Are Professional Skin Care Products Different Than Over-the-Counter Products?

When it comes to skin care products, the number of options to choose from can be exciting or overwhelming. For every product we need, whether it’s a moisturizer, a toner, a cleanser, or a serum, many skin care products will treat any issue you might have. Wrinkles, dull skin, dry skin, acne, age spots, scars…so how do we choose the best products for our skin care? Whether you decide on an over-the-counter (OTC) product or professional products from your Dermatologist or Spa, let’s try to break down the differences and how you can make a more informed decision.

What is considered a professional skin care product?

Professional skin care products are developed and sold for spas, physician’s offices, or skin clinics. Some of the things that differentiate them from over-the-counter products are:

  • They are made in small batches, allowing for better quality control.
  • They go through extensive clinical testing.
  • The quality of the ingredients is usually higher, and they have a higher percentage of active ingredients.
  • They are formulated to be used by licensed aestheticians and physicians who have years of experience and an understanding of the skin and its function.
  • Products range to address different types of skin and skin conditions.
  • Contain pH-adjusted ingredients designed to support the integrity of the skin’s protective barrier.
  • Don’t contain additives such as synthetic fragrances, colors, or preservatives such as parabens.

Over-the-counter skin care products are designed to be mass-produced. This means they contain preservatives to allow for manufacturing and shipping times, and they can stay on the shelves for extended periods. They also have a lower percentage of active ingredients since they are designed to work on most of the population with minimal chance of the product causing irritation.

We are not saying that you should go home and get rid of all your products. There are advantages to OTC products. These products are easily accessible since you can find them in many retail stores, including grocery stores. This allows you to choose a product you need, when you need it, without having to consult a specialist. It also means that they are available at different price points and thus more affordable for some people. Some of these OTC products may work fine for some people. Many OTC active ingredients have excellent efficacy but usually lower potency. Then there are OTC products that work just as well or better. A great example of this is benzoyl peroxide, and some chemical exfoliants can be very effective.

Regardless of which type of products you use, you need to make sure you use products meant for your skin type. Skin care products can be harmful to your skin if you are using products not meant for your type of skin. This can especially be true if you suffer from a skin condition. Also, remember that using too many kinds of products can be damaging. If you are looking for better results, consult with a Board-Certified Dermatologist or Licensed Aesthetician that can help identify your skin type and make more effective recommendations for your needs.

How Professional Skin Care Products Benefit You

Now that we’ve explored these two different types of skin care products, let’s look at the benefits of professional products. At Advanced Dermatology & Skin Surgery, our highly skilled Providers will meet with you to know you and your skin. Understanding your skin type, skin conditions, health issues, and your skin care goals is very important. All these factors will help your Provider work with you to develop a skin care routine tailored to your specific skin care needs. This will also help your Provider suggest professional skin care products specific to your skin type.

When your products are recommended by someone who has years of experience and understands how skin functions, the product gets recommended with the knowledge that it will benefit you. Since these products are also produced in small batches, they do not contain any preservatives or fillers that might cause any sensitivity or irritation to your skin. For this same reason, these products have a higher concentration of active ingredients while using higher quality materials. This has several benefits – you will see results on your skin, and you don’t have to use as much product to achieve these results, making the product last longer. Lastly, professional products take into consideration your skin’s pH level. When your skin’s pH level is not balanced, it can leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria and free radicals that can create damage. Feel free to check out some of the products we recommend.

Importance of a Good Skin Care Routine

Caring for your skin is more than just for your appearance. As the largest organ you have, your skin is essential to your general health. Having a well-thought-out skin care regimen is worth your time and energy. It is essential to take care of your skin daily to help keep it healthy.

The best way to do this is to have a skin care routine that works for you and becomes a habit. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated:

  1. Cleanse – wash your face gently with a product designed for your face. For dry skin, you want to stay away from cleansers that contain alcohol; if you have oily skin, stay away from oily cleansers. For other issues, such as acne, find a product that is specific to that.
  2. Moisturize – this is important, regardless of the time of year or your skin type. Always moisturize after you clean your face, and don’t forget your neck area or your eyes (use a moisturizer specifically for the eye area.)
  3. Sunscreen – If you are going to be outside, even for a minute, we recommend that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher that protects from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

These are the basic steps to a great skin care routine. After that, you can add things like exfoliators, serums, masks, etc. Since no one thing works for everyone, it is always key to ensure that your routine and the products you use are effective for you.

Working with one of our Board-Certified Dermatologists and Licensed Professionals can help you create the ideal routine for you. Our four locations are conveniently located in the Greater Spokane and Inland Northwest areas. Call us at any of our locations or book an appointment online.