There are three reasons why there is a remarkable difference between cosmeceuticals (medical skin care products) and cosmetic (over-the-counter) products.
1. Concentration of Active Ingredients
Active ingredients are formulated to address particular concerns or conditions, for this reason, they have to have very specific formulations to target and treat the specific problem.
Over-the-counter products are formulated for the general public and therefore cannot be too active. The use of active ingredients in cosmetic products is limited by law to minimise skin reactions. This includes the number of ingredients used, the grade or quality of the ingredients, as well as the concentrations (potency) and dosages.
The number of active ingredients used, the grade or quality of actives, as well as the concentrations in medical products, are much higher, making the products much more active. These products can only be prescribed by medical doctors, who will ensure that a specific condition is addressed and the best results are achieved, without causing damage to the skin.
2. Penetration Into The Skin
Over-the-counter products may not penetrate as deeply into the skin as they have limited active ingredients, less sophisticated delivery systems and lesser concentrations of actives.
In the case of the cosmeceuticals, the active ingredients are formulated to reach the deeper layers of the skin (the dermis). It is at this level that collagen is restored or remodelled, elastin is affected, hyaluronic acid is produced, and the causes of skin ageing are addressed, thus the difference in the results seen. For those serious about anti-ageing, it is essential to use products that reach the dermis where the skin is actually transformed.
3. Scientific Backup
Over-the-counter products often have pretty packaging and claim to deliver certain results through expensive advertising campaigns.
It is, however, scientifically proven that medical products give results and improve the skin. They can back up their claims with clinical data based on testing the complete product, not a random ingredient, as is often the case with many cosmetics.
Cosmeceuticals are the only products that can change the skin because the active ingredients can reach the dermis where the important transformative functions are performed. It is therefore very important to be under the care and supervision of a Doctor or qualified therapist to ensure that you are using the right products for your skin type, in the correct way.
Using cosmeceuticals while having medical aesthetic treatments is like having a personal trainer for your skin. You need your therapist or doctor treatments, but you also need to know exactly what to do at home to maintain a radiant, youthful, problem-free skin. View this video for a brief summary of the 3 main differences between Medical skin care vs Cosmetic products.