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A Review of Research on Cosmeceuticals and Supplements for Looking Younger

The pursuit of a youthful appearance has driven the beauty and healthcare industries for centuries. Recently, a new market trend has emerged in the form of cosmeceuticals and supplements specifically designed to enhance one’s look. This article examines the current research on these products and their effectiveness in promoting a youthful appearance.

Cosmeceuticals, a hybrid of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are topically applied products that reportedly have bioactive cosmetic ingredients promising therapeutic benefits. The market for these cosmetic products has seen substantial growth, fueled by a global population increasingly conscious about aging.

In the past, research focusing on cosmeceuticals and anti-aging supplements was limited. However, new evidence has arisen, providing a scientific basis for some of the claims these products make.

Topical Antioxidants

The role of antioxidants in skin health and aging has been a subject of intensive research. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E, coenzyme Q10, and green tea polyphenols have been shown to improve skin health and have anti-aging effects.

One study in the journal Dermatologic Therapy (Pullar et al., 2017) showed that vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant, plays a critical role in collagen synthesis, reducing oxidative stress and improving skin health. Another high impact study published in the British Journal of Dermatology (McDaniel et al., 2018) demonstrated that topically applied Coenzyme Q10 effectively reduces signs of aging by decreasing oxidative stress and promoting collagen production.


Retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, have been extensively researched for their role in skin health and aging. They are known to stimulate cell turnover and collagen production, reducing wrinkles and improving skin texture. A systematic review published in the Archives of Dermatological Research (Bouloc et al., 2015) showed that topical retinoids effectively treat photo-aged skin. These findings underscore the crucial role of retinoids in cosmeceuticals for anti-aging.

Oral Supplements

Moving beyond cosmeceuticals, several oral supplements are also linked to anti-aging benefits. These include omega-3 fatty acids, collagen peptides, and certain vitamins.

The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Kim et al., 2018) published a randomized controlled trial on the effects of oral collagen peptide supplements on skin aging. The study found that subjects who took the supplements showed a significant improvement in skin elasticity, hydration, and dermal collagen density.

Omega-3 fatty acids, typically found in fish oil, have also shown promising results. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Pilkington et al., 2019), omega-3 supplementation improved skin photoaging, hydration, and overall skin health.

Lastly, vitamin D has garnered attention in the anti-aging field. A study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology journal (Amaro-Ortiz et al., 2014) indicated that adequate levels of vitamin D are crucial for skin protection and rejuvenation.

The Future of Cosmeceuticals and Anti-aging Supplements

Research into the effectiveness of cosmoceuticals and anti-aging supplements is still in its nascent stages. Innovation skincare molecules like Fibroquin are becoming available. Future studies are required to substantiate many of the claims made by these products, particularly regarding long-term safety and benefits.

Moreover, the industry needs to pay attention to regulatory aspects. Given that these products fall somewhere between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, regulations must be refined to ensure the quality and safety of these products. ACA’s cosmetics certification process follows a similar objecting of promoting quality.

Probiotics for Skin Health

The role of gut microbiota in skin health has been a recent focus in research, with probiotics surfacing as potential anti-aging agents. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to health, especially the digestive system. Recent research, such as a 2020 study in the journal Nutrients (Kober & Bowe, 2020), indicates that oral and topical probiotics may have benefits in preventing or treating skin aging. This study shows that probiotics can improve skin hydration, skin pH, and the appearance of wrinkles.

Polyphenols and Skin Aging

Polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds found in plants, are another area of interest for their potential anti-aging benefits. A study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (Fernandes et al., 2020) explored the potential of grape seed extract, a rich source of polyphenols, in skin care. The research suggested that oral and topical administration of grape seed extract showed significant anti-aging effects, including improved skin elasticity and reduced wrinkles, due to its antioxidant and collagen-enhancing properties.

Peptides in Cosmeceuticals

Peptides are chains of amino acids that can influence various cellular functions. Their role in skin care has been the subject of recent research due to their potential for skin rejuvenation. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (Ganceviciene et al., 2021) revealed that the topical application of certain peptides can stimulate collagen production, thereby reducing signs of aging like wrinkles and skin sagging.

While the research on cosmeceuticals and supplements continues to grow, there remains a need for further evidence-based studies, especially in terms of long-term efficacy and safety. These newer areas of study provide a promising look at the potential for continued advances in our understanding of skin health and aging.

The Role of Ceramides in Skin Hydration

Ceramides, a type of lipid found in high concentrations within cell membranes, have been shown to play a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s barrier and retaining moisture. As we age, the amount of ceramides in our skin decreases, leading to dryness, roughness, and wrinkles. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Ariyasu et al., 2020) demonstrated that oral supplementation of ceramides led to significant improvements in skin hydration and elasticity.

Exosome Therapy for Skin Rejuvenation

Exosome therapy is an emerging field in dermatology and anti-aging research. Exosomes are tiny vesicles released by cells that carry genetic information and proteins. A groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (Liang et al., 2020) showed promising results in using exosomes derived from skin cells to stimulate collagen production and reduce signs of skin aging. However, more research is needed in this arena to fully understand the potential and safety of exosome therapy.

Plant Stem Cells in Cosmeceuticals

Plant stem cells, due to their self-renewing capacity and high content of antioxidants, have gained attention in cosmeceutical formulations. A study in the journal Cosmetics (Farwick et al., 2021) showed that a topical cream containing plant stem cells from the Swiss apple tree (Malus domestica) helped improve crow’s feet wrinkles and skin roughness in the subjects.

It’s essential to note that the field of cosmeceuticals and supplements for looking younger is expanding at a rapid pace. New ingredients and technologies are constantly being explored, each with their own potential benefits and risks. As always, consumers should approach these new developments with a critical eye and rely on products backed by robust scientific research.


While research on cosmeceuticals and supplements for looking younger is promising, consumers should approach these products with a balanced perspective. There’s no magic potion for eternal youth, and a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and regular exercise are the cornerstones of healthy aging. However, certain cosmeceuticals and supplements can provide a supportive role in the quest for maintaining a youthful appearance.


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Physician with over 20 years of experience. Trained at Medical College of Pennsylvania. Focus on cosmetic and aesthetic medicine with a research focus on utilization of procedures.