Cos­me­ceu­ti­cals the new beauty heavy­weight?

Not just a cos­metic prod­uct, but not quite a heavy-hit­ting phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, ‘cos­me­ceu­ti­cals’ are mak­ing ma­jor head­way in the global beauty mar­ket. But are they 100 per cent safe?

Friday - - Beauty -

Jennifer Lopez swears by them, the Duchess of Cam­bridge is ru­moured to have been a fan for years, and Uma Thur­man claims they have im­proved her (un­doubt­edly al­ready pretty fan­tas­tic) qual­ity of life.

They’re all long-term devo­tees of cos­me­ceu­ti­cals – the beauty prod­ucts that are revo­lu­tion­is­ing how we clas­sify skin­care. Not quite your aver­age beauty counter buy, nor pos­sess­ing the full-blown power of a pre­scribed phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, cos­me­ceu­ti­cals are in a class all of their own, com­bin­ing sci­ence know-how with cos­metic raz­zle- con­tinue us­ing a cos­me­ceu­ti­cal prod­uct once in­tro­duced, and they are end­lessly cus­tomis­able.

Pumped full of ac­tive in­gre­di­ents and sold with claims of overnight im­prove­ment, these skin­care won­ders claim to plump wrin­kles, fade pig­men­ta­tion and halt the age­ing process. If your reg­u­lar rou­tine isn’t putting a spring in your skin, a dal­liance with cos­me­ceu­ti­cals may be just the ticket.

Cos­me­ceu­ti­cals are the snazz­ier, more am­bi­tious ver­sion of your aver­age skin­care line. Aim­ing to knock out spe­cific skin con­cerns, these amped-up prod­ucts steal the best bits from the cos­met­ics in­dus­try, like user-friendly pack­ag­ing and plant-based for­mu­la­tions, and in­ject them with all the know-how of sci­en­tific re­search and count­less lab­o­ra­tory hours. While there cur­rently isn’t an of­fi­cial clas­si­fi­ca­tion to de­ter­mine ex­actly what a cos­me­ceu­ti­cal is, it’s widely un­der­stood the la­bel ap­plies to any prod­uct that falls just short of be­ing classed as a full phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal, mean­ing they can be sold more widely with­out a doc­tor’s visit and pre­scrip­tion.

Hilda Gous, tech­ni­cal sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager of South African

These skin­care won­ders claim to plump wrin­kles, fade pig­men­ta­tion and halt the age­ing process

dazzle to take prime po­si­tion on trend-savvy van­i­ties glob­ally.

No longer re­served for A-lis­ters, cos­me­ceu­ti­cals have hit beauty counters hard and fast, with re­searchers pre­dict­ing they will clock US sales worth $11.9 bil­lion (Dh43.7 bil­lion) by 2016.

Why the hype? For one, they boast an im­pres­sive cus­tomer-re­ten­tion rate, with clients more likely to cos­me­ceu­ti­cal line Op­tiphi, de­scribes the com­pany’s prod­ucts as “care­fully for­mu­lated and de­vel­oped to ob­tain a bi­o­log­i­cal re­sponse on a cel­lu­lar level, with a medic­i­nal un­der­tone to as­sist in ei­ther stim­u­lat­ing or in­hibit­ing cer­tain cel­lu­lar func­tions to at­tain good cel­lu­lar health, and en­sur­ing the skin bar­rier func­tions op­ti­mally.”

In other words, rather than sim­ply re­ly­ing on the trace amount of re­new­ing and restora­tive in­gre­di­ents found in your bog-stan­dard, runof-the-mill lotions, cos­me­ceu­ti­cals pin­point the ex­act com­bi­na­tion and quan­tity of ac­tive in­gre­di­ents needed to make a no­tice­able and – most im­por­tantly – sus­tain­able dif­fer­ence to the skin’s sur­face.

The term ‘cos­me­ceu­ti­cal’ was coined in the 1980s by der­ma­tol­o­gist Al­bert Klig­man as he con­ducted fur­ther re­search into early age­ing preven­tion, hav­ing al­ready iden­ti­fied the link be­tween sun ex­po­sure and der­mal dam­age, and co-in­vented Retin-A as an anti-age­ing com­pound.

Aim­ing to find a lab-ap­proved top­i­cal fix with both aes­thetic and ther­a­peu­tic ef­fects, he com­bined in­no­va­tive for­mu­las from the cos­metic and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal worlds to cre­ate a cat­e­gory of skin­care that would be user friendly and sci­en­tif­i­cally proven.

De­spite their in­tro­duc­tion to our lex­i­con decades ago, cos­me­ceu­ti­cals have started to come into their

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