What is a Cosmeceutical?

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Have you ever noticed the word cosmeceutical on your favorite anti-aging cream or moisturizer and were not sure what it meant? The term cosmeceutical was created in 1990s and is derived from a blend of the words cosmetic and pharmaceutical.

They are products that can be used to improve the functioning of the skin and are beneficial in preventing premature aging.

Keep reading to learn more about cosmeceuticals:

What is the difference between a cosmetic product and a cosmeceutical one?

The best way to understand the difference between cosmetics and cosmeceuticals is to separate them by purpose.

Cosmetics are used for beauty or style purposes and merely cover the skin, hair, and nails. Examples of cosmetics include makeup and hair dye.

Cosmeceuticals, on the other hand, are used to actually improve or enhance the skin’s appearance with biologically active ingredients such as ALA and DMAE. These include many non-prescription anti-aging products.

A cosmeceutical usually applies to a topical treatment, whereas the terms nutricosmetic or nutraceutical refer to products with similar benefits but are taken orally.

What to Look for in a Cosmeceutical

Even though cosmeceuticals have drug-like benefits, they are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This makes it difficult to know what products actually contain effective ingredients.

Effective ingredients to look for include:

  • Antioxidants: Protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, molecules that break down and damage skin cells. Antioxidants include Vitamins C and E.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA): The ultimate antioxidant, it is located in nearly every cell of the body and is very effective against free radical damage.
  • DMAE: Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) is involved with muscle activity; it helps firm the skin by working to stimulate increased tone in the muscles behind the face.
  • Hydroxy Acids: Exfoliates the skin, removing the dead skin cells that can cause the skin to look rough, leaving it looking smoother and softer.
  • Retinoids: Forms of Vitamin A. Adding vitamin A through a topical treatment causes skin cells to grow and die more rapidly, thereby increasing the turnover of cells.

Allergic Reactions

Because cosmeceuticals contain active ingredients that are added topically to the skin, the skin might react negatively if not properly applied. Reactions can range from simple irritation to allergies that involve the immune system. For example retinoids might cause skin irritation, dryness, and peeling, so it is important to carefully follow directions when applying cosmeceuticals.

Available Cosmeceutical Products

Dr.Perricone offers a wide variety of cosmeceuticals in his lines of topical anti-aging regimens and acne treatments. One effective anti-aging cosmeceutical is the Perricone MD Advanced Face Firming Activator, which contains the key sciences ALA and DMAE.

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17 Comments • Please comment below


  1. What about Prevage? I was
    told it is one of the best cosmeceutical on the market

  2. Good day,

    i will gladly try your products.

  3. Has anyone had an adverse reaction to the cold plasma for the eyes and skin. I now itch and when I putthe eye cream under my eyes it stung. I’ve been using this cream for about two weeks and I just made the connection today.

  4. As a health care professional, I would love to contribute to part of the research and development of the Perricone products. Becoming a product tester will allow me to have a first hand experience that will allow me to make recommendations to your company and other people.

  5. I like to be product tester to try them please. Thanks.

  6. great product for sensitive skin

  7. At age 49, I am increasingly becoming aware of how little effect most of the products I use or try have on my aging skin. They make good promises, but deliver little or no results.
    I would love to test some of your products, and with some hopefully positive results become a regular Perricone customer.

  8. I would like to be a tester for any products. I am a 27 year old female who tries to take good care of her skin…I am fair and have a tendency to burn so I’m always looking for the best products to prevent wrinkles and keep my skin looking young.

  9. I would love to try a new product for you. It would be very exciting and I would provide honest feedback so that you know the result of the testing.

  10. I’ve never actually heard that word before, but I will pay closer attention now.

  11. I am so excited to become a Perricone tester! I am 42 years old and have used so many different skin products that only a few come close to even helping my skin to look it’s best. I hope that Perricone products will give my skin the look that I desire..
    Thank You SOO Much!

  12. Just started using the clear skin toner…feels really good so far.

  13. I would love2try the products first,because beauty cost a fortune and ive wasted alot of money on things that i have not liked or it hasnt done wut they say it will do.i tell my friends when i run across something that works but wont waste more money until ive tested product.

  14. I have read Dr. Perricone’s book and would love to try his products. I am interested in anti-aging products. Thanks.

  15. It is time to start a skin regimine that will last through my later years. I am extremely interested in anti-aging products but I am hesitant to spend a lot of money on products that I know nothing about. Perricone MD has an impressive reputation and I look forward to using more products that deliver results in the future. Thanks.

  16. Sounds really good to me. Just what my skin needs

  17. Due to stress and aging I am increasing interested in products that can really deliver results. I’m always looking for the very best product, and from the times I’ve used Perricone I’ve always impressed. I rely on the fact you do so much research. Thank you!