When does a cosmeceutical become therapeutic?

When does a cosmeceutical become therapeutic?

As the modern consumer demands more and faster results from their skin care regime, the promises, claims and wordings made are increasingly blurring the line between therapeutic goods and cosmetic products. The question is, when does a cosmetic become a cosmeceutical, and when does a cosmeceutical become a therapeutic good? General definitions are:

  • cosmetic product: a substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the external parts of the body with a view to altering its odours or appearance and keeping them in good condition.
  • therapeutic goods (medicines): products that are used to treat or alleviate disease and its symptoms by altering physiological functions of the body to elicit a reduction in symptoms and improve the health of the body.

‘Cosmeceutical’ is a term that covers products such as skin whiteners, self-tanners, advanced anti-ageing and skin firming products, sebum regulators and skin peel agents, although is not officially recognised by the regulators.  With a functionality and use that clearly impart some physiological benefits through their activity, how can these types of products be classified, and regulated, correctly?

  • to the consumer: a product that goes beyond the function of a standard personal care product to actually do something within the skin to alter their appearance.
  • to the cosmetic chemist: using ingredients that have proven clinical benefits to the appearance of the skin that do not breach regulatory guidelines but elicit definite and noticeable appearance-based benefits to the end user.

In many cases, ‘cosmeceutical’ is a term used to describe products that do cause a transient physiological change within the skin. For example, skin whitening agents generally act to visibly lighten the skin and pigment spots by controlling tyrosinase activity within cells of the skin, which in turn reduces the synthesis of melanin. In this example, cosmeceuticals are performing non-permanent physiological changes to the skin cells, but not the body; and do not cause a reduction in ‘symptoms’ of poor health but instead changes to the outward appearance.

Cosmeceutical products should be considered as cosmetics with clinically proven appearance based activity. With such a huge array of cosmeceutical actives available to the modern chemist (and their companies), opportunities abound for the clever companies maximising product’s visible activities whilst maintaining compliant claims. See the latest, innovative cosmeceutical launches at your next in-cosmetics exhibition and create truly active products that consumers genuinely love!

Belinda Carli will be presenting two technical presentations as part of the Marketing Trends programme at in-cosmetics Asia 2015, 3-5 November 2015. Find out more about in-cosmetics Asia and register to visit.

Belinda Carli is the Official Technical Advisor to the in-cosmetics Group; ensuring the innovations on show are cutting-edge and the technical seminars continue to meet and exceed attendees’ already high expectations of these events. She is also the Director of the Institute of Personal Care Science; specialists in distance training so you can learn to take care of your own formulation, regulatory and/or brand management needs. Contact: belinda@personalcarescience.com.au for more information or visit www.personalcarescience.com.au

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Belinda is the Director of Institute of Personal Care Science, leaders in on-line Internationally Recognised Training for Cosmetic Formulation and Regulatory Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Natural Therapies, Diploma of Cosmetic Science and Certificate in Training and Assessment. She has written 5 books on Cosmetic Formulation from Beginners through to Advanced levels as well as Organic and Colour Cosmetic Formulations and Brand Management. Belinda provides training to all levels of industry, from Beginners through to Advanced Diplomas both on-site and via distance. She has also developed thousands of personal care formulations and document dossiers over the years. She specialises in training on innovative and compliant product developments.

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