I did not know the difference between over the counter skin care products and medical grade skin care products until about 6 years ago.  I feel compelled now that I know to educate others on the difference and the importance.

Yes it is true that the majority of skin care lines (Oil of Olay, Neutrogena, Estee Lauder etc.) are all owned by approximately 8-10 major international companies.  Some of the top global cosmetic companies are L’Oreal, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, Estee Lauder and Shisheido.  What does this mean???  There is not a major difference in ingredients (within the same parent company) between an expensive over the counter product (something purchased at the Mall) and an inexpensive over the counter product (something purchased at Wal-Mart or CVS etc.).  But by all means if you find a product whether it is a cleanser, scrub or mask that you absolutely love and feel you can feel and see a difference with it and it works with your skin well then stick with it.  Even though 90% of what I put on my face is medical grade I will admit there are a few masks that are over the counter I use still that I am completely in love with and have used for years.  Because I know you are curious which ones…. I will but of course share!!!

  1. Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiance Masque
  2. Guinot Essential Nutrition Comfort Mask
  3. Pevonia Enzymo-Spherides Peeling Cream
  4. Decleor Hydra Floral Moisturizing Mask 

Now the question is “What is the difference between the two?”.  Okay so there are 2 layers to the skin.  They are the dermis and the epidermis.  The epidermis is really only just the surface of the skin.  Basically any over the counter skin product (non-medical grade) will only affect the epidermis or surface of the skin.  This means in the long run that the skin will not really be affected nor change much.  With medical grade skin care the products actually get all the way down to the dermis of the skin.  The dermis of the skin is quite very deep and also has connective tissue and blood vessels buried within it.  The products that get down to the dermis can actually help heal and change the texture of your skin from the inside out.  The price difference between some of the over the counter products as opposed to medical grade are really not that far apart if any difference at all!!!  I have physically seen amazing improvements in patients over 3-6 month period once they have switched to medical grade products.  My thought process is, if you are spending $60-$100 on let’s say an antioxidant serum well I want to know that it is getting down all the way to my dermis and actually doing some real work instead of just sitting on the surface of my skin.

Epidermis and Dermis Graphic

Epidermis and Dermis Anatomy

Okay so now you know to use medical grade skin care lines, now you need to know what those are.  Here is a list of some of my favorites including what I carry at my office, the Neova line.  I’ve listed these in order from my favorite to my least.  This is personally my opinion and dependent on price, products and effectiveness.



iS Clinical



Dr A


  1. AnnaBella

    Nice Information, thanks for sharing. Hope we will read many other good things from you in future also. Regards

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