10 Best Cosmeceutical Ingredients of 2024

A cosmeceutical is essentially a skincare product that contains a biologically active compound that is thought to have pharmaceutical effects on the skin. Both pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical grade skin care products actively effect skin at a cellular level, whereas cosmetic products have a shorter-term effect. They are usually used by doctors to restore pH, remove pigmentation, or restore the skin barrier. Cosmeceuticals must scientifically verify the claims stated on their packaging; as it is accepted that these formulations are backed by science, clinical studies, and rigorous testing. The main areas of concerns that these formulations address are ageing skin, sensitive/sensitized skin, sun damaged skin, acne/oily skin, loss of tone and elasticity, as well as superficial lines & wrinkles to encourage rapid cellular turnover that will renew and re-texturize the skin.

Best Cosmeceutical Ingredients

Peptides composed of chains of amino acids give proteins their structure, and transport nutrients and signal messengers yo other cells. When amino acids link together, they form chains called peptides – when peptides form longer chains of amino acids, they become the building blocks of proteins. Proteins make up much of the body’s tissues, organs, and skin, one of the most important skin proteins in collagen. 75% of our skin is made up of collagen protein.

Types of Cosmeceutical Ingredients: 

◦ Antioxidant

◦ Anti-Inflammatory

◦ Ascorbic Acid

◦ Defensin

◦ DNA Repair Enzymes

◦ Growth Factors

◦ Heparin Sulphate

◦ Hyaluronic Acid

◦ Niacinamide

◦ Peptides

◦ Retinoids

◦ Stem Cells

When targeting the above skin concerns, cosmeceuticals should improve skin rejuvenation, increase the firmness and the elasticity of skin, as well as improve skin complexion, and prevention and improve wrinkles. They also revive dull, tired looking skin, improve skin tone and elasticity, especially in the face, neck, and d├ęcolletage area. It is important to note that the producers of modern top-level skincare are now looking at the use of plant technology, fruit- based products and extracts as well as marine based formulations, these innovative formulations will give products an organic, green, healthy feel while still being performance driven. The aesthetic industry thrives on innovation and thanks to increased curiosity among men and women of all ages about what exactly goes into our skincare products as we look for cleaner scientifically proven plant-based technology that is result driven.

To train your skin and achieve skin health your cellular function requires a good workout, and your skin will feel it through desquamation, a gentle tingle and occasionally some patients may experience some redness, but this does not last for long. Change is simply happening to your skin. It is normal and part of the restorative powers of the skincare products that contain highly active ingredients to create performance driven formulations. Always follow the advice of your skincare professional and start your cosmeceutical skincare regimen slowly.

Below is a brief outline of key ingredients included in cosmeceutical, medical grade, top level advanced skincare that bring positive change to your skin when used correctly.

1. Alpha-Hydroxy acids (AHAs)

Products containing alpha-hydroxy acids have become increasingly popular in recent years. Skincare products with alpha-hydroxy acids help with fine lines and wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, sun damage, oil control, desquamation while also helping to shrink enlarged pores. Side effects of alpha-hydroxy acids include mild irritation and sun sensitivity. To avoid susceptibility to the sun, sunscreen should be applied in the morning. To help avoid skin irritation, start with a product with a maximum concentration of 10% to 15% AHA. To allow your skin to get used to alpha-hydroxy acids, you should initially apply the skin care product every other day, gradually working up to daily application.

2. Poly-Hydroxy acids

Polyhydroxy acids have a similar effect to alpha-hydroxy acids but are less likely to cause any irritation resulting in them being better option for those with rosacea, sensitive and reactive skin types. PHA’s are chemical exfoliants – The most common being Gluconolactone, Galactose and Lactobionic Acid. Again, like AHA’s, poly-hydroxy acids help skincare penetrate deeper into the lower layers of the skin, exfoliating dead skin cells on the surface of the skin resulting in a more even skin tone and improved skin texture. PHA’s also fight glycation which is a process that takes place when digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin and can weaken it, along with elastin levels.

