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Over the counter products vs. cosmeceuticals (professional) skincare products

I’m often asked, “What is the difference between over the counter products sold at a drag or department stores and professional skincare products?” “Will the professional products work better for me?"

The short answer is – YES. Professional skincare will always be a wise buy since you receive a more enriched product that is focused on solving problems and offering effective solution. So if you want to minimize the effects of aging, you will get what you pay for with the professional products vs. paying for the brand name or some arbitrary premium set by the company in case of most retail products.  

For the long answer, here are the main differences between them. Keep in mind that while the attributes listed here are true for "Perfect Treatment", perhaps not all of them will be true for other professional skincare brands, since there is quite a bit of diversity between the brands.

Professional Products:

  1. More potent and higher quality ingredients – you get more results for your money
  • High quality of key ingredients that are designed to reach the desired results.
  • The grade and effectiveness of the ingredients are better.
  • With a focus on results (rather than mass selling), a higher quantity of active ingredients are added to ensure the product does what it supposed to.
  1. More advanced ingredients
  • The ingredients you find in professional skin care are often the latest generation of the more established ingredients, or the most cutting edge technological developments.
  • For example let's look at Vitamin C (which is known as very important in skincare products). The best ester form of Vitamin C is Ascorbyl Tetra-Isopalmitate and you will probably find it only in professional products in significant percentages. Serum C includes 10% of this ester!
  1. Most current delivery system of ingredients
  • If these potent and advanced ingredients won't penetrate the skin barrier – the product is a waste of money. What matters the most is getting these ingredients into skin and enabling it to reach its target destination. If it doesn’t penetrate far enough, it won’t do skin any good.
  • Medical grade products have the ability to penetrate the top layer of skin, hitting the lower layer of skin where collagen and pigmentation lay as well as where our new skin cells are produced. Since the loss of collagen causes skin aging and the increased pigmentation results in brown spots, using the proper professional products can improve and promote changes in the skin that over-the-counter products do not.
  1. More sophisticated formulations
  • Because of the research that goes into their formulation, professional skin care products are more effective in maintaining optimal skin health and treating skin conditions than what is found in drugstores and department stores.
  • It’s a more thorough approach to treating the root cause of a problem.
  • For example, a lot of our products include Polymers, which allow the long-term effectiveness of ingredients and allows slow release of the active ingredients
  1. And also
  • It feels smoother and silkier. It usually glides on easily and absorbs better than a retail product.
  • Made in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and are made to deliver immediate results.
  • No added synthetic fragrances, colors or dyes. This lessens your chance of sensitivity and irritation to these unnecessary chemicals.


Over The Counter products:

  • Usually have less or lower percentage of active ingredients and simpler formulas in order to fit to all the customers.
  • Over-the-counter cosmetics are manufactured and distributed in very large batches, and are packed with almost as many preservatives as “active” ingredients since the shelf life will need to be longer.
  • Many over-the-counter cosmetics simply do not penetrate the skin barrier, where the ingredient formula would have a therapeutic benefit to the health of the skin.   
  • Formulated by chemists and presented and sold to the public by corporate marketing specialists. Lots of hype and clever marketing jargon to get you to buy it.
  • Added synthetic dyes, colors and fragrances to heighten the sensory experience and esthetic look for the sole purpose of encouraging sales.
  • Low quality, inexpensive oils with potential pore clogging properties. The drug store is loaded with products containing mineral oil and petroleum which are forbidden ingredients by most skin care professionals.


These professional skin care brands, while pricey to start, are cost effective in the long run.

It is important to remember that your skin's health it's just the brands you use – it's your whole lifestyle. You are welcome to check out our posts "How to maintain young and healthy skin?" and "Slowing down the aging process".

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