If you’re after real, lasting results from your skincare regime, cosmeceuticals are the way to go.

10 July 2019

Get Real Results from Your Skin Care Regime with Cosmeceuticals

Cosmeceuticals, it’s not a term that many people in Ireland are familiar with. However, if you want to see real, lasting results from your skin care regime, you need to be working with cosmeceuticals. You can think of cosmeceuticals are cosmetics serious, more effective big brother. They are certainly not the same thing, but they are related. In today’s Blog we explain the difference so that you can make the right decision for you.

If you think of the term cosmetic, it means to make something look better, it deals with surface appearances rather than structural change.  That’s precisely what cosmetics do. They work on the surface level of the skin to make the outer layers look as good as possible. However, if you are looking for structural changes deep within your skin that will improve the overall quality of your skin, when you reach for a cosmetic you will be disappointed every time. They are not made to do this type of work.

What exactly are Cosmeceuticals?

Cosmeceuticals are a type of cosmetic that lies mid-way between cosmetic and medication. They always have an active ingredient which works at the structural layer of the skin, these are not included at the level which would require a doctor’s prescription.

The Main Differences Between Cosmeceuticals & Cosmetics - Where They Work

Cosmetics are a type of product which works on the surface of the skin. They clean, polish, moisturise and perfume the epidermis to keep it looking fresh and radiant. A cosmetic must not pass through the epidermis into the dermis as they are sold with no guidance on how they ought to be used and so could cause adverse reactions in many people.

Cosmeceuticals, however, are supposed to cross from the epidermis into the dermis because this is where cellular change occurs. While a cosmeceutical will clean or moisturise the surface layer of your skin, generally, they are not highly perfumed as this is not the main aim of the product. They want to get straight to the deeper levels of the skin and get to work.


Plenty of cosmetics now come with active ingredients, but not all do. However, to be licensed as a cosmetic, the active ingredient must be at a level that cannot penetrate the upper levels of the skin.

Cosmeceuticals, on the other hand, must have an active ingredient and ensure that it is at a concentration high enough to effect change within the deeper levels of the skin. Cosmeceuticals must also have a proven way of delivering the active ingredient to the dermis where it can deliver noticeable results.  

 Effect on the Skin

As you can see, the effect on the skin will be different between cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. While cosmetics work at the surface level, they will make the top layer of skin look great. However, they cannot work at a cellular level to deliver long-lasting improvements in the condition of your skin.

Cosmeceuticals are scientifically proven to deliver long-lasting positive results in the condition of the skin.

Where You Can Purchase Them

Cosmetics are widely available. They span a large range from inexpensive moisturisers you can pick up for €3 up to high-end brands which sell for in the region of €80 to €100. However, a large price tag does not change the effect of a cosmetic. It will still work at a surface level.

Cosmeceuticals are less readily available.

They can be purchased only with advice on their proper use from those qualified in the area of skincare. You will find cosmeceuticals in our own Skin Clinic as well as at beauticians, spas and dermatologists. They should always be sold with guidance on their safe and appropriate use for your individual skin type.

There is certainly a place for both cosmetics and cosmeceuticals. However, each person should make the right decision for themselves once they understand how each works. We hope that this blog post has helped demystify the difference somewhat.

We stock a number of ranges of cosmeceuticals, including Zo Skin Health and Image Skincare which we use in some of our treatments and which we offer for at home use. At Renew Skin Clinic, every consultation with a nurse begins with a thorough examination of your skin and a chat about what you hope to achieve. Only then, with your specific needs in mind do we recommend a treatment plan or the use of appropriate cosmeceuticals.

Contact your local Renew Skin Clinic today to book a consultation and discover what cosmeceuticals will work best to deliver the results you want to see in your mirror.