In 1961, Raymond Reed, the Founder of the US Society of Cosmetic Chemists, invented the term cosmeceuticals. In the 1970s the term came into vogue when the famous American dermatologist, Albert Klingman further popularized it. While only a little more than a half a century old, the concept goes back as far as the human drive to be more beautiful. It is the blending of cosmetics and medicinal benefits. And accordingly, it is the driving force of many trends in the beauty industry. (Source). This makes it of great interest to those of us who practice dermatology, plastic surgery, oculoplastic surgery, as well as aesthetic physicians and estheticians.
While we touch on the most pertinent topics here, there will be much more extensive coverage and information about the latest research and findings, uses, and alternatives at SCALE 2019 Music City, which takes place in May in Nashville, Tennessee.
What Cosmeceuticals Are and Are Not
The good news is that much of this area is not over-regulated, despite what some would presume. The US Food and Drug Administration (USDA) has this to say about cosmeceuticals:
The term “cosmeceutical” has no meaning under the law. While the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) do not recognize the term “cosmeceutical,” the cosmetic industry uses this word to refer to cosmetic products that have medicinal or drug-like benefits.
A product can be a drug, a cosmetic or both. The FD&C Act defines drugs as those products that cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease or that affect the structure or function of the human body if a product makes such claims it will be regulated as a drug. Cosmetics are intended to beautify, promote attractiveness, alter the appearance or cleanse; they are not approved by FDA for sale nor are they intended to affect the structure or function of the body.
So, that being said, the question of when, where and how to use cosmeceuticals becomes important. This can really only be answered by looking at what is available and meets the needs of your patient.
Essentially, anytime there is a very real potential for a product to make a difference in the way a patient looks and/or feels, cosmeceuticals are appropriate to use. In the majority of cases, cosmeceuticals are applied to the skin or to hair, with most of the market directed toward skin care. In fact, these products are currently the driving force in the field of skincare (Source). The bulk of current research and development is focused on nanotechnology, genomics, and nutricosmetics.
Nanotechnology in Cosmeceuticals
This is “the fastest growing segment of the personal care industry, and a number of topical cosmeceutical treatments for conditions such as photoaging, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and hair damage have come into widespread use. In the cosmeceutical, arena nanotechnology has played an important role. Using new techniques to manipulate matter at an atomic or molecular level, they have been at the root of numerous innovations, opening up new perspectives for the future of cosmeceutical industry. Nanotechnology-based cosmeceuticals offer the advantage of diversity in products, and increased bioavailability of active ingredients and increase the aesthetic appeal of cosmeceutical products with prolonged effects.” (Source).
Genomics in Cosmeceuticals
This is a group of treatments that come out of a field borne from the human genome project that identified and sequenced 30,000 human genes. It produced high throughout technologies that measure/analyze gene expression (which genes are turned on or off in a given condition), gene sequence (determines if the DNA code is altered) x SNP’s – single nucleotide polymorphisms. Technologies are being used in all areas of human health (personalized medicine), animal health, environmental and agricultural industries. (Source).
Essentially these are defined “as nutritional supplements which supports the function and structure of skin. Many micronutrients have this effect. Nutricosmetics reduces the impact of free radicals in the skin. In cosmetics preparations, several micronutrients are used. Micronutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, carotenes etc. Skin care products are also becoming increasingly segmented according to the type of problem they treat, as well as targeting different parts of the body. This trend is starting to proliferate in nutricosmetics, with products offering similar targeted benefits.” (Source).
Your patients will be looking to you to define the best solutions to their issues. When you can guide them to solutions such as sunscreens, that also contain anti-aging compounds such as collagen boosting nano-particles or vitamin C, which are recognized as a skin-healing agent, both of you win. Recommend moisturizers that effectively deliver vitamin E and other anti-aging compounds effectively into the skin. Other compounds such as over-the-counter retinoids are available in some of the more high-end cosmeceuticals. Additionally, there are a number of bleaching agents that can help your patients “block the formation of skin pigment called melanin such as brown spots, liver spots, melasma, etc.” (Source).
There is an enormous number of cosmeceutical products and procedures that can support your patients’ needs. The best way to delve into this field fully is at SCALE 2019 Music City. We look forward to seeing you there.