The Cosmeceutical Difference

 It can be so difficult navigating the world of skincare products, especially when there are so many brands out there making so many strong claims about the efficacy of their products. You may have heard the term 'cosmeceutical' used when referring to clinical skincare before, but what does it mean?

In NZ and many other countries, there are strong regulations surrounding the potency of ingredients in skincare and where they can be sold/who they can be sold to. Cosmeceutical skincare's regulations sit in between Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals, as it is considered a cosmetic product with medical benefits.

Here's a break down of each category so you can understand the difference:

Cosmetic Skincare

  • Is limited to containing a maximum of 2% active ingredients 
  • Is unable to penetrate through the outer-most layer of the epidermis
  • Often referred to as “over the counter” as it can be sold in supermarkets, pharmacies (including Chemist Warehouse), department stores (Farmers and all brands sold at Mecca and Sephora) where no professional guidance is required for purchase.
  • Anyone can purchase it without guidance

Cosmeceutical Skincare

  • Can contain up to 70% of active ingredients
  • Can penetrate down to the basal cell layer of the dermis (deepest layer of skin cells) to communicate with skin cells and improve cellular function
  • Is only sold at registered skin clinics with a professional’s guidance and recommendation to ensure client safety (including all the brands sold at Silk Space)

Pharmaceutical Skincare

  • No limitation on potency of ingredients- can contain up to 100%
  • Can penetrate down to the basal cell layer of the dermis and in some cases even the blood stream
  • Must be prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist 
  • Generally prescribed for short term use

When dealing with skin concerns such as acne, pigmentation, anti ageing, sensitivity, rosacea, texture etc the goal is to create enough cellular change within the skin that the problem stays away long term. 

Cosmetic skincare lines can make the skin feel good at the time application. This is because they contain many “filler” ingredients such as fragrances, colours and preservatives that make up 98% of the remaining formulation. These temporarily make the skin feel good, improve product texture and make them smell lovely, however the strength of these products only allows for penetration of the top most layer of skin cells. So where the root of the problem lies within the deeper levels of the skin, remains untouched.

Through the use of cosmeceuticals, you can trust that the ingredients have enough strength to reach the basal layer of your skin and treat live skin cells and correct skin concerns

When looking after an organ as important and as vital as the skin, you also want to know that the ingredients being applied have been formulated in way so that our body can use them effectively. Cosmeceutical skincare companies focus on investing their money not into marketing like most cosmetic brands, but into the research and testing of ingredients. Ingredients used are therefore chirally-corrected, biocompatible and stable to ensure that they are easily penetrated by the skin and less likely to cause irritation or be rejected. The overall formulation of these products also contain a pH is that is safe for the skin and delivery systems/technology to boost efficacy and absorption of ingredients by the skin.


So to put it simply... if you want to TREAT and IMPROVE your skin, you need to be using skin care of a Cosmeceutical grade!


To get the most out of your cosmeceutical skincare routine, you should follow the advice of a registered skin therapist to ensure that you are using the correct ingredients suited to your skin type as well as skin goals.

 As always, if you're wanting to know more or have any questions, get in touch!







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