Do Professional Skin Care Products Differ from Over-the-Counter Products?

We have seen beauty trends come and go through the years. There was the brush your hair 100 times every night trend, freckle tattoos, or the fish pedicure where these small fish supposedly would remove the skin from your feet…wait, that was really a thing? When it comes to the products that we put on our face, such as moisturizers, serum, and cleansers, we tend to be a bit more careful. We want products that are going to keep our skin healthy and help us with our different skin issues. With so many products in the market, how do we choose the best products for our skin care? Whether you decide on over-the-counter (OTC) products or professional products from your Dermatologist or Aesthetician, let’s try to break down what the differences are 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, doctor’s offices, or skin clinics. Some of the things that differentiate them from OTC products are:

  • They are formulated to be used by licensed aestheticians and doctors who have years of experience and a true understanding of the skin and its function.
  • Made in small batches, allowing for better quality control.
  • Undergo extensive clinical testing.
  • Have a higher percentage of active ingredients, and the quality of the ingredients is usually higher.
  • Products address different types of skin and skin conditions.
  • They 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 a longer time. They also contain 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.

Now, we are not saying that you should go home and get rid of all your OTC products. There are advantages to these products, including how easily accessible they are since you can find them at retail 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. Many OTC active ingredients have great efficacy, even if they do have a lower potency. Some examples of OTC products that work just as well or better include benzoyl peroxide, and some chemical exfoliants.

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

How can 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 Vitalogy Skincare, our highly skilled Providers will meet with you to get to know you and your skin. It is very important to see what your skin type is, what skin conditions you might be dealing with, any health issues you might have, and to get to know what your skin care goals are. These factors will help your Provider work with you to come up with a skin care routine that is geared specifically to your needs. This will also help your Provider suggest professional skin care products that will be effective.

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 with 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. 

Importance of a Skin Care Routine

Ultimately, the most important part of this discussion is that you care for your skin consistently. This will keep your skin healthy and looking its best. Regardless of what type of skin you have, it will help you protect it. The best way to do this is to have a skin care routine that works for you, and that it becomes a habit. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated:

  • 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.
  • Moisturize: 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.) Use a moisturizer that matches your skin type.
  • Sunscreen: Always make sure your skin is protected from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. If you are going to be outside, even for a minute, we recommend that you use sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30. You can also individualize your sunscreen depending on your skin type.

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 make sure that your routine and the products you use are effective for you. Working with our Board-Certified Dermatologists and Licensed Professionals can help you create the ideal routine for you. Book an appointment online at any of our eight locations in the Central Texas area.