Cosmeceuticals are new type of products representing hybrids between drugs and cosmetic products which are intended to enhance both the health and the beauty of the skin by external application. As in the case of nutraceuticals, where food plants are consumed for their beneficial effects on health cosmeceuticals cover a border field between pharmaceuticals for skin diseases and cosmetics.

In view of financial features the market of cosmeceuticals in U.S., was $12,5 billions in 2005 and $16 billion in 2007. According to Packaged Facts (the leading providers of consumers’ market research) in a report published in 2006, the cosmeceuticals market would surpass $17 billion in 2010. However, the actual growth of the global market was much higher than projected and reached the impressive number of $27.2 billion in 2010. At the same time plant derived extracts and generally genetic resources are utilized worldwide for an enormous variety of uses and applications. An estimation of combined global markets for proportion of the products derived from natural resources is between $500 and $800 billions while botanical medicines alone represent annual sales between $20 and $40 billions.

In addition, there is increasing concern about the impact of synthetic products on humans and the environment. Increased use of NPs, molecules already existing in our environment, would reduce the exposure to synthetic compounds whereas appropriate production methods would ensure environmental sustainability. Furthermore, taking into consideration the untapped structural diversity, the unlimited and variable properties of natural products, exploring biodiversity is definitely an assured way for the discovery of novel potent agents. Towards the direction of investigating plants of the European flora, the most advantageous areas in terms of biodiversity are the Mediterranean Basin and the Alpine ecosystem.

Taking into account all the above mentioned aspects, the NATPROTEC project aims to strengthen the interaction between Industry and Academia, the enhancement of their cooperation and the interchange of knowledge for dual benefit.  The competiveness of European industries will be expanded in the area of natural products chemistry and biology with cosmeceutical applications which is considered as an emerging field of research and development.