Professional vs Over-The-Counter Products

The catch words are everywhere: “retinol” “peptides” “stem cells”  “organic”

How do you decide? First you need to understand the science frontwards, backwards and inside out. If you don’t, you need to find someone you trust to give you the best information. In this marketing “Feeding Frenzy” it is difficult to separate fact from fiction, misstatements and overstatements. For example: “organic milk” went from 2 to 3 day expiration date or 3 to 4 week expiration date. How did that happen? The milk currently labelled “organic” in the grocery store has been ultra-pasteurized which utilizes high heat of over 290 degrees Fahrenheit to kill 99% of the bacteria common extending the shelf life of milk. When products are subject to high heat, proteins are denatured and vitamins are destroyed compromising the benefit of the “Whole.” We recommend raw milk.

With regard to skin care products there are five distinguishing points:

  1. Physician level products have higher concentrations of active ingredients. Just as in the case of over-the-counter prescription vs. prescription strength prescriptions. Physicians are trained to monitor for potential side effects and to treat those side effects. Cosmetic companies need to ensure their consumers they don’t have any problems potentially compromising the sale and rating of their product.
  2. Physician level products are backed by scientific studies to prove efficacy. In general all products sold in doctors’ offices are backed by “white papers” which substantiate the improvement, frequently using histologic evaluation of skin changes quantification of the amount of collagen and elastin in different preparations.
  3. Physician level products generally contain cutting edge ingredients utilizing the latest in scientific research. By the time a product goes through all necessary steps for adoption by a Cosmetic Company it is relatively “old”. For example, one of the products being sold in our office 6 years ago was recently up for sale to be sold to Revlon when it would then become “new” product with a huge marketing spin.
  4. Pay attention to the lighting conditions of the before and after pictures for your skin care products. Oftentimes the lighting conditions are different; those pictures can even be taken on the same day. Physicians are trained to understand this concept and will not be fooled by that. Remember, your doctor’s goal is to make you better; the cosmetic company’s goal is to sell.
  5. In addition, physician level products are generally a better value, costing less per ounce than many over the counter products. Doctor’s streamline skin care plans, as well, to provide maximum efficacy with a minimum number of great products.


*See the attached article from Dermatology Times