Medical-Grade Skin Care vs Over-The-Counter Products: Top 10 Differences

houston plastic surgery model applying serum to her face

Professional skincare lines may cost more than their drugstore counterparts, but the difference in quality makes them a worthwhile investment.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Must Contain Ingredients That are 99% Pure.

OTC beauty products often contain impure ingredients and fillers, whereas medical-grade skincare ingredients must be 99 percent pure to be advertised as such.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Boast Higher Concentrations of Active Ingredients.

It may be convenient to stroll into any shopping center and pick up a skincare brand you’re familiar with, but doing so could come with a hidden cost. The truth is that many national skincare brands skimp on beneficial ingredients to save money. That is not the case with medical-grade skin care, which typically contains highly concentrated active ingredients.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Are the Result of Clinical Research Studies.

Over-the-counter skincare products are limited in terms of the kinds of claims they can make. Medical-grade skincare brands, on the other hand, have claims backed by years of rigorous clinical research and safety testing.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Are Developed Under FDA Oversight.

Many OTC skin products are defined as cosmetics. Legally speaking, the definition of a cosmetic is any product that is “intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, […] or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance”. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate cosmetic manufacturing. That means nearly anyone can start a skincare line without FDA oversight.

Some cosmetics are also drugs. According to the FDA, drugs are any “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals.” One example is sunblock, which affects the skin’s barrier function to protect against sun damage. Products marketed for acne-prone skin are also drugs if they contain pharmaceutical ingredients (such as salicylic acid) to treat or prevent acne and make claims suggesting a curative effect. Skincare products classed as drugs must abide by FDA guidelines.

The FDA classifies many medical-grade skincare products as both cosmetics and drugs. Not only do they beautify the skin. They may also contain active ingredients that can treat medical conditions such as rosacea, acne, melasma, or xerosis.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Are Designed to Reach Deep Into the Skin.

Cosmetics only work on the skin surface, or at least that is all the manufacturer can claim. Suggesting a product can penetrate the skin barrier and alter the skin’s physiology automatically makes the product a drug, which triggers stricter FDA regulations. The potency and formulations of medical-grade skincare make it easier for the ingredients to penetrate the deeper dermal layers, where they are most beneficial.

Medical-Grade Skin Care May Only Be Sold by a Medical Professional.

While mainstream skin care can be sold to any licensed retail business, only industry professionals can purchase and sell clinical-grade skin products due to the potency of ingredients. They also serve as your “personal shopper” in the world of medical-grade products, as they can recommend products they know can help you achieve your skin goals.

Medical-Grade Skin Care Products Are Worth the Investment.

Medical-grade products are more highly concentrated with active ingredients than store-bought skin care. While they may cost more, they are not necessarily more expensive in the long haul if you consider how much less product you will need to achieve the same or better results.

Buying Medical-Grade Skin Care Helps Further Dermal Research.

Clinical-grade skincare companies have been shaking up the industry. Every year, they come up with innovative technology that changes the way people care for their skin. By buying medical-grade skin care, you are doing your part by contributing to ongoing dermatological research.

Medical-Grade Skincare Products Are Backed by Professionals.

Genuine medical-grade skincare products will have clinical research studies to back up claims about their benefits, and being endorsed by your favorite dermatologist or plastic surgeon is an added bonus!

Medical-Grade Skin Care is Formulated for Specific Purposes

While the skincare products sold at drugstores and department stores often promise to do it all, few live up to their claims. Rather than aiming to correct a panacea of skin concerns, manufacturers formulate medical-grade skincare products to zero in on specific skin concerns.

Get Matched with Clinical-Grade Skincare Products That Work for Your Unique Skin Type and Concerns

Caring for your skin at home is a surefire way to make the results of your in-office treatments last longer, whether you’ve had a HydraFacial, chemical peel, microneedling, or a signature facial.

There are endless products in the beauty aisle, and the sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming. Instead of experimenting with drugstore products, call Studio Essex Medical Spa at Heights Plastic Surgery to receive personalized guidance and product recommendations from our aestheticians. We proudly offer ZO Skin Health and Alastin Skincare, two of the world’s most respected clinical-grade skincare lines.