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"Cosmeceuticals" and "dermocosmetics" - a unique category of skin care products or a plain marketing trick?

Sabina Zofia Rzeznik, Katarzyna Kordus, Radoslaw Spiewak

Recommended citation format: Rzeznik SZ, Kordus K, Spiewak R: "Kosmeceutyki" i "dermokosmetyki" - unikalna kategoria produktow do pielegnacji skory czy zwykly chwyt marketingowy? Estetol Med Kosmetol 2012; 2 (4): 101-103.


People with skin problems are frequently encouraged to use "cosmeceuticals" and "dermocosmetics" available from chemists' shops, with producers trying to convince the consumers that products referred to in this way would be more like therapeutic drugs, rather than "ordinary" cosmetics. The aim of this study was to analyse the genesis and meaning of the terms "cosmeceutical" and "dermocosmetic", as well as their legal standing in the light of Polish and international law. Material and methods: A review of scientific literature and legal regulations relevant to the discussed topics. Results: The term "cosmeceutical" was proposed by Reeds in 1961 and propagated by Kligman. According to these authors, a "cosmeceutical" is a cosmetic product that influences the physiological processes in the skin and supports the therapy of skin diseases. The term "dermocosmetics" was used for the first time in the indexed scientific literature by Selles et al. in 1990. One of the popular definitions states that a "dermocosmetic" is a special product dedicated to strictly-defined skin problems in strictly-defined skin types, which is engineered in collaboration with dermatologists and distributed only via chemists' shops. The terms "cosmeceuticals" and "dermocosmetics" are not legally defined in any country, which leaves room for misunderstanding and misuse. Conclusions: The terms "cosmeceuticals" and "dermocosmetics" are absent from the present legal order; moreover, they also seem to belong to the realm of marketing rather than science. Products sold under these appellations are neither safer, nor more effective than "ordinary" cosmetics. Therefore, products marketed as "cosmeceuticals" and "dermocosmetics" should be regarded with due scepticism and criticism.

Keywords: cosmeceuticals, dermocosmetics, cosmetics, chemists' shop, pharmacy, medicinal drug, legal definitions, marketing

| Reprint (PDF) | Streszczenie | DOI: 10.14320/EMK.2012.021

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Portal służy udostępnianiu elektronicznej wersji czasopisma Estetologia Medyczna i Kosmetologia
Open Access, online ISSN 2084-2007; print ISSN 2084-199X, DOI:
Wydawca udziela zgody na korzystanie z tego serwisu wyłącznie pod warunkiem akceptacji regulaminu korzystania z serwisu oraz respektowania praw autorskich
© Radosław Śpiewak Instytut Dermatologii (kontakt)
Document created: 5 December 2012, last updated: 9 October 2013