Ever felt stumped on which product to choose in the skincare aisle? What about online?
Spending money on over-the-counter products might seem like a savings opportunity. But can drugstore products help you achieve the results you’re after? Which ones actually work?
This is one of the most frequently discussed questions at Southlake Plastic Surgery & Med Spa. For years, we’ve been helping clients get the most out of their surgical and non-surgical treatments with us by helping them develop a healthy skincare routine at home.
And while maintaining a skincare routine at home in itself is an act of self-care, the actual products you use within that routine matter just as much—if not more.
What’s out there?
There is a broad range of skincare products available to use today, ranging from drugstore brands to high-end products sold at department and retail establishments. Then you have as the products sold at doctor’s offices! These can be as familiar as Oil of Olay, which features a hyaluronic acid component and promises results in 30 days.
Medical office brands include products such as SkinCeuticals, SkinMedica, Elta MD, and many more which promise better results with higher amounts of active ingredients than in-store brand products.
Read on to learn more about the difference between medical-grade skincare products and ones you can purchase over-the-counter. Then, we’ll talk about our recommendations for the best skincare products of 2022!
“What does ‘medical-grade’ mean when it comes to skincare products?”
Medical grade products are specially formulated by dermatologists and leading skincare experts. These skincare products are manufactured in a pharmacy and cannot be obtained by clients or patients on their own; they must purchase from the doctors’ office or medical spas. In Southlake alone, there aren’t very many of these offices. But that doesn’t mean you should go without!
Investing in medical-grade skincare products means you’re getting the purest ingredients in concentrations that will actually make a difference in the health of your skin long term. Before being able to purchase these products, however, you’ll be required to have a consultation to determine what is best for your skin and skin condition.
However, even with what our skincare specialists would consider a “limited selection” of medical-grade skincare products in the Southlake area, there are still so many to choose from! Without the proper guidance, finding what works best for you can easily cause frustration or confusion.
The team at Southlake Plastic surgery make it our job to stay in-the-know regarding the latest and greatest skincare products, treatments, and techniques. And we want to share that knowledge with our community 💖
“Why is skin care important, anyway?”
Yes, we actually get this question. And it’s valid! While we ourselves are experts in all things skincare, we understand that most people have a lot more important things to worry about. Getting the kids to school, killing it at work, AND finding time for self-care can be a huge struggle.
But your skin is important. It’s the largest organ in your body and the first barrier of protection when it comes to infections, bacteria, debris, disease, and more from causing harm to your body. This also means it’s easy for our skin to become worn and tired from working on this important task 24/7!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about skincare throughout our vast experience helping clients achieve beautiful results, it’s that when you take care of your skin, it takes care of you!
Let’s do a quick overview of the skin.
There are three main layers of the skin you should familiarize yourself to help you better understand how medical-grade skincare products actually work.
- Hypodermis: the innermost subcutaneous layer filled with fat cells to insulate your body
- Dermis: middle layer that houses collagen and elastin fibers
- Epidermis: outer layer of skin meant to protect your body from environmental elements
These functions keep us looking refreshed and young. However, over time, those layers become increasingly less effective at doing their jobs. A few things happen as we age:
- Skin cells in the epidermis become thinner
- Collagen and elastin production slows
- Fat cells in the hypodermis shrink
This will cause wrinkles and/or fine lines to form, as well as loss of facial volume.
Then, on top of the natural aging process itself, we must factor in environmental factors such as the sun’s rays. While a great tan can lend well to the best #summerselfies, it’s also responsible for speeding up the aging process. Don’t be afraid to join the #staypale club and slather on that SPF!
The best medical-grade skin care allows you to slow down the hands of time and reduce (or eliminate in some cases) conditions such as wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and more!
But there are a ton of over-the-counter products that do the same thing…
Correction. There are a ton of over-the-counter products that claim to do the same thing.
Although OTC skincare products can work, if you really want to see drastic and positive changes in your skin and get the best results—not just for your aesthetic, but for your skin’s health—you’re going to need to start using medical-grade.
Comparing Medical-Grade vs. OTC Skincare Products
Whether it is a moisturizing lotion, retinoid cream, or sunscreen, here are some key factors you should consider when comparing medical-grade skincare products with OTC products.
Quality of Active Ingredients
The best skincare products are considered “medical grade” because of the ingredients they use. These ingredients have spent years through the ringer: being discovered, analyzed, and developed into new, innovative formulas. Only scientific researchers and global skin experts take on this expensive and tedious task. And we as providers trust their expertise, experience, and research!
On the other hand, OTC product companies do not typically invest this level of time and resources into their formulas, but rather stick to more conventional and/or safer ingredients. Because they are marketing and selling to a wider range of people (you don’t need a prescription to get these products), they naturally must be made up of these types of components.
Sometimes, these companies will “borrow” research and formulas from medical-grade skincare product companies. These products essentially depend on the ground-breaking research done by medical-grade companies to understand the latest innovations in skincare. Then these formulas get applied into products made for the masses.
Concentration of Active Ingredients
Because the Southlake team has extensive experience and knowledge regarding skincare, we know that peptides, antioxidants, retinoid, and alpha-hydroxy acids are just a few of the amazing components that our skin needs. But how much of these should be added to your daily skincare regimen?
Medical-grade products are able to contain higher concentrations (percentage of the product containing active ingredients versus non-active ingredients) of these important elements. This is because these products have limitations on where they are sold. Whereas you can purchase an OTC product in virtually any pharmacy or general store, medical-grade skincare products must be purchased through an authorized provider—therefore providing the expert medical advice and guidance you need to understand how to properly use these products.
