Is there a difference in skin care products that you purchase from a department store or a pharmacy and what you will find in a doctor’s office?
On the market now, you will find skin care which is referred to as medical grade or cosmeceuticals.
What are cosmeceuticals?
Cosmeceuticals are products which are a blend of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals which claim to have medicinal properties. By legal definition, a cosmetic is a substance intended to beautify your skin, whereas a drug (or pharmaceutical) is intended to change the structure or function of your skin. “Cosmeceuticals will contain active ingredients that are known to be beneficial to humans in some way,” says Marie Jhin, MD, a dermatologist in San Francisco. “For example, Vitamin C is a known antioxidant and when this is added to a lotion or cream the product is considered a cosmeceutical.”
Many of these products contain certain active ingredients which are stronger and more effective and when sold ethically, require a trained professional to be responsible for informing the client of the proper usage of that product.
What about glycolic acid and retinol?
In the late 1980’s, as the baby boomers were beginning to age, we started seeing strong ingredients in low dosages such as glycolic acid and retinol come to the forefront as they were delivering superior results to skin care on the shelves at that time. Now, with the internet, the general public has access to glycolic acid at a 50% strength which can easily burn and permanently scar skin if used incorrectly, as well Retin A which can result in serious abnormalities in the fetus of pregnant women.
Many companies that make cosmeceuticals, make exaggerated claims as they are not subject to approval by the governing public safety bodies such as the FDA in the U.S.A. or Health Canada. So even though a product is sold in a spa does not mean that it has scientific studies backing up its claims nor does it mean that it is safe.
However, doctors in skin treatment clinics not only have access to cosmeceuticals but also to prescription strength skin care products which are not available in stores and spa’s that do not have a doctor as a medical director. So, they can offer you the strongest and most effective skin care for your needs, from anti-aging to acne to pigmentation and the important information you need to know about them. This is the big difference.
Good doctors purchase skin care for their clinic based on scientific data. They don’t usually carry ‘fluffy-smell-nice’ products. So you can trust the efficacy of the product and not waste your money on something cheaper at a drug store that probably won’t deliver the results you want.
When a doctor brings in a new line of skin care, the doctor and the staff are properly trained on all possible side effects, which patients are right for these products, proper dosages and safe protocols. They know skin types, skin functioning, product ingredients and how they can help you.
Plus, a doctor sees you repeatedly and has seen many clients with the same skin issues you have, they know what works and they care about you and their own reputation. They aren’t going to send you off with something that has never worked for someone in the past; they wouldn’t even bother carrying products that aren’t effective.
This is your face we are talking about. If you buy something that doesn’t work, you’ve wasted your hard earned money. If you buy something too strong that you don’t use properly…well it’s really not worth the risk… right?
Let your doctor and experienced staff make the call on your skin care, not Suzy at the make-up counter.
by M. Wally
Age is a state of mind. Aging is a treatable condition.