Medical Grade Skincare, Is It Worth it?
If you have been shopping for a good skincare line or product, you should know that you won’t be seeing all of your options on the shelves at the corner store. Many are not there, because not all products are sold over the counter. Instead, some are being sold at the doctor’s office, through a licensed esthetician, or authorized retail or online stores. The reason is that there are many products you will not find on the shelf due to them being medical-grade products.
However, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily need a prescription for them. Medical-grade skincare is not sold in stores, but instead, it’s carried and sold under the care of a dermatologist, a licensed esthetician, or online through an authorized skincare retail company. Professionals promote and carry these skincare lines because they are more powerful and productive because they are loaded with ingredients you can’t find in over-the-counter products.
Compared to over-the-counter products, medical grade formulas tout more ability to penetrate the skin, making them more effective. This leaves the public with the impression that it’s superior to the over-the-counter products sold anywhere. Along with the exclusivity of medical-grade products, the cost can also be noticeably different. Medical grade, also referred to as professional-grade products might cost more than what you can find at the grocery store. This is partly because professionals are behind the creation and distribution of formulas that are often more concentrated.
However, products such as SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0, while stronger than many other retinol products, don’t necessarily have to be purchased at a dermatologist's office.
So, is it worth the inconvenience of not being able to find your skincare line at any corner store? And, the difference in cost? To help you decide for yourself, let’s take a closer look at the product mentioned above.
Products with retinol are popular in the anti-aging skincare arena because they aim to generate more youthful skin. Anyone looking to soften fine lines and improve the skin’s texture will notice retinol products are abundant within skincare lines. However, the potency of the product will vary greatly between products, affecting the results.
SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 is a highly concentrated formula designed for skin that has been acclimated to the use of retinol to avoid uncomfortable and unnecessary irritation. It is designed to make a bigger difference in the appearance of skin than over-the-counter products. It’s a serum designed to amplify collagen production, infused with antioxidants to help protect skin from the environment and damage caused by free radicals and the sun.
However, even with the strength of this particular retinol skincare product, a prescription is not necessary to purchase it, even on a medical-grade level.
Medical Grade Skincare and Scientific Opinions
Scientists specializing in skincare are involved in creating medical-grade quality products. Cosmetic Scientist Esther Olu has worked with numerous manufacturers to come up with quality, science-backed formulas. She once wrote, “Any brand can call themselves medical grade today and nothing would happen.” Take, for example, using a retinol product found on the shelf at the local convenience store. Can it be labeled as a medical or professional-grade product? Yes, actually.
Medical grade and professional grade are not terms that are regulated. What that means for the consumer is that the FDA is not involved and their rules and industry standards do not determine the extent of quality for products stating they are medical grade.
According to Aegan Chan, a board-certified dermatologist, these products cannot technically claim that they are more effective than over-the-counter products, because they fall into the basic “cosmetics” category with the FDA regulations, unlike products requiring a prescription.
Perhaps the main reason you might be considering medical-grade products is the promise of potency and effectiveness of the product. While those promises are not backed by the FDA, because they are not FDA-regulated, they are most likely coming from a licensed professional trained in skincare. At least if you purchase it from a professional or authorized retailer.
There is a limit to the potency of a product, without needing a prescription. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not medical-grade quality. A dermatologist, licensed esthetician, or a company that solely concentrates on skincare will carry products that are deemed medical or professional grade, yet do not always require a prescription.
So without a written prescription, the product will not be any stronger than you might find elsewhere. However, ingredients and strength are not the only factors to consider. The formulations are also important and will be adjusted by trained professionals with medical-grade products. A dermatologist’s office wants to carry quality products and will make sure the products are formulated for optimum results. Then again, the same can be said for any company where the main source of income is skincare, unlike stores that sell almost everything.
The Difference in Ingredients
It might be surprising to learn that most skincare products of the same type use similar ingredients. There is very little difference in the actual ingredients between products of similar purposes. The difference is often found in the formulation and quality of ingredients.
So, if you were to compare an over-the-counter product with a medical-grade product, you would probably see a list of the same ingredients. But, what you won’t see is the formulation. Medical-grade formulas are carefully developed by dermatologists and scientists to outperform skincare products found on the grocery store shelf. Even though they are using similar ingredients, including the added delivery systems and active ingredients, they typically produce a more advanced formula.
Ambivalent Answers to the Debate
When it comes down to specific answers to whether medical-grade products are superior to non-medical-grade products, there is no real definitive answer. In determining what works, and what might not, you need to look beyond the marketing and packaging. To know more, check the proper testing of each product. A reputable company will perform appropriate testing on a quality product, and share that information with the public to help support their claims, professional-grade, or not.
Testing reports can play a role in helping you determine if a medical-grade product is right for you. Some companies will put their products through intense testing and trials. However, keep in mind that it’s not a requirement. And, this is true for both medical-grade and non-medical-grade skincare products.
What can testing determine?
Testing on SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0
As an example of what skincare testing can show you, let’s take a look at the results for SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0.
- Rapid cell turnover, which reveals smooth, vibrant skin
- Diminishes wrinkles and fine lines
- Promotes collagen production to improve skin texture
- Antioxidants will protect against free radicals
The bottom line is that the claims that are being made about a product, or impressive marketing, do not determine if it’s a medical-grade item or not. What does, however, is the formulation and how effective it is.
And, if you opt to go with medical-grade products, make sure to purchase them from a professionally licensed or authorized party.
Please contact Dermavenue at 800.805.3752 or chat live! We have agents available 9-5pm Pacific Time to answer any questions.
Use Code: BLOG20 to save 20% on your first order!