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I admit I have a weakness for sciencey stuff. And by sciencey stuff I don’t mean „real science“ (whatever that may be), but things like cosmeceutical products. (I even wrote about that before)
Now before you come at me, I am not telling you that there is a valid reason to my fascination.
I indeed intend this blog post to be a confession, which pretty much gives away that there is NO sensible explanation to the habit of paying extra for things that say cosmeceutical (or doctors brand) on the packaging.
Because while it helps that they usually come in sleek, clean and functional packaging, I am not going to pretend that it is for any other motivation than the fact that deep down in my heart I want to believe they offer more than your average skin care product.
I mean, surely there must be something special about them?
Let’s explore the term „cosmeceutical products“ a little, shall we?
What are cosmeceutical products?
Here is what the FDA has to say:
The term ‚cosmeceutical‘ has no meaning under the law. While the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) does not recognize the term ‚cosmeceutical,‘ the cosmetic industry uses this word to refer to cosmetic products that have medicinal or drug-like benefits. … A product can be a drug, a cosmetic or both. The FD&C Act defines drugs as those products that cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease or that affect the structure or function of the human body, if a product makes such claims it will be regulated as a drug. Cosmetics are intended to beautify, promote attractiveness, alter appearance or cleanse; they are not approved by FDA for sale.
And I can tell you that it is no different in the EU.
Cosmeceutical isn´t a legal term, and anyone can print it on their label. A little disappointing, hm?
Are cosmeceutical products worth the extra money?
As we learned above, anyone can call their product a cosmeceutical, there is no standard you have to uphold.
I mean, if I had a laboratory, I could bottle up some water, mix in some lavender oil and sell it to you as a cosmeceutical. (Even as a doctors brand, ha!) It would be a cosmeceutical product because I call it like that, but it would surely not be worth the money.
But that doesn´t mean that they never are worth the money either. Just like any other skin care products, cosmeceuticals can be extremely well formulated and contain a great blend of ingredients that can do wonders for your skin.
You just need to be careful which ones you pick.
How do I pick the right cosmeceutical product?
Just like you would choose any other product for your skin: By knowing what your skin needs and which ingredients you need to achieve healthy skin. (If you need some guidance, check out „When should I start using anti-aging products“ and „How to build a basic skincare routine„).
Where can I buy cosmeceutical products?
In theory, you could buy them anywhere. In reality though, cosmeceuticals tend to be sold either in dermatologists offices, in cosmetic institutes or in pharmacies.
And while the first two aren´t always easy to shop, a pharmacy these days is just a few clicks away. If you check out Shop Apotheke, it offers a variety of beauty products as well as both prescription and over the counter drugs, all available 24 hours a day.
Do I need cosmeceutical products in my routine?
What you need are well formulated skincare products, and to achieve that it doesn´t matter what is printed on the label.
As I said in the introduction, there is no valid reason to spending extra on cosmeceuticals. Will that stop me from doing it in the future? Probably not. But I will pay extra attention to the ingredient list to make sure there is at least something worth cashing out for.
How about you?