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Medical Grade vs. Over-the-Counter Skin Care Products: What are the Differences?


woman who uses medical grade skin care products in valrico floridaWe Americans care about our skin, a fact our spending habits aptly support.

A new study by SkinStore, a prominent online vendor of skincare products, found that overall U.S. spending on skincare products will total around $18.7 million through the end of this year. This number, coupled with a predicted growth rate of about 5 percent per year, makes skincare one of the fastest-growing beauty markets in the country.

But, while people are certainly willing to spend on maintaining healthy, vibrant skin, are they investing in the best, most effective, and long-lasting products? How do they know which over-the-counter products are best for their needs or whether they’d see better results seeking medical-grade remedies from a dermatologist or aesthetic physician?

To answer this question, let’s first discuss the differences between over-the-counter and medical-grade skincare products.

Over-the-Counter Skin Care Products

As with most products readily available to consumers, you can generally visit any big box store, specialty retailer, or online vendor to purchase over-the-counter skincare products. You’ll only need money and a general idea of your needs (well, your presumed needs), and you can pretty much access most non-medical grade skincare products on the market.

However, the trouble with such products is that because they’re marketed to the masses – and despite the sleek, beautiful marketing and packaging you see on the shelves – they’re generally diluted as far as potency and long-term effectiveness. They’re often made to offer a little something for everyone, and the products’ active ingredients are only strong enough to penetrate the outside layer of the skin or the epidermis.

Does this mean over-the-counter skincare products aren’t worth the investment? Of course not.

It simply means that whether you wish to eliminate wrinkles or get rid of acne, over-the-counter products may not always be enough. And, because they’re largely unregulated, they may not do what you expect them to do.

How are Medical Grade Skin Care Products Different?

Medical grade skincare products are generally stronger and more potent, and can only be sold by a medical professional. And, while the price tag on many of these products may exceed what you might pay at a local box store when used correctly, their overall value will more often than not exceed that of over-the-counter options.

Here’s why:

They’re Stronger: Medical-grade skincare products are made up of stronger and purer active ingredients that more deeply penetrate the skin. While over-the-counter products often only touch the epidermis, or the outside layer of the skin, medical-grade products penetrate the dermis, where all the collagen-producing cells live. This helps ensure changes are real and long-lasting.

They’re Regulated: Due to the strength and purity of the active ingredients used in medical-grade skincare products, they must all be approved by the FDA before use by consumers. So, what does this mean? Mainly, this provides peace of mind that the product in question has been tested for purity, safety and to ensure it does what it says it’ll do.

They’re Prescribed: We acknowledge that having to visit a medical professional, such as our aesthetic physician at Amani MedsSpa, can seem like an extra, perhaps unnecessary, step for some people. But, if you have a specific skin issue or condition you’d like to address, seeing an aesthetic skincare professional helps ensure your concerns are diagnosed correctly and treated with products (if necessary) that have proven most effective for said condition.

All of this helps ensure you: 

1) are using the best product for your particular skin or condition, 

2) the product has been proven effective by the FDA, and 

3) that you’ll need less of the skincare product based on its strength and purity. 

In other words, a better value.

To learn more about the lines of medical-grade skin care products available at Amani MedSpa or schedule a skincare consultation with one of our aesthetic skincare professionals here in Valrico, FL, please call us for an appointment (813) 685-6111.