A healthy diet and a proper skin care regimen may not always be enough to keep your skin at its best. Sometimes you need stronger products and the expertise of a skin care professional to achieve healthy, radiant skin. That is where medical skincare comes to the rescue.
What is medical-grade skincare?
Medical skincare is in a league of its own when it comes to treating the skin. The best medical skincare products have the best ingredients, in the purest form, at the appropriate strength and in correct combinations, backed by research studies.
Skin care companies, like Dr Zein Obagi Skin Health, Dermalogica or Elixir Cosmeceuticals, have invested in clinical research to guarantee that their products work. Their products generally have more stabilized ingredients, and are proven to offer results.
What are some active ingredients in these products?
Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs, are a group of substances derived from a natural substance like sugar cane, milk, almonds, or grapes. When properly formulated, AHA can exfoliate the outermost layers of skin, revealing the better-looking skin hiding beneath. It also has a natural ability to hydrate skin, and make it better at retaining its natural moisture.
Beta Hydroxy Acid, or BHA, also has exfoliating properties, but it works on skin’s surface and deep inside the pore. It is a better solution for normal to oily skin prone to acne, blemishes and enlarged pores, as it is oil soluble.
Retinol and Tretinoin (Retin-A)
Retinol (Vitamin A1) is the most well-known, most researched anti-aging agent used in many beauty products that make your skin look brighter, and feel softer and smoother. However, in order to be effective retinol has to react with enzymes within the skin to be converted into retinoic acid. And this is a slow process that depends on many outside factors.
Tretinoin, on the other hand, is a retinoic acid, so it can be used directly by the skin as soon as it’s applied. This ingredient is much more potent, it should be used with caution and in consultation with and expert. As your skin can gradually get accustomed to retinoids, it is best that you start off with a mainstream retinoid product. This can help acclimate your skin to topical retinoids and reduce side effects if and when you eventually bump up to prescription Retin-A.
Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, is one of most important antioxidants that protects the cells from free radical damage. Many skin products contain either ascorbic acid, or its more stable derivatives. When properly formulated, ascorbic acid helps create younger-looking, firmer-feeling skin while fading signs of uneven skin tone and spots.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our bodies, and it is also practically in every serum and moisturizer that exist. This magic substance can absorb and hold on to the thousand times its weight in water making the skin plumper and smoother.
Hydroquinone is the active ingredient in skin care products for lightening hyperpigmentation. This skin-bleaching agent that is used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as freckles, melasma, age spots, and acne scars.
Have in mind that none of these ingredients is effective on its own, and they all have to be properly formulated. Any product that contains high concertation of active ingredients has to be a part of a skin care regimen prescribed by a professional.
What results to expect from professional skin care?
Medical-grade products are highly recommended for clients that are looking to achieve specific goals. Improving texture of the skin is one of them; treatment with medical grade products help reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, spots, scarring, and other problem areas.
Cosmeceuticals are also highly effective in treating acne. They have a higher potency, which means they have more of the active ingredients that fight acne, making them significantly more effective. They also contain essential healing agents that soothe irritation and repair the skin, ending the inflammation cycle. In addition, professional skin cleansing and moisturizing regimens can be used to treat various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, melasma and rosacea.
Are medical skincare products better than mainstream ones?
This is a hard question to answer. There is no doubt that medical skin care products are more effective; they have highly concentrated active ingredients, that penetrate deeper in the skin, but they are not a magic potion, and they work differently for different people. The best results with these professional products are achieved in consultation with a certified cosmetologist or dermatologist.
Cosmetic skincare items are ones you commonly see in pharmacies and retail stores, and they are formulated to suit a certain skin type. They are much simpler to use, and you can allow yourself to try different ones until you find those that suit you best. They have limited amounts of active ingredients, which means their effectiveness is limited too, but it also means they do not cause any huge adverse effects.
Bottom line: medical skin care products are more effective, but they are not necessarily a better option for everyone.
Should you buy professional products for skin care?
Medical skin care products are certainly not cheap. And while they are backed up by a serious amount of medical research and testing to prove their effectiveness, this effectiveness also