Nivea, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Loreal, Elemis and Clarins are examples over-the-counter or ‘cosmetic‘ skincare brands. These are stocked over-the-counter in pharmacies or shops, like Boots or Brown Thomas, and anyone can go in and pick one up. Cosmeceutical skincare brands, on the other hand, are stocked in skin clinics. Some examples include Skinceuticals, Image, AlumierMD, ASAP Skincare, Glo Skin Beauty and Environ.
What effect does a skincare product have on the skin?
Ingredients like Salicylic acid, L-ascorbic acid, Retinol, Hyaluronic acid are needed to improve the health of our skin cells. Clinical studies show that we need these ingredients at certain pH levels and certain percentages to work. A cosmeceutical product is usually developed with pharmaceutical-grade ingredients at a clinically proven percentage.
So, an AlumierMD serum for example contains enough Retinol or L-ascorbic acid to change the skin cells and give results! Whereas, a Clarins or Vichy serum, contains no active ingredients (or contain a very low percentage of active ingredients) and therefore, will do nothing for the skin in terms of anti-ageing, acne treatment, oil control etc. This serum will just sit on top of the skin and smell or feel nice.
If you want to control breakouts or prevent lines and wrinkles you need ingredients like retinol or salicylic acid at appropriate percentages which will not be in a product that you can pick up Tesco or Boots.
I hope this helps you to understand the difference between cosmetic skincare and cosmeceutical skincare. You can see and shop some of my preferred cosmeceutical brands here. If you need some help choosing products to suit you feel free to get in contact.