The Benefits of Cosmeceuticals: Natural Sources for Healthy Skincare

This article explores the benefits of cosmeceuticals and their natural sources for healthy skin. Learn about the various biomolecules derived from plants that provide superior qualities to cosmetics and discover ongoing research being conducted in Mexico on the topic.

The Benefits of Cosmeceuticals: Natural Sources for Healthy Skincare
Natural sources like chamomile, mint, and rose oil contribute to the maintenance of healthy skin through the use of cosmeceuticals. Image by Monfocus from Pixabay

Since the skin is the body's largest organ, it is constantly exposed to things that can hurt it, such as ultraviolet light, pollution, stress, a bad diet, and not getting enough rest. But a large number of people worry about how hard it is to keep their skin looking healthy.

On the market, you can find a wide range of skincare products, such as creams, sunscreens, serums, gels, powders, and tonics. These products act as adjuvants to keep skin hydrated and fresh, reduce wrinkles, spots, and scars, and, most importantly, protect it from UV damage.

Some of these products are often regulated as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, or dermatological products. However, there is a concept called "cosmeceutical", which emerged in the 1970s, and refers to a topical product that is not cosmetic; neither is it a drug, but a mixture of excipients, moisturizers, and bioactive molecules usually derived from plants that provide superior qualities to that of a cosmetic, without being aimed at the treatment of pathology, as is the case with a drug.

Most of the time, these cosmeceuticals try to block the sun's rays or act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to treat spots and wrinkles, repair fibers like collagen and elastin, exfoliate, and moisturize, just to name a few things. Cosmeceuticals have these effects because they contain extracts or isolated molecules. These molecules can be made in a lab or taken from medicinal plants.

Some of the plants that contribute to the maintenance of the skin are ornamental, medicinal, or nutritional. For example, chamomile has flavonoids and phenolic acids, licorice root has triterpenes and almost 300 flavonoids, mint has essential oils like menthol and neomenthol, and rose oil has a lot of -citronellol, -nonadecanol, -geraniol, and -flavonoids. Soybean oil, citrus oil, aloe vera, avocado oil, ginseng, pomegranate, tea tree, green tea, calendula, oats, Hedera helix, neem oil, turmeric, and a few other things are also good sources of these biomolecules.

Among the most studied molecules for skin care are phenolic compounds, especially phenolic acids (ellagic acid, p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid), flavonoids (quercetin, luteolin, apigenin, kaempferol, oleuropein, genistein catechins), stilbenes (resveratrol, oxiresveratrol), coumarins, chalcones (kuraridin, licochalcone A, morachalcone A, floridzin), hydroquinones, tannins (florotannins), bioactive peptides, alkaloids (boldine, ergothioneine, niacinamide, shinorin), vitamins (C, E), terpenes (ginsenosides), essential oils, carotenoids (zeaxanthin, fucozanthin, lutein, astaxanthin), proteins (collagen), fatty acids such as omegas and polymers (hyaluronic acid, chitosan, polysaccharides from fungi such as Ganoderma lucidum), among an endless number of metabolites that have yet to be elucidated in nature.

Mexico has a lot of natural products and researches them. It also has public research centers that work with the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt), like the Center for Research in Food and Development (CIAD), the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatan (CICY), the Center for Research and Assistance in Technology and Development (Ciatej), and the Center for Scientific Research of Yucatan (CICY). This is why it's important to save Mexico's native and autochthonous natural resources by learning more about them so they can be used in industry and highlighting the social impact by making new and better economies for the Mexican people.

At the moment, research is being done in the Laboratory of Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals of CIAD, Regional Coordination Culiacan, with medicinal plants as adjuvants in the treatment of different diseases, including the health of the skin through the creation of cosmeceuticals. Barbara Cuevas and Alfonso Jimenez, who are both graduate students, will carry out the research projects. For more information, please contact the students or Dr. J. Basilio Heredia, head of the laboratory.

Full Citation: Prensa y Colaboradores, Oficina de. “Cosmecéuticos: Una Alternativa De Cuidado De La Piel - Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD).” Centro De Investigación En Alimentación Y Desarrollo (CIAD), 16 Feb. 2023,