Understanding Performance Cosmetic Ingredients

The Naked Chemist is all about transparency in beauty.

You could be forgiven for being overwhelmed, by the sheer number of ingredients within the cosmetic industry.

Cosmetic preparations are designed to cleanse, protect and change the appearance of your skin in some way.

The main ingredients present in most cosmetics include water, emulsifiers, botanical oils, thickeners and emollients,

There are two groups of cosmetic chemicals, used in formulations that we look at below, helping you understand how ingredients found in your skincare products work.

Types of cosmetics used within formulations

Functional cosmetic ingredients

These are cosmetic ingredients used to help the product spread and preserve, which affect the feel and look of a product. A spreading agent such as an emulsion is a functional ingredient. Parabens and preservatives are also considered functional agents.

Performance cosmetic ingredients

These ingredients help to create physiological changes within your skin tissues. For example, an antioxidant cream that claims to prevent premature ageing, making skin smoother, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles is a cosmetic claim. In this case, the antioxidants would be the performance agents.

Performance versus functional

Some chemists argue that performance ingredients are the most important ingredient in cosmetic chemistry because they benefit the skin directly, whilst other companies exploit the role of functional ingredients, using only minimal quantities to exploit the claims that these ingredients make, Rosehip seed oil is a good example of such an ingredient.

Whilst yes, we agree that every skincare product should contain several active ingredients to get results, functional ingredients also have their place in cosmetic science, because their delivery system directly affects product penetration. Liposomes are a good example of this; they are encapsulated to protect performance ingredients such as Antioxidants; these can be found in our Bio lipid complex a unique, barrer restoring oil.

Their role is to protect these delicate ingredients, preventing them from becoming oxidized, so that they can be delivered to the skin whilst at their most potent.

For further reading on this subject, you may find the following article useful, which gives a detailed breakdown of cosmetic formulas and they’re application on the skin.

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