Drug Store vs Medical Grade Skincare Products


by Kelly Pacifico, Licensed Medical Aesthetician

When it comes to choosing your skincare, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the number of brands and products available. With aisles upon aisles at your local pharmacy, supermarket, and specialty shops, not to mention social media ads, it’s difficult to decide what products your skin needs to look and feel healthy.

Underneath the eye-catching packaging and celebrity endorsements, what your skin really needs are active, high quality ingredients that are delivered in a way that that achieves real, visible changes for a healthy glow.  Here are some key differences between over-the-counter and medical grade skincare products that I hope will help guide you.


Drug store or over-the counter products are often composed mostly of water, not containing enough of the active ingredients that actually promote healthy skin. They tend to be jars of empty promises instead of game changers when it comes to improving your skin. In contrast, medical brands like Skinmedica and ZO Skin Health go through extensive clinical testing and use advanced, high-quality ingredients and delivery methods that provide optimal results.


Exterior design, while often compelling and made to “sell,” does not improve your skin. Interior design does, and medical grade products are designed to deliver real results. They are not labeled with the latest trendy catch-phrases because what sells medical grade products is not the label. It’s the science and research that goes into the product technology and ensures they do not over promise and under deliver. As skincare professionals, we can feel confident recommending medical grade skincare because of the testing and outcome research that goes into them. The promises are evidence based.

The Real Deal

Drug store products are not as sophisticated and tend to sit on top of the skin. Active ingredients, when present, are unable to penetrate deeply enough to change or heal the condition of the skin. The amount, or dosage, of the active ingredients is also higher in medical grade skin care products because they are sold through a physician’s office and are intended to be used as part of a professionally supervised skin care routine. You may be able to buy these products online, but buyer beware! Some are impostors or knock-offs, and without professional guidance, could result in side-effects or a poor outcome.

Guidance from a Licensed Professional

When purchasing medical grade products from our office, you have the advantage of consulting with an experienced, Licensed Medical Aesthetician. We are highly trained in the science behind the products and we stay up-to-date on the latest, most-effective skincare technology. We customize a home skincare program to treat your specific needs and concerns, and we monitor your progress.  This means you can feel confident that your purchase is a thought-out investment in your skin health and not a guessing game trying to get it right. You will have our experienced support to help you get the best results for your skin!

Aging in Reverse

We believe that daily use of medical grade skin care products is the foundation of healthy skin.  Results from a customized home skincare program are impressive, but profound results are seen when combined with other services like HydraFacials, microneedling, lasers, and injectable treatments. Your committed daily skin care routine not only enhances results from more advanced treatments, but also helps to maintain those results. It protects your investment and working as a team, we can reverse a great deal of damage and changes that have occurred over the years, truly achieving “aging in reverse!”

If you want more information on medical grade skincare products and services, please call 518-786-1700!