Consumers spend billions of dollars every year on creams, lotions and potions trying to address their concerns about ageing or their skin needs or issues. There is indeed a plethora of opinions, marketing dollars, rumours and old-wives-tales to certainly confuse the most thorough of researchers, however what about the majority of us. I find that people (patients, family and friends and the odd random person who asks me my opinion) just want simple, effective skin care that actually works, doesn’t have 1000 steps, and doesn’t cost their first born. So here are some of my thoughts and opinions about the effectiveness of cosmeceutical ingredients and the importance of product testing.
Lets get some simple facts straight first. Cosmeceuticals and beauty creams, lotions and potions are NOT subject to approval by government authorities (Med Safe, TGA, FDA etc.). The government regulatory agencies require vigorous testing and scientifically proven results for all their approved products. This essentially means that beauty creams should not claim that they have a therapeutic effect that is similar to those or better than those of prescriptive medicines. Beauty creams and their ingredients are not as powerful, or as effective as prescriptive medicines – or rather their claims cannot suggest that they are. Often you find beauty creams and their benefits are often not adequately tested nor are their ingredients tested – individually or collectively. Sometimes claims may be greatly exaggerated or deliberately suggestive to confuse the purchaser.
The difference between Cosmeceuticals and beauty creams, are that generally Cosmeceuticals are products that have active ingredients, and whilst they may not have been approved by the government agencies, they are often thoroughly tested and clinically proven. Most often you will find these products are educated and sold within medical clinics because they are stronger than beauty creams, and their results can be tailored to suit individual patients needs, by clinical staff. Beauty creams that are sold over the counter are generally not active and can be sold without supervision.
Cosmeceuticals are divided into categories based on their active ingredients:
Natural v’s Organic v’s Other’s
Every now and then everyone only wants Natural or Organic products, because what is natural is better for you. This is often a myth and there is no reputable scientific evidence to support this claim. It is a well-known fact that natural or organic skin care products are far less tested and measured than synthetic products and definitely far less than any pharmaceutical product.
Most naturally occurring ingredients and compounds used in skin care today need to be chemically altered. This is for texture, stability, usability, and smell to name a few reasons. As soon as a compound or ingredient has been chemically altered – they are no longer a “natural” product. Enhanced natural ingredients (chemically altered) tend to be more stable, penetrate better and have more long-lasting effects on the skin than true natural plant extracts. So beware the “natural”, it may not be that “natural”.
The best way of understanding the effectiveness of your cosmeceutical product is to understand the testing process and what, if any, testing your products have gone through.
My top tips when purchasing your topical potion think of these:
Top tips for using your topical solutions:
Be open and honest with your clinician about your concerns with your skin, and they should be able to help you use a Simple, Effective and Efficient skin care regime that works!