Cosmeceutical companies have a long history of conducting in-house studies, and using subjective before and after photos as legitimate research. Physicians have been calling on these companies to conduct more objective research for years. Finally, dermatologists and cosmeceutical companies are working together to conduct more legitimate research.
This is great news for dermatologists, plastic surgeons and patients. Providing physicians with independent research is absolutely critical for ensuring the right cosmeceutical is chosen for each patient. Ellen S. Marmur, M.D., the vice chairwoman of cosmetic and dermatologic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, has long been calling for cosmeceutical companies to conduct more objective research. She recognizes that choosing the best cosmeceutical products for her patients means analyzing objective data and researching in peer-reviewed journals.
Another advocate for more objective cosmeceutical research is Michael H. Gold, M.D., who is the medical director of Gold Skin Care Center and holds various respected teaching positions. Ultimately, physicians should have all of the necessary data to make informed decisions about which cosmeceutical products are right for their patients.
Advanced research in retinoid products has shown some promising results. One 12-week study shows that Tri-Retinol Complex ES (retinol, retinol palpitate, retinol acetate; SkinMedica) has shown an efficacy equivalent to tretinoin cream 0.025 percent. Photodamage symptoms have been reduced by an average of 40 percent by Retriderm Serum Ultra (retinol, Biopelle) according to a recent study. Dr. Gold points out that the only retinaldehyde-based cosmeceutical on the U.S. market is Rétrinal. He notes that there is a considerable amount of credible research for this cosmeceutical, even though it has been conducted primarily by its manufacturer. It has been shown to prevent and reverse visible signs of aging with little irritation.
I agree overall with the article that cosmeceutical companies have been able to make relatively outrageous claims regarding their products and the improvements that they can provide. I think that more objective research is warranted due to the fact that these cosmeceuticals do have active molecules that can theoretically be quite helpful at improving a patient’s skin. Unfortunately, without objective data it is difficult for physicians to feel confident in recommending cosmeceutical products to their patients. It is interesting to see over the past 10 years or so the changes that the skin care world has really undergone. Essentially historically very potential active molecules were used in pharmaceutical-grade skin care lines and now it seems that more and more are going towards less aggressive treatments but combining them with growth factors and peptides to improve the efficacy of these less harsh products. This overall allows patients to safely and comfortably improve their skin without the significant side effects that some of the higher strength skin care lines come with.