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Cosmeceutical therapies on the horizon

Article-Cosmeceutical therapies on the horizon

LAS VEGAS―In a presentation at the Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference held on Saturday in Las Vegas, Diane Berson, M.D., a private practice dermatologist in New York City, outlined trends and new ingredients in oral and topical cosmeceuticals.

“On a global level there is increased interest in alternative products with anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and hydration benefits,” she said. “There’s also interest in topical cannabinoids which are derived from cannabis plants, although there have been no human studies, some patients like using them, just like with the botanicals.”

Heparan sulphate is a recently introduced topical ingredient that promotes growth factors, collagen and elastin, so it’s one ingredient to look for in products used at bed time. Stem cell activator products are now beginning to be used, but these mostly activate stem cells in the hair follicle.

She expects to see estrogen analog ingredients soon for anti-aging, in products that will mimic estrogen to stimulate collagen, but without the side effects.

New generation retinoids which are less irritating and can be combined with other ingredients to suit sensitive skin are now coming on the market. One new formulation is tretinion lotion, which will make it very well tolerated.

For pigment lightening, the traditional treatment has been hydroquinone, but two new ones are tranexamic acid that can be used for chronic melasma, and other is cysteamine hydrochloride for persistent melasma and hyper pigmentation. Tranexemic acid is typically used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding or blood loss from surgery, and cysteamine hydrochloride is used to treat cystinosis, but they are now being adapted for skin care.

Some new sunscreen products like one developed in Spain come with DNA repair enzymes that are added to creams, to repair damage from ultra violet radiation.

There are a couple new oral supplements. One is a plant-based antioxidant that helps prevent sun damage, and the other is Vitamin B3 niacinamide to help reduce new skin cancers.

Dr. Berson pointed out that now there’s concern not just about sun damage, but also pollution effects which can accelerate premature aging of the skin, which is another reason why products with antioxidants are so popular.

A range of new products also target specific populations. For mature skin as people age and live longer, there are now more products to keep skin hydrated and prevent or reduce bruising. These products typically have Vitamin K and arnica for bruising. Other products target millenials to prevent aging, and men’s skin care.

“We as dermatologists need to understand what the products can do so we can give better advice for conditions that range from dryness to redness to discoloration, aging, excess facial hair growth, and acne,” she said.


Berson, D. (2018). Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference, Las Vegas. October 20, 2018. Cosmeceutical Tips.