3. Beta-Hydroxy acid (Salicylic Acid)

Salicylic acid removes dead skin and improves the texture and colour of sun- damaged skin. It penetrates oil-laden hair follicle openings and, as a result, greatly helps with oily and acne prone skin types. Once salicylic acid is put to work on the skin, it penetrates the pores and dissolves the bonds between surface skin cells. It is this process that unclogs pores and makes it a great fighter against blemishes due to its antibacterial properties. Salicylic Acid is a deep cleaning ingredient that mops up excess oil and dirt of the skin and it is due to the exfoliating properties that makes it stand out on the skincare spectrum.

4. Hydroquinone

Skin care products containing hydroquinone are often called lightening agents. These skin care products are used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots related to pregnancy or hormone therapy (melasma or chloasma). Your doctor can also prescribe a cream with a higher concentration of hydroquinone if your skin does not respond to over-the-counter treatments. Hydroquinone treatment goes hand in hand and is combined with sunscreen because sun exposure causes skin hyperpigmentation – the concern that hydroquinone is working on and creating solutions within the skin. It is best to test hydroquinone-containing products in a small area first to ensure there are no adverse reactions as some people are allergic to it. If you are allergic to hydroquinone you may benefit from use of products containing kojic acid

5. Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is also a remedy and solution for the treatment of pigment problems and age spots. Discovered in 1989, kojic acid works similarly to hydroquinone and is derived from a fungus, studies have shown that it is effective as a lightening agent, slowing production of melanin. With continued use, Kojic acid may make your skin more susceptible to sun also so the importance of SPF on the skin is a must when using this acid.

6. Retinoids

Examples of retinoids include retinol, retinal aldehyde, and retinyl esters. They are used to improve acne and acne scarring, mottled pigmentation, skin aging, skin texture, tone and colour, the skin's hydration levels are also increased with the use of retinoids. Retinol is derived from vitamin A, tretinoin, which is the active ingredient in prescription Retin-A® and Renova® creams, are a stronger version of retinol. Here are why skin responds to skin care products with retinol: vitamin A has a molecular structure that is small enough to get into the lower layers of skin. Retinyl palmitate is another ingredient related to retinol but is less potent to the skin’s cells.

7. L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

This is the only form of vitamin C that you should look for in your skin care products. There are many skin care products on the market today that boast vitamin C derivatives as an ingredient (magnesium ascorbic phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, for example), but L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products. With age and sun exposure, as collagen synthesis in the skin decreases, leading to wrinkles. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, minimizing fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. Proven clinical studies suggests that L-ascorbic acid significantly improves the appearance of photodamaged skin. Initial use of vitamin C containing creams can cause slight stinging and/or redness, but these side effects generally subside with continued use.

8. Hyaluronic acid

Skin care products containing this substance are often used with vitamin C products to assist in effective penetration. Hyaluronic acid (also known as a glycosaminoglycan) is best known for its ability to hydrate the skin resulting in fine lines and wrinkles being less pronounced. In news reports, you might have heard of hyaluronic acid as the "key to the fountain of youth." This is because the substance occurs naturally and quite abundantly in both humans and animals. Hyaluronic acid is a component of the body's connective tissues and is known to cushion and lubricate. As you age, however, the forces of nature diminish hyaluronic acid. Diet and smoking can also affect your body's level of hyaluronic acid over time. Skin care products with hyaluronic acid are most frequently used to treat dry, dehydrated, and ageing skin as it will improve the skins hydration and firmness.

9. Copper peptide

Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it has only been on the market since 1997. Here is why: Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, acts as an antioxidant, and promotes production of glycosaminoglycans. Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase the benefits of the body's natural tissue-building processes. The substance helps to firm, smooth, and soften skin, doing it in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin's system responsible for those functions.

10. Alpha-lipoic acid

You may have heard of alpha-lipoic acid as "the miracle in a jar" for its anti- aging effects. It is a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage which is apparent when looking at top level skincare. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a "universal antioxidant" because it is soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, it gives the skin a healthy glow, and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.


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