19th April 2022

Medical-Grade Skincare Vs. Over-the-Counter: Is It Time For You To Make A Switch?

Last Modified: August 3, 2022

From facial cleansers to serums to sunscreen, you probably have had your fair share of over-the-counter (OTC) skincare products. But have any of these products delivered the results you're looking for? Or do you keep tossing one out and quickly moving on to the next?

While skincare and figuring out what to use on your face can feel complicated at times, there are a few ways to simplify the process for yourself.

One of such is knowing the difference between over-the-counter and medical-grade skincare products. Why is this important, and how can it help you make smart buying decisions?

Let's find out together!

What is Medical Grade Skincare?

There's a common comment our clients make when they switch to our medical-grade skincare products after years of using OTC products:

I can't believe how good these products look and smell. 

But is that all there is to medical-grade skincare products? A sleek packaging and fantastic scent?

The answer is No.

For a skincare product to qualify to be labelled medical-grade, it has to be specially formulated to address a specific skin concern like acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation or fine lines.

It also has to be extensively tested in clinical research to guarantee that it really does work and offers superior results to over-the-counter alternatives.

Remember, trying to distinguish medical grade products from OTC products solely on price can be misleading. Does medical-grade skincare, on average, cost more? Yes. But there are many over-the-counter products that are expensive and overpriced. And not because they contain high-quality ingredients but rather because of aggressive marketing campaigns and brand status.

With that out of the way, let's dig a little deeper into the attributes of medical-grade skincare products:

Highly Potent Formulations of Active Ingredients

One of the most significant differences between medical-grade skincare and over-the-counter (OTC) products is the strength of their formulations.

Since OTC brands are targeted at a general population, they use very low concentrations of active ingredients to make them compatible with most people's skin. The downside to this is they are often not potent enough to make a huge impact on your skin goals.

On the other hand, medical-grade products have much higher concentrations of active ingredients. This potency allows them to deliver noticeable results much faster.

In case you are wondering what active ingredients are, here's a quick breakdown.

An active ingredient is the component of the product that is designed to address a specific skin concern directly. It's backed by scientific data that proves it can bring about the desired change to the skin. Put simply, the active ingredient is what makes a skincare product effective. 

Common examples of active ingredients include:

  • Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) - clear up blemishes
  • Hyaluronic Acid - hydrates the skin 
  • Vitamin C - protects against free radicals
  • Niacinamide - fight inflammation
  • Retinoids - stimulate collagen production

Please note that this does not mean that the other listed ingredients don't have a role to play. In a skincare formulation, inactive ingredients are normally referred to as the "vehicle." Their role is to deliver the actives to where they're needed on your skin! They also act as a preservative and determine the product's form (cream, lotion, serum, gel, etc.), among many other functions. 

Designed to Go Deep

The skin is a complex organ that acts as a robust barrier to external elements. While this is very advantageous for keeping harmful products and environmental pollutants out, it can pose somewhat of a challenge to your skincare. 

If a product just sits on top of your skin and cannot reach the deeper layers, it will have very little benefit to your skin health and appearance. 

Medical grade skincare is able to overcome this limitation. 

Due to the depth of research committed to product development, medical-grade skincare products can now employ advanced transdermal delivery systems that assist the ingredients in getting to where they need to go. 

The active ingredients also have a low molecular weight which gives them the ability to penetrate deeper without clogging the pores. Vitamin C is one such active ingredient as it can travel to the dermis and stimulate natural collagen production.

Furthermore, medical-grade brands also ensure their active ingredients are bioavailable, which means they can be used immediately by the body.

Not Every Medical Grade Skincare Brand is The Same

Many medical-grade brands will do rigorous testing and clinical studies. Still, the reality is anyone can use the term "medical grade".

Whether a medical-grade skincare product is good, effective, or even worth it, is a question best answered on a brand-by-brand basis.

For instance, Vitamin C is widely praised for its multiple anti-ageing, antioxidant and skin brightening effects. However, not all Vitamin C products are created equal or have the ability to penetrate as deep into the skin as we want them to. 

For the best outcome, Vitamin C needs to be in the bio-available form( L-ascorbic acid), ideally at 15% strength and in a solution with a pH of less than 3.5. AlumierMD has met all these requirements in their New EverActive C&E™ + Peptide

And it's not only their antioxidant serum. Every product they make is carefully designed and undergoes countless strategic formulation trials to ensure maximum efficacy and long-lasting results.

The products are also free from dyes, parabens, sulfates, phthalates and fragrances that can damage the epidermal barrier and cause skin hypersensitivity and premature skin ageing.

Furthermore, all AlumierMD packaging is formulated to be safe, sustainable and biodegradable. 

This is why AlumierMD is our go-to provider for a wide array of medical-grade skincare products.

Whether you're looking for an antioxidant-rich serum, anti-ageing eye cream, or broad-spectrum natural mineral sunscreen, AlumierMD is undoubtedly one of the best options. We encourage you to do your own research and find out what makes AlumierMD stand out from the rest.

Get Started On Your Skin Transformation Journey

Many medical-grade skincare products Like AlumierMD are sold exclusively through doctors' and aestheticians' offices. 

Why is that?

First, there truly is no one-size-fits-all skincare regime. This is why medical-grade skincare products are often designed with one patient in mind. 

The best part is you can get a skin specialist to carry out a full assessment to match your skin problem to the right skincare products. 

With AlumierMD, we guarantee you a hyper customised treatment plan using products from one of the best medical grade brands in the market.

This customised approach ensures that you don't get disappointed and get up in an endless loop of trial and error.

Has AlumierMD been the missing link in your skincare? Let's find out together!

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 19th April 2022
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

"We want to empower everyone who walks through our clinic doors, to be able to look in the mirror and see a happier, brighter version of themselves."

For everyone that walks through our clinic doors, you may think you are alone, but you are not. Our patients all have a different story to tell but all come from a similar place.
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