, only a small pea-sized amount is sufficient for the whole face. Moreover, for some ingredients such as retinol, require time for the skin to become “acclimatized” and can also create sun sensitivity and peeling if not used carefully. Therefore, always follow the instructions given on the box and follow the advice of a skin care professional.


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Sue Lin

Sue Lin’s beauty inclinations include learning and trying out what’s new and innovative in the world of skincare and beauty.