Lab notes
Starting Your Cosmeceutical Journey

Starting Your Cosmeceutical Journey

Our top tips in getting started with cosmeceuticals and what to expect along the way

What is a Cosmeceutical?

The word cosmeceutical combines cosmetics and pharmaceutical, beauty and science coming together to create products for you with a medical and results-driven background. 

Why are Cosmeceuticals so special? 

Cosmeceuticals contain an effective amount of the active ingredient to achieve visible results in the skin. They often contain more sophisticated delivery systems to allow these active ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin better to target the relevant cells. For example, collagen is created in the fibroblasts which sit within the deeper layer of the skin (known as the dermis), therefore any product which is designed to stimulate collagen production would need to absorb right into the dermis to take effect. 

The difference between a cosmetic and a cosmeceutical?

Cosmetics can be purchased by anyone and are generally safe to use without much instruction. Cosmeceuticals however are often sold by professionals and need some guidance before use to achieve the desired result. Because of the high percentage of active ingredients, if not used correctly they can have an adverse reaction on the skin. 

What to expect when adding cosmeceuticals to your routine

If you are just starting out on your cosmeceuticals journey, there are a number of things to consider in order to get the best out of your new routine. Here are our 4 top tips in getting started with cosmeceuticals.

  1. Cosmeceuticals should be introduced gradually

Any exfoliating cosmeceuticals such as retinol, acids, and high percentage vitamin c need to be added gradually to reduce irritation to the skin. Due to the higher percentage of active ingredients, adding daily with no introduction can have a tendency to create an adverse effect on the skin such as tingling, redness, dryness and flaking. When you introduce actives gradually the duration and the severity of the initial shock to the skin is minimised. Start with applying 1-2x week for the first couple of weeks, gradually building up to daily/nightly use over the course of 4-6 weeks.

  1. Skin Purging is normal

Skin purging is caused by an active ingredient that has caused an increase in the skin's cellular turnover process. Skin cells are shedding and being replaced at a faster rate than normal. In order for these new cells to be pushed to the top, everything in-between including sebum, dead skin and build-up has to be purged or moved out of the skin. This action of change is very good for the skin but can leave you with a temporary phase of increased breakouts. Breakouts from purging can look different for everyone and can range from cyst, blackheads, whiteheads or small red papules. These are different from regular breakouts as they clear up quickly and do not become a regular skin concern. The process of purging can take 4-6 weeks (one full skin cycle) to resolve. It's like the old saying “it will get worse before it gets better” relates to skin purging. Yes! It is difficult to experience a breakout at any time, we know, but at least with purging there is a purpose behind the breakouts and when your skin is done purging it will look and feel better. 

It is tempting to stop the use of the product that is causing the purge, it's our first natural instinct, however, we need to persevere and continue for 2-3 skin cycles before we start seeing visible results in the skin. This is why it is important to have guidance from a licensed skincare expert who can support you through this initial phase. 

  1. Results take time

It takes one full skin cycle for the outer layer of skin (epidermis) to fully renew and start seeing results in your skin. A skin cycle starts in our youth at around 4 weeks and gradually slows with age to 6 and even 8 weeks. It takes 2-3 skin cycles to start seeing the full benefit of a new skincare routine. Consistency is everything when beginning a cosmeceutical journey! The active ingredient needs to be applied consistently and continuously to achieve results. This requires you to take an active role in making your new cosmeceutical part of your skincare routine, this allows the product to work properly and you get to experience the benefits. Patience is important in skincare and the process can be slow but worth it. 

  1. Be careful which actives you combine

Yes you can use more than one cosmeceutical, but with caution. Many active ingredients pair very well together such as vitamin c (AM) and retinol (PM) or hyaluronic acid and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). We would recommend only using one active ingredient initially, choosing one for your morning routine, and one for your evening to avoid layering them. Some can be layered very well (e.g. retinol & niacinamide), but if you are new to cosmeceutical skincare, we’d suggest keeping it simple to begin with. Layering too many products or over-exfoliating the skin can disrupt the natural skin barrier which is all important for skin health. 

Cosmeceuticals can be skin-changing! You don’t have to go on this journey alone. Reach out to one of Renude’s licensed skincare experts and they will happily guide you on your journey. Start your online consultation here