What are Cosmeceuticals? | Biodermis.com Biodermis

What are Cosmeceuticals? | Biodermis.com

Cosmeceuticals are skincare products that contain bioactive ingredients believed to provide medicinal benefits to the skin. The term “cosmeceutical” is a combination of the words “cosmetics” and “pharmaceuticals.” Millions of dollars of research go into the discovery and development of cosmeceutical products every year, with the biggest affiliations located in the United States, South Korea, and India. While many cosmeceuticals may contain some medicinal value, there are no FDA standards in America for which skincare lines pass as medical and which don’t. Because of this, it’s important to do your research before paying premium for products that are marketed as being a cosmeceutical.

In this article, we will explore what cosmeceuticals are so you can make an informed decision as a skincare consumer.   

Clinical research 

The main factor that separates a cosmeceutical from a regular cosmetic product is the research that backs its claims. If a product claims to reduce wrinkles, eliminate acne, or fade scars, then there would need to be some evidence to support these purported benefits. On the other hand, if a product claims to affect the function or structure of the physical body in some way, then the FDA would step in and verify the clinical trials before passing it off as a new drug. While “cosmeceutical” is primarily a marketing term, some items that fall under this category are backed by scientific evidence and are trusted by doctors.

Medical-grade silicone gel, for instance, is not considered a drug, but it is FDA-cleared for use in treating post-operative scars. Silicone gel for scars is a safe and effective treatment option for preventing and reducing keloids and hypertrophic scar formations. Silicone creates a barrier function on the surface of the skin that induces moisture and oxygen at the scar site to facilitate the scar healing process. Silicone gel for scars falls between medicinal and cosmetic and can therefore be considered a cosmeceutical.

Common ingredients

Because big money is invested in researching new ingredients to be used in cosmeceuticals, you are likely to run across a long list of vitamins, botanical extracts, and antioxidants. Many of the ingredients are said to be bioactive, meaning they safe to use on the human body and strong enough to elicit noticeable changes in the skin. They aren’t strong enough, however, to cause unwanted side effects, which is why cosmeceuticals don’t require a prescription. Other ingredients include peptides, retinoids, plant stem cells, and alpha hydroxy acids. Organic and nature-based compounds are hot right now, so many cosmeceuticals are derived from components found in nature.

South Korean cosmeceutical companies try to be innovative with their ingredients by harnessing them from various animal and plant sources. These ingredients may include bee venom, snail mucin, ginseng, and seaweed, which are found in face masks, skin creams, soaps, and lotions. If you are unsure about using any of the common ingredients found in cosmeceuticals, it is advised that you test it on a small patch of skin to ensure you aren’t allergic. Asking the advice of a dermatologist or skincare specialist is also recommended.


If you are using cosmeceuticals, then you’re probably looking to achieve a particular result. This will depend on the quality of the product you are using in addition to your own biology. Just with prescription medications, a specific cosmeceutical won’t produce the same results with every person. This is because everyone’s skin is unique and will respond differently to external agents. To know what to expect prior to purchasing a cosmeceutical, look to see if there are before and after testimonials or pictures to verify that others have achieved the results you’re after. It’s also important to be realistic about the results you want. Cosmeceuticals don’t completely eliminate all skincare concerns, and if they do, then expect them to take some time to work. Silicone gel for scars, for instance, takes about 8-12 weeks of consistent use before results are noticeable.


Biodermis is an innovative market leader with 30 years of expertise in the medical silicone industry. Visit Biodermis.com today to explore a complete range of scar management and post-operative care solutions.


Biodermis offers custom tailored referral programs designed to simplify and reduce the cost of your patients' post-op care. Additionally, we offer professional pricing if you opt to retail our products. Give us a call at 800.322.3729, and we will be happy to provide additional details on these programs.