What’s the difference between OTC products and medical grade products?

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Drugstores have aisles devoted to them, commercials air non-stop about how they can help your skin look younger or brighter or less blotchy, and articles are written about the “Best Of” every season and year. The information can be overwhelming! Skincare products come in a variety of shapes, sizes and mixtures, and it has become increasingly difficult to decide which is best for you since there seems to be a new product that hits the market every few weeks. So when it comes to picking the best creams and ointments for our skin, does it really pay to go with a medical grade product, or can the over-the-counter bottle do the trick?

What’s the Difference?
Over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products are products that you can pick out by yourself and are available at drugstores, grocery stores, malls, etc. It’s important to know that these products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Medical-grade products contain the same ingredients that OTC products do, but may have a higher concentration of certain ingredients, which improves their effectiveness. These products are backed by clinical trials and adhere to FDA regulations, and are available exclusively through doctors’ and esthetician’s offices.

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Does this Difference Matter?
Overall, yes. When you are using a product that a board certified dermatologist and/or highly trained esthetician recommends for you, you are getting a custom-tailored skincare regimen to help you achieve your specific skincare goals. Since all medical-grade products have been through rigorous FDA-approved testing, which tests for both efficacy and safety, you can be assured that the product is best suited to help you.

While medical-grade products might cost a little more than OTC products, they add a tremendous value to your overall skincare routine. Additionally, since the products contain stronger ingredients, you only need to use a little bit at a time to achieve the desired result. They are also formulated with higher quality base ingredients. After all, there’s nothing worse than paying money for an OTC product that, for example, treats fine lines and wrinkles but that will leave your skin dry and irritated.

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Designed for You
When it comes to your skin, it’s best to get a recommendation from someone who has examined your skin and understands your skincare goals. You can certainly choose an OTC product, but since there’s a good chance you don’t have years of dermatology experience, you’d be trusting advertising tactics and taking a guess. Rest assured, there is a better way, and that way is with the help of a dermatologist. A dermatologist can help create a targeted skincare plan for you to help you look and feel your best, all based on your skin type, lifestyle and unique needs.

If you feel that your skincare regimen could use an overhaul, or would like to discuss your current products with a professional, we’re here to help! We will always recommend only what is best and needed to help you reach your skincare goals, and to help you look as good as you feel. Please reach out today to schedule an appointment!