What are Nutricosmetics?

Collagen Supplements

Cosmeceutical – a term describing a product or ingredient that falls into the middle of both a cosmetic and a drug. The FDA definition of a cosmetic is “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance“. The FDA definition of a drug is “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease“. While the FDA does not have a legal definition for the term cosmeceutical they do have a discussion on their site about this term due to its popularity. You’ve most likely heard of a cosmeceutical from the beauty world but have you heard the term nutricosmetic?


Nutricosmetic is a relatively new term that refers to products & ingredients that act as nutritional supplements but carry the purpose of treating the skin. This term is not acknowledged by the FDA and it is important to point out that vitamins & supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Nutricosmetics are more commonly referred to as Beauty Supplements and are a leading trend in the industry but have caused a lot of skepticisms in regards to their efficacy.

Examples of Nutricosmetics include biotin, collagen, vitamin C, goji berry, probiotics, milk thistle, astaxanthin and grapeseed extract. These supplements come in the forms of drops, pills, powders, shakes, and gummies. Nowadays it seems hard to not find a nutricosmetic in a store’s beauty section, every brand is quickly developing their own.  A large majority of these nutricosmetics carry a reputation of being effective due to historical use and word of mouth. And it makes sense that nutricosmetics are easily marketed to people who want to lead a healthy lifestyle and are concerned with the current state of their skin. This trend just fits too well with our current culture to not gain a large following.

As a scientist, I am extremely relieved that people are beginning to question these popular supplements. Today’s conscious consumer wants to know that an ingredient has been well studied and is worth their hard earned money.

What is a Nutricosmetic?

Currently, I take astaxanthin, a probiotic (pills and liquid form), vitamin C, fish oil, iron, a multivitamin, the occasional collagen coffee creamer and starting next week, evening primrose. I was not organized in my supplement taking and wasn’t able to track and see if each individual nutricosmetic has affected my skin but all around I don’t believe I am having a negative reaction to any of the supplements. And I do think this is another reason that consumers love nutricosmetics – very rarely do they cause a reaction or negative side effects. The excellent marketing will keep these products in stock as long as they keep receiving good press.

Before taking a nutricosmetic I would highly recommend doing your own research, possibly talking to your doctor and questioning why you even want to take it in the first place.


What do you think of the nutricosmetic trend? Do you have an entire shelf of supplements or are you skeptical of all the subscription vitamin services? Let me know your pros and cons!

4 thoughts on “What are Nutricosmetics?

  1. Perry says:

    Nice post. I have a hard time getting past the fact that these things aren’t regulated. Usually, you have no way of knowing that what is advertised on the label is even what is being put into the jar. Companies could easily grind up some cheap crop, make a pill, and call it whatever they like. And they do. For example, https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/new-york-attorney-general-targets-supplements-at-major-retailers/

    Add to that the scant evidence that these things actually do anything and the real possibility that they could cause health problems (http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/10/03/healthy-27-year-old-died-after-using-common-bodybuilding-supplement.html), I recommend people avoid them.

    But like you said, it’s rare that they cause negative side effects so for most people they’re probably fine.

    One thing I don’t understand though is why isn’t there a group like the Campaign for Safe Supplements. These things are demonstrably less safe than cosmetics but none of the NGOs pay any attention. It’s weird.


    • Paige DeGarmo says:

      I completely agree! You would think that consumers would want to put up more of an argument about supplements than color cosmetics, etc. thanks for sharing so many links!


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