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Is Medical Grade Skincare Really Worth It?

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Medical grade skincare, over-the-counter, prescription…oh my! With all the different skincare products on the market, how do you decide what is best for you? We all have different skincare needs. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another. This is a fact I’m very familiar with. I’ve been dealing with cystic acne since I was a teenager. As a teenager I tried every over-the-counter acne cream, toner and cleanser that I could find. None of them worked. Then I tried several different prescription medications before finding one that actually worked for me.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered even more skincare products. The sheer amount of choices is overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you are looking for and what the different terms mean. Medical grade is the most confusing of them all. Medical-grade skincare wasn’t something I was aware of until I was in my early 30s. I had no clue this segment of the market even existed. I discovered it when I first started getting botox and fillers.

My plastic surgeon’s office carries several different medical grade skincare lines and strategically places the products and their ads to catch your attention. With each visit, I became more and more curious. It took me almost a year, but eventually I decided to give them a try. I was pregnant and my face was breaking out like I was a teenager all over again. So, I scheduled a facial with one of the aestheticians. Since I was pregnant, I was limited on what I could do at the time. However, I took note of the products the aesthetician mentioned that she used because, like me, she had to use Accutane to get rid of her acne as well. Needless to say, I bought everything she suggested I use while I was pregnant and once I had my daughter, I bought all of the other products too.

All of the products were of course medical-grade. Sounds great, right? But, what does that even mean? I used to think they were products that were only available through a dermatologist office or plastic surgeon office. I didn’t realize I could buy these products online. The idea that it was only available through a physician’s office appealed to me. That all came crashing down once I realized that’s not actually the case.

What’s The Difference Between Medical-grade, OTC & Prescription Skincare?

Now, that you know what distinguishes medical grade from OTC and prescription, how do you know which one you should use? Well, it all depends on your skincare needs and your budget. Medical-grade products are usually quite expensive. There are a few lines that don’t focus on advertising which greatly reduces their cost. However, that’s not the norm. The cost of prescription products varies based on patents, cost to develop the drug, whether or not there is a generic available, and of course how much the government & insurance companies are willing to pay or not pay for it. Either way, the  only real way to know which products will be best for you is by seeing a professional. Even still, there will be a trial and error phase until you figure out what works for you.

The Low Down On Skincare Active Ingredients

What are active ingredients? Active ingredients are the ingredients in a skincare product that actually targets the issue. In other words, they’re the ingredients that make your skin nice and pretty. There’s an active ingredient for almost every concern. Some of the main actives are:

Skincare Product Formulation & Their Benefits

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what the different types of skincare products that are available and what’s inside them, it’s time to discuss their formulation. When I say formulation, I’m referring to cream, balm, serum, essence, lotion, etc. Oftentimes, people will use these terms interchangeably, but each of these formulas have different purposes. For example:


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