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Cosmetic Hybrids Create Confusion Among Consumers

By: Katie Schaefer
Posted: October 13, 2008

Cosmeceuticals, one of the first cosmetic hybrids to arrive on the scene, have been drawing attention since their inception. Merriam-Webster defines a cosmeceutical as, “A preparation having both cosmetic and pharmaceutical properties,” but anyone in the cosmetic industry knows that a true cosmeticeutical is a little more specific. To truly define the term, one must reference the individual responsible for coining the term, Albert Kligman MD, PhD, physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Kligman first conceived the term to indicate a topical preparation that is sold as a cosmetic but is able to benefit the skin like a pharmaceutical.

Nutraceuticals may not be a cosmetic hybrid, but because of the recently created nutricosmetics, they are becoming more and more related to the cosmetic industry. The term nutraceutical is often associated with Stephen DeFelice, MD, who defined the term in 1989 as, “A nutraceutical is any substance that is a food or a part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease.” DeFelice went on to say that the definition could also include a bio-engineered vegetable food or a functional food.

New to the scene of cosmetic hybrids are nutricosmetics. Shyam Gupta, PhD, president of Bioderm research and director of R&D for Arizona Natural Resources has reported, “Nutricosmetics are an emerging class of health and beauty aid products. They combine the benefits of nutraceutical ingredients with the elegance, skin feel and delivery systems of cosmetics. Nutricosmetics and cosmeceuticals thus differ in the origin of their functional ingredients. Nutraceutical ingredients formulated in cosmetic delivery systems constitute nutricosmetics, whereas cosmeceuticals are cosmetics formulated with pharmaceutical-type ingredients. The nutraceutical ingredients-based topical delivery systems can be formulated as functional cosmetics (nutricosmetics) to complement the efficacy of their ingestion-based counterparts."

In the future, it is almost certain that new cosmetic hybrids will be introduced. Although this article attempts to define some of the main cross-sections of cosmetics and other industries, it is by no means a be-all-end-all. Tomorrow a new delivery system combination could determine a new category, and it is probably already in the works.