Walk into my bathroom and open the cabinet and you’ll see my personal skin care arsenal. Apparently, I’m not alone. Consumers spend just over 1 billion dollars on personal care, beauty, & anti-aging treatments per year. We’re all after the same things: we want an easy fix, we want cheap and effective, we want low risk, and high reward. Then… reality check. It’s not that simple.
When I’m looking for my own regimen, and when I talk to my patients about these issues, many questions come up:
The bottom line, if you read no further:
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/ pharmaceutical grade skin care products, and over the counter cosmetic products. What separates medical grade skin care products?
Here are 7 things that make medical grade skin care products unique:
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.
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 and the correct form of the active ingredients to work on the skin.
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.
Hydroquinone is the active ingredient in skin care products that are trying to lighten hyperpigmentation. It is also referred to as a “depigmenting” agent. Hydroquinone is used in medical grade skin care in concentrations up to 4%.
But over the counter concentrations are capped at 2%, since a 1982 the FDA limit was put in place.
So, to be compliant, Rodan + Fields lightening agent contains 2% hydroquinone. Some patients will achieve great lightening at this low dose, but others may not see any effect unless the active ingredient is at higher concentrations simply prohibited in over the counter products. TLC Skincare, in contrast, has the active ingredient at 4% concentration that is mixed at the time of purchase to ensure it’s at the freshest, highest, most stable concentration.
Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have many skin benefits: stimulation of collagen production, repair of photoaging, alleviating acne, unclogging pores. OTC Retinol cannot penetrate past the dead tissue layer on the surface of the skin. Pharmaceutical grade skin retinol has the ability to penetrate the epidermis, or top layer of skin, to the dermis or lower layer of skin. The dermis is the skin layer where collagen, elastin and pigmentation reside, as well as where our new skin cells are produced. Since the loss of collagen and elastin in the dermis is what ages us, we need to use pharmaceutical grade products that can penetrate to that level.
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).
Medical grade skin care products penetrate into the deep dermis to exert their effect.
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.
One of the biggest benefits of using medical grade skin care products is that in order to be able to provide them we have to have a physician on staff. When I researched the lines to offer at TLC Laser & Skincare, I chose skincare lines that have a proven history of research and development. They offer the best education for my staff so they are able to confidently recommend the best regimen for you, saving you money in the long run, and taking the stress out of continued trial and error.
Most medical grade skin care lines are from companies you’ve never heard of, 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:
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.
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!
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.
Once the concentration levels are higher, you will experience much better results with fewer steps. That means saving time, money and energy from Medical-Grade Skincare products.
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.
As you can see, I’m passionate about skin health. Like everything in life, there’s no one-size-fits-all skin care regimen. We are all science projects, what works best for one person may not work for another. TLC Laser & Skincare offers free skincare consultations and samples of the product to try prior to purchasing. We are always here with suggestions for ongoing skin care as our skin is always changing. At TLC Laser & Skincare we believe in educating not selling. Our products will speak for themselves. We want you to enjoy the best possible version of your skin that we can achieve, and reveal.
TLC Skincare is our privately labeled innovative, safe and effective brand of products developed using the highest quality, pharmaceutical grade ingredients. Developed and manufactured in a controlled state-of-the-art FDA-registered facility to assure the highest quality and purity of the products. Our extensive product portfolio meets the needs of every patient with varying needs and skin types to guarantee healthy, beautiful, skin for everyone.
Revision Skincare believes you can’t take shortcuts to healthy, beautiful skin. Driven by a passion to develop product formulations that deliver real skincare benefits, Revision Skincare’s proprietary formulations ensure maximum stability and optimum results.
EltaMD sunscreens are formulated with transparent zinc oxide and are noncomedogenic, sensitivity-free, fragrance-free and paraben-free. All EltaMD sunscreens are recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as effective broad-spectrum sunscreens.
Latisse™ (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03%, is the first and only FDA-approved, science-based treatment to enhance eyelashes by increasing in length, thickness and darkness of the eyelashes. Latisse™ is a once-daily prescription treatment applied to the base of the upper eyelashes with a sterile, single-use-per-eye disposable applicator. Latisse™ users can expect to experience longer, fuller and darker eyelashes in as little as eight weeks, with full results in 16 weeks. To maintain effect, continued treatment with Latisse™ is required.