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Written by Dr. med. Christine Schrammek-Drusio on January 1st, 2018.      0 comments

What is a cosmeceutical? The term ”cosmeceutical“ is a combination of the words ”cosmetics“ and ”pharmaceuticals“.
It was introduced by the American dermatologist Prof. Albert Kligman. The products connect the field of cosmetics and medicine. However, there is an ongoing discussion between cosmetologists and lawyers regarding the meaning of the term and the so-termed products, since it does neither occur in the European Cosmetic Directive nor in the strict statutory regulations of the American FDA.

What differentiates cosmeceuticals from treatment products, for example products to treat acne?
The products contain the highest possible concentration of ingredients allowed before being classified as pharmaceuticals. Consequently, they are highly effective, but are used as cosmetics that do without any side effects. Prescription anti-acne drugs for example might cause undesired incidental effects.

What differentiates them from medical creams, for example to treat pain?
Cosmeceuticals are highly efficient products including a high concentration of active ingredients, which must not have any medicinal effect that aim at alleviating illnesses or pain.

Are they formulated differently?
Highly efficient cosmeceuticals are developed under scientific aspects and their quality is backed by efficiency studies. In order to achieve effects also in greater depth cosmeceuticals should not include counterproductive additives (perfume, possible allergens, strong preservatives). The product matrix should guarantee a good availability respectively correspond to the skin’s physiology, which applies to topical pharmaceuticals too. In case of pharmaceuticals the focus is usually not set upon the galenics of the product.

How can they, as some state, surpass the basal membrane and reach the dermis, even the hypodermis and deposit their main actives wherever they must reach? Is this just a marketing tool?
Topical pharmaceuticals intervene in the physiology of the skin and the underlying tissue. Additionally, they can have effect systemically (via the blood circulation). It is their aim to soothe pain or inflammations. At the same time physical enzymes and growth factors are often stimulated, replaced or inhibited. Cosmeceuticals can overcome the skin barrier for a deeper penetration of the epidermis. On the contrary to pharmaceuticals cosmeceuticals neither must find their way into the bloodstream nor being wound healing or treat acute skin diseases.

What are the main active ingredients used in the formulation of cosmeceuticals? What
textures are mostly used?

Some active ingredients are attributed specific biochemical and physiological influences on skin regeneration, which are backed by scientific studies and product testing. Mostly it deals with antioxidants, retinoids, vitamins (A, C, E), phytohormones, peptides and growth factors. Even substances that usually are used for drugs, can be included in cosmetics in very low concentrations under strict conditions.

Being highly concentrated formulas, is there a risk of adverse effects? Must a specialist
recommend their use?

Treatment results are visible and noticeable within a short period of time. These results are backed by scientific studies and product testing. Often the combination of synergistic active ingredients leads to fantastic treatment results. Side effects as they might occur in case of pharmaceuticals, can almost be excluded. The today’s market offers modern and scientifically tested products with proven effectiveness – these should be recommended thoroughly by specialists.

Dr. med. Christine Schrammek-Drusio
Dermatologist/Allergologist & Anti-Aging Expert

About the Author: Dr. med. Christine Schrammek-Drusio is dermatologist, allergologist and anti-aging
expert. She is owner and one of the managing directors of the family-owned enterprise Dr. med. Christine Schrammek Kosmetik GmbH & Co. KG. Its head office is located in the Ruhr metropolis of Essen, Germany.
The practical work as a medical doctor in a skin clinic and own surgery intensified her wish to combine the field of cosmetics and dermatology. That way the idea of the today’s corporate philosophy developed.




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