Skin care products, what’s the difference?
BY JAMI NELSON, RN, CANS
Skin care products are overwhelming to say the least. I still struggle keeping them all straight. Every line we have ever carried has added and taken away so many products, it makes your head spin.
The basics are as follows….
Over the counter skin care (OTC). These are the products that you can buy on your own at the store or online. They are usually filled with ingredients that aren’t a treatment. Water, oils, and traces of active ingredients (the stuff you want). The FDA is protecting you by putting a limit on what can be in these products. They don’t want you showing up at a store and asking for a dozen products you know nothing about and slathering them on your skin. You could harm yourself if they were strong treatment products. Many times, they are fairly expensive.
Medical grade skin care products. These are products that can only be sold to a facility that has a doctor on staff -so medical spas and doctor’s offices. The staff has to be trained on the product. These products have a higher percentage of “treatment” ingredients such as retinol, acids, and vitamins. It is the staffs’ responsibility to talk to you, educate you, and sell you the proper products for your skin.
Prescription. These are products that you must see a physician for (hydroquinone, tretinoin, etc). They are the strongest on the market. There is nothing that can compete with these products. Sometimes your insurance won’t cover them, so they can be expensive.
I remember shopping at a local department store selling a brand of product that we sold in our office. It was deceiving the way this product was marketed. The one we sold was followed by the word MD. The department store brand was a 0.05% of the “special ingredient.” The MD was a 0.5%. Make sense? They sold it for the same price as we did. In both places the product was expensive. But why would anyone want to spend the same amount on a product that was weaker and they didn’t even know if it was what they needed, or wanted? So in my opinion, why would anyone want to spend money on an OTC product that is watered down and may not even be what they need. Invest in yourself and purchase what a professional recommends. Or better yet, see a physician that can write you a prescription that will treat your specific need.
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