Cosmeceuticals: are they past their use-by date?

“Cosmeceuticals are a thorn in the side of regulators and really, for the serious chemist, they simply do not exist. A cosmeceutical shouldn’t be defined as such just because of what it contains, but also how much it contains of said active ingredients. Sometimes products labelled as cosmeceuticals include these active ingredients in concentrations that simply won’t work on the skin. Just about any cream can claim to be a cosmeceutical, but what does it actually mean? People need to understand that for the term cosmeceutic (or cosmeceutical) to truly apply to products, they would have to pass regulations and we know that legislation is never going to happen. True cosmeceutical legislation would need to define the ingredients required and their minimum doses, in order to qualify a product as cosmeceutical. So, while I used the word cosmeceutical in 1989-90, we had dropped it altogether by 1991 to 1992. I believe that governments are going to start legislating against the use of the term cosmeceutics, but for the moment our industry is asked to be self-regulated and the lines get blurred by the marketers.
“I believe that as a term, the word cosmeceutical is going to disappear; it has already become so watered down. Clients have been buying into it and using their ‘cosmeceuticals’ which are supposed to deliver dreams, and some of them haven’t. We are about to see a new era, where the serious skin care makers will be using antioxidants in proper levels, and also various peptides. I think that peptides are the future, although the research work is going to be slow, eventually we will see exciting changes.
“A German university recently choose to look into the top 25 antioxidant products in the European market, and our Environ antioxidant gel was included. In their grading of antioxidant activity, 20 of the products tested registered between 0 and 4. Our gel (which at the time was one month short of its shelf life) measured at over 900, and our AVST1 registered over 1300. It was a proud moment, but then my whole philsophy is that when I make a product I want to see the effects of what we’re putting in!
“We are currently are in the process of building our new factory, which I believe will be state-of-the-art, not just locally but for the whole world. I think we will be the only cosmetic cream in the world to be made in a pharmaceutical-grade factory.
“For a long time I have had a different view to peeling, that the intention to scar the skin when we should be rehabilitating it was wrong. Now I have introduced a home peeling system which is so light that it’s not actually a peel, but it sends a message down the stratum corneum telling the cells below to behave differently. After using it for awhile you get the results of a peel without the damage.
“I started out as a plastic surgeon and was looking at a way to reduce the possibility of melanoma. I had been using retinoic acid on my patients since 1976, to help with surgery scars and acne. In 1981 I noticed that my patients I had treated for acne had unbelieveably good skin, so my 40th birthday present to myself was to put vitamin A on my skin. It was the first time I had put any sort of cream on my skin, and have been using it ever since. By the time Kligman put out his paper in 1985 I already had my patients on vitamin A for wrinkles.
“I soon discovered that by using retinyl palmitate instead of retinoic acid, it makes the skin the factory for vitamin A, and is also less irritating. I announced to my friends I had found the formula for the skincare of the future: vitamin A plus antioxidants. I approached a couple of companies to make my products but was ignored by one and turned down by the other so I started making it myself. At that point I was making it only for me, and to give to patients as part of their consultation. I had a long waiting list, at one point it got to nine months and that’s when I approached my sister to sell the cream for me. It took nine years to sell our millionth product, then only two years to make our second millionth product, and the rest is history.”

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