Natural Cosmeceuticals

Several botanicals with a history of use in traditional cultures have entered the growing cosmeceuticals market. With fewer potential side effects and the added advantage of multifunctionality, these natural-based cosmeceuticals are increasingly being used in mainstream cosmetic products. Spice extractives, for example, have a long history of use in personal care products as aroma constituents, facilitating brand identity and aesthetic appeal. It is only recently that mainstream personal care products focus on the cosmeceutical benefits of such ingredients, and the goodness of ginger, mint, cinnamon, pepper and other spices is no longer limited to their sensory characteristics alone. Such spices represent the new image of the “healthy and natural” in personal care. In addition, lipids play an important role in maintaining the barrier functions of the skin, providing structural integrity to the skin damaged by external influences, and are anti-inflammatory, among other beneficial activities. Lipid compounds that provide an occlusive effect to prevent water loss, repair lipid layers and restore barrier functions are, therefore, an integral part of antiaging formulations.

Bioactive peptide technology—inherent in ingredients such as Matrixyl (a branded palmitoyl oligopeptide)—has made a mark in antiaging skin care products, in the wake of the increased demand for Botox alternatives that lift and smooth aged skin and the runaway success of these products. Nutrients such as vitamin A and derivatives, vitamin B-5, vitamin C and derivatives, and vitamin E and derivatives also find versatile uses in personal care products.

A wide range of natural actives are available for use in antiaging topical formulations. It is important, however, that the ingredients selected are amenable to formulation and do not damage the appearance, texture and general acceptability of conventional cosmetic compositions. These requirements often pose challenges, necessitating careful application-oriented research to facilitate the development of innovative extracts from traditionally used botanicals.