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From Dr Ginni: What Is The Difference Between Cosmeceutical And “Normal” Skincare? Why Is This An Important Difference?

The ESK blog

From Dr Ginni: What Is The Difference Between Cosmeceutical And “Normal” Skincare? Why Is This An Important Difference?

22 July 2021


Cosmeceutical was a clever mix of the terms “Cosmetic” and “Pharmaceutical”. In short, it describes a cosmetic product (rather than medical)  that has some medical or therapeutic benefit – the “Pharmaceutical” part. At Evidence Skincare (E.S.K), we make Cosmeceutical skincare. 

With the discovery of active ingredients which could actually exert some real change to the skin, it makes sense to try and distinguish between skincare that was:

  1. Formulated to be effective 
  2. Formulated to feel nice, but without ingredients that make a difference to the skin 

The problem with the term “Cosmeceutical” is that it is not regulated and it has been corrupted by misleading marketing

While there are quite a few brands that describe themselves as cosmeceutical, but most of them don’t actually have ingredients which have good scientific evidence

We started Evidence Skincare (E.S.K) skincare because we wanted to formulate the most effective skincare and because we could not find any brands that formulated their products according to the best available scientific evidence. Evidence and efficacyare key to how we wanted to set ESK’s products apart from “normal” skincare.



We analysed 739 different products commonly found in shops nationwide, to review which products will be effective. This is what we found:

  • 1 in 6 products labelled themselves as “cosmeceutical” (that’s 130 products on the shelves)
  • Only 1% had ingredients and formulations with good evidence – that’s 11 products!

99% of products either made no cosmeceutical suggestion or had ingredients that do not have evidence of effectiveness!


There are a lot of terms used in the market that convey that a product is effective. 

None of these actually mean that there is evidence that the ingredient or product in question works. Questionable terms include: 

  • “Dermatologically Tested”: There is no qualification for this and it does not mean it’s been tested for effectiveness. It can mean ‘squirted out of a bottle in a Dermatology clinic’ and nothing more. 
  • “Scientifically Proven”: Does not necessarily mean it is proven to work on human skin. Might mean that an ingredient was shown to work on a mushroom (which is one way that depigmentation ingredients are tested to determine their tyrosinase inhibition capacity!). 
  • “Clinically Tested”: It only means it has been tested in a clinic. It does specify what it was tested for. To this day, I have never seen a company indicate the results of the test after they use the term “Clinically tested”. 
  • “Medical Grade”: No real meaning. It is supposed to communicate that something is effective, but it is a marketing term without scientific meaning. 

So when we say that E.S.K is a Cosmeceutical in the top 1% of skincare it is because our products are formulated to be effective, based on the evidence from respected, peer reviewed  medical journals. Try ESK and see what Evidence Skincare can do for your skin, with our 21 day Money Back Guarantee


Ginni xx