For example, the ingredient hydroquinone is a key component of many powerful medical-grade products in 2020. Used to treat hyperpigmentation, skincare products can be much more effective when they contain a higher concentration of this hydroquinone. But, whereas OTC products are only allowed to have up to 2% of hydroquinone in their formulas, medical-grade products are allowed up to 5%. This 50% increase in hydroquinone not only means a more affordable product, but faster and more effective results. In addition, you need to be monitored while using products containing hydroquinone or its derivatives.
Did you know that OTC products do not require the same level of testing as medical-grade products? This is simply because they do not contain high concentrations of active ingredients. However, some OTC skincare product companies make claims that haven’t been clinically proven.
Medical-grade products go through years of rigorous testing in order to PROVE scientifically that it can produce the intended and claimed results.
Feeling super informed yet? Great! Let’s review.
What’s in medical-grade skincare products?
Because of the strength (and potential misuse) of these products, your medical spa will continually monitor you to ensure that the correct product is working for you—and that changes can be made based on your specific skincare needs.
The most important components of medical-grade skincare products are:
- Ingredients shown in published, peer-reviewed dermatology research to improve the condition and appearance of the skin.
- Bioavailable forms of those ingredients (versus distant cousins)
- Concentration of actives are high enough to actually make a difference (many products contain tiny amounts solely so it can be included on the ingredient list 🙄)
In a medical setting, these medical-grade products can also be paired with non-invasive procedures such as chemical peels, lasers, and photofacial therapy to obtain the best skin health under the direction of the physician or the physician’s delegated providers.
What’s NOT in true medical-grade products
What IS NOT in medical-grade products is just as important as what is. This is extremely important to understand, since many people are sensitive to or allergic to many of the ingredients in non-medical grade products.
If you want to take your skin care seriously in 2022, you should avoid products containing:
- Fragrances & perfumes.
- Other “natural” ingredients known to cause contact or allergic dermatitis (for instance, some botanicals).
- Harsh solvents and detergents, which strip the skin’s barrier. (We reserve such ingredients for our chemical peels!) Note that some OTC “moisturizers” actually contain these to create an ongoing need to purchase more and more product!
- Parabens and other harsh preservatives (which are often the culprit of skin reactions for people with sensitive skin. These are often found in many OTC sunscreens!)
Our Top Picks: Best Medical-Grade Skin Care for 2022
Southlake Plastic Surgery has gone through a highly intensive selection process to determine the best medical-grade skincare products to offer our clients in 2022. We offer safe medical-grade products along with other well-researched OTC skincare products so that patients can obtain optimal skin health.
Most Popular: The SkinMedica Line
You’ve heard of Botox, Juvederm, and other world-renowned anti-aging products. Well did you know that some of these products are owned by the same company? It’s called Allergan, also affectionately known in the aesthetics industry as God’s gift to skincare.
Allergan knows what they’re doing, and it really shows in the SkinMedica line. This medical-grade product line includes a rich array of serums, cleansers, and other products that plump, hydrate, and soothe the skin in amazing ways. (Plus, you can shop SkinMedica directly through our online store!)
Our favorite part of SkinMedica is their full kit/systems, which allow you to purchase a bundle of products that will all complement one another to help you achieve your skincare goals in 2022 🙌
Staff Pick: The Southlake Plastic Surgery Line
Okay, we may be a little biased. But you would be too, if you spent years working with high quality skincare experts to develop your own line of products you thought would be best for your customers!
Our private label products are medical grade, well tested, and most importantly, LOVED by our clients. They include:
- A nightly skin brightening cream to improve skin tone and skin health overnight (this one is great for keeping your skin tone even through the summer when lasers and photofacial treatments are not optimal due to sun exposure!)
- A moisture enhancer, a serum to mix with your daily moisturizer (or for use on its own for oily skin)
- An acne treatment cleanser to clear the skin of bacteria and reduce redness and pimples
- Gentle, soothing cleansers for use on sensitive skin
- An antioxidant & BHA serum to improve skin’s overall appearance
- Retinol (Vitamin A), which can address fine lines & wrinkles
- And more!
We’re also incredibly pleased to offer BAK probiotic skincare products in our store. Probiotics are a new innovation in the aesthetics and skincare industries. In recent years, we’ve seen how probiotics can be a powerful weapon in the fight against damaged skin. Probiotics can help the skin combat common diseases like acne and psoriasis.
How do probiotics work on your skin?
Good bacteria are isolated and tested for their ability to re-balance the skin’s microbiome. BAK probiotic skincare contains live microorganisms, unlike other products that may contain the same type of bacteria which become inactivated by preservatives that are added to keep them on the shelves longer.
BAK probiotic skincare works to help your skin maintain a level of good bacteria which fights infections and at the same time, reduces the “bad” bacteria which cause conditions like eczema, acne, redness, and atopic skin conditions.
We’re proud to offer new products in our store that use this exciting new technology. We could not be more excited for our patients to try this revolutionary treatment, and we hope that you can use probiotics to see pronounced skincare results.
Get access to the best medical-grade skincare products of 2022 at Southlake Plastic Surgery & Med Spa
If you plan on making 2022 your year (which, let’s face it, we ALL need) then focusing on your skin’s health is a great place to start!
Want to know more about affordable yet professional skincare products? Our expert team is here to help. We are an award-winning facility that always puts the needs of our patients first, ensuring that you get the answers you’re looking for.
Ready to get started?
We also perform a variety of aesthetic procedures to get you closer to your goals. Use our virtual consultation tool to discover the best next steps or contact our office today for a complimentary facial analysis and consultation!
To learn more about Southlake Plastic Surgery’s medical-grade skin health products, visit https://shopSouthlakeSkin.com.