The aging population and a desire to maintain a youthful appearance have propelled the recent surge in the U.S. cosmeceuticals market. The rapidly growing number of products claiming to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, decrease redness, smooth texture, and fade discoloration has lead to much confusion and misinformation among dermatologists and consumers alike. Cosmeceuticals can be a useful adjunct to prescription medications and office procedures. Therefore, it behooves us as dermatologists to understand the science behind these products to better educate ourselves and our patients. We present an update of the following categories of cosmeceuticals: antioxidants, growth factors, peptides, anti-inflammatories/botanicals, polysaccharides, and pigment-lightening agents.

Semin Cutan Med Surg 25:163-168 © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

It is important for dermatologists to understand the theoretical mechanisms of action of cosmeceuticals. Such information will enable dermatologists to be better equipped to help patients navigate the often muddy waters of the evergrowing sea of products and to manage realistic expectations as they consider adding cosmeceuticals to their skin care regimen.

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