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Abstract

Our increased knowledge of normal skin physiology has ushered in a subtle revolution in cosmetic science. Originally designed as preparations to enhance personal appearance by direct application on to the skin, cosmetics have now taken on a new role in dermatology, through the support of the management of many skin disorders. This evolving role of cosmetics in skin care is primarily due to scientific and technological advancements that have changed our understanding of normal skin physiology and how cosmetics modify its appearance both physically and biologically. The vast array of techniques currently available to investigate skin responsivity to multiple stimuli has brought about a new era in cosmetic and dermocosmetic development based on a robust understanding of skin physiology and its varied responses to commonly encountered environmental insults. Most cosmetic research is undertaken on reconstructed skin models crucial in dermatological research, given the strict ban imposed by the European Union on animal testing. In addition, the design and conduct of trials evaluating cosmetics now follow rules comparable to those used in the development and evaluation of pharmaceutical products. Cosmetic research should now aim to ensure all trials adhere to strictly reproducible and scientifically sound methodologies. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the multidisciplinary scientific approach used in formulating dermocosmetics, and to examine the major advances in dermocosmetic development and assessment, the safety and regulatory guidelines governing their production and the exciting future outlook for these dermocosmetic processes following good practice rules.