Medical Grade Skincare vs Over The Counter Skin Care
– THE BEST PRODUCTS HAVE THE BEST INGREDIENTS, IN THE PUREST FORM, AT THE APPROPRIATE STRENGTH, AND IN CORRECT COMBINATIONS, BACKED BY RESEARCH STUDIES –
For more details, here are the differences between medical grade or pharmaceutical grade skin care products, and over the counter cosmetic products. What separates medical grade skin care products?
Here is a list of things that make medical grade skin care products unique:
Better quality ingredients.
Medical grade, or pharmaceutical grade products are required to contain ingredients that are 99% pure. Products that are purchased at department stores, drug stores, or on Amazon are not held to the same standards. They may contain fillers.
More of each ingredient.
We’ve all heard of the important active ingredients recommended for healthier skin: retinoids, vitamin C, antioxidants, and the list goes on and on). Medical grade skin care products have higher concentrations of active ingredients.
If there is an active ingredient in an over the counter cosmetic product, there just may not be enough of it to have an effect, or it may take much longer to get an effect.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have many skin benefits: stimulation of collagen production, repair of photoaging, alleviating acne, unclogging pores. Let’s take a well known over the counter option from Neocutis, their Nouvelle plus retinol cream (which you can buy on Amazon). This has 0.6% retinol.
SkinCeuticals retinol cream, in contrast, has a similar moderate strength version at 0.5% retinol, but also a 1% formulation.
High research standards, purity and safety regulated by the FDA
Medical grade skin care products must have clinical research studies to back up any claims about their benefits. On the other hand, over the counter skin care products do not need to have clinical studies or research behind their claims.
Medical grade skin care products have FDA oversight. And by the way, the FDA only considers two types of categories – cosmetic, and pharmacuetical grade (contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as a cosmeceutical, under FDA law).
Delivery to deep skin layers
It’s all about layers! If you’ve purchased something from a non medical professional, in any store, or online, understand these agents only work on the outermost skin layer called the epidermis. They sit on the surface and barely penetrate into deeper layers.
Pharmaceutical or medical grade skin care products are formulated to be delivered to the dermis. This is where the collagen scaffold, and collagen producing cells live. To make any real changes to the skin, the deep dermis has to be impacted.
Medical grade: not necessarily more expensive.
Most medical grade skin care lines are from companies you’ve never heard of (ZO Skin Health, Skin Better Science, Environ), although many of my clients are “in the know” and have done their research so this statement may not be totally true! But they are not always more expensive, for three reasons:
– NO MARKETING COSTS BUILT IN
Generally speaking, these companies do not spend their money on advertising campaigns, instead choosing to spend that money on research, and quality product development. So medical grade products are not always more expensive than their over-the-counter (OTC) counterparts.-
– THEY WORK, SO YOU’RE NOT THROWING AWAY MONEY
You also have to consider the piles of money wasted on over the counter products that you purchase and stop using, simply because they don’t work, leaving you frustrated and disappointed. The product graveyard in your bathroom is proof!
– YOU’LL USE LESS OF IT
Because the active ingredient concentrations are higher, and they penetrate into the dermis, generally you’ll need to use less product to achieve great results.
Formulated for all, vs directed to specific needs.
We want skin care products tailored to our specific skin type, right? If you’re not buying your products from a medical professional, you’re self-diagnosing. So in the over the counter world, products have to work broadly on all skin types.
With a medical grade regimen tailored thoughtfully to your individual skin, product combinations suitable for your specific skin type and condition can be assembled to achieve your desired results.