Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products claimed to have skin benefits “acting from the inside”. Examples of products typically labeled as cosmeceuticals include a variety of substances, taken by systemic, beneficial to the skin.
The word is portmanteau of the words "cosmetic" and "pharmaceutical". Cosmeceuticals may contain active ingredients such as vitamins, phytochemicals, enzymes, antioxidants, and essential oils. However, these ingredients may not necessarily be effective, and if they are effective, the cosmeceutical may not have the active ingredient(s) in an effective formulation (i.e. high bioavailability) or at effective concentrations.
An important distinction lies in the delivery method. The "cosmeceutical" label applies only to products usually applied topically, such as creams, lotions, and ointments.
Nutraceutical, a portmanteau of “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”, refers to extracts of foods claimed to have a physiological effect on human health. Nutraceutical are usually contained in a medicinal format such as a capsule, tablet or powder in a prescribed dose.
More rigorously, nutraceutical implies that the extract (or food) is demonstrated to have physiological benefit or provide the body with the protection against acute and chronic diseases. Functional foods are defined as being consumed as part of an usual diet but demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions.
Examples of nutraceuticals are resveratrol (anti-inflammatory), flavonoids (antioxidants), alpha-linolenic acid from flax seeds, beta-carotene from marigold petals, anthocyanins from berries, and many botanical and herbal extracts.