ACTIVE SKINCARE: What exactly are cosmeceuticals?

What are Cosmeceutical Products all About?

In 1984, Dr Albert Kligman coined the term ‘cosmeceutical’ to describe, “A topical preparation that is sold as a cosmetic but has performance characteristics that suggest pharmaceutical action”. According to Oxford Dictionaries, ‘Cosmeceutical’ is a blend of the words ‘cosmetics’ and ‘pharmaceutical’, and is a cosmetic that has or is claimed to have medicinal properties.

In simple terms, cosmeceutical are essentially skincare products that contain therapeutic percentages of highly active ingredients. These ingredients are clinically tested by independent laboratories and have evidence to show they can measurably improve problematic skin conditions such as pigmentation, redness, acne and concerns of ageing - such as fine lines, wrinkles and loss of firmness.

Can anyone use Cosmeceutical products?

Anyone can use cosmeceutical products to treat their skin, however as the ingredients are highly active there could be a slight adjustment period. Always work within your skin’s tolerance - start slowly and increase usage as your skin adjusts to the rapid action of the ingredients.

Ingredients such as Vitamin A can cause an initial skin response – slight redness and sensitivity – however this will pass in a few days and in time the effects will be well worth it. Ingredients like AHAs and BHAs may also make your skin slightly more sensitive due to their rapid skin cell renewal action, so for all these ingredients it is highly recommended that a high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen is applied daily.

 What are some Cosmeceutical Ingredients to look out for?


Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) such Lactic, Mandelic and Glycol Acid work to increase cellular renewal, improve skin texture, lines and wrinkles and uneven skin colour. They also assist with the absorption of subsequently applied products.


Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) such as Salicylic Acid help to clear skin of breakout and acne by working deep into your skin’s pores to clear them of oil and impurities for a cleaner and clearer complexion.

Hyaluronic Acid

Sodium Hyaluronate (HA) can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, more than any other natural substance. Due to its small molecular size, Sodium Hyaluronate is exceptionally effective in absorbing into the skin to attract and maintain water.

Vitamin A – Retinol

Retinol assists with boosting collagen and skin cell turnover to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, while helping to even out discoloration, clear blocked pores and smooth the skin’s surface.

Vitamin B3 - Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits for ageing skin. Among these benefits is the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface.

Vitamin B5 - Panthenol

Panthenol is a powerful humectant that helps to retain water, leaving skin soft and supple. Vitamin B5 is known to assist with superficial burns and wounds and has anti-inflammatory properties to calm and soothe the skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant to neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. It helps to even skin tone and the formation of fine lines, wrinkles and the effects premature ageing.

Vitamin E – Tocopherol

Tocopherol helps strengthen skin’s barrier protection while protecting against free radical damage which contributes to signs of ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness and age spots.


Peptides ensure skin functions at it’s best by improving the communication between skin cells providing anti-ageing effects for a younger, healthier skin. They can work quickly to provide instant and long-term visible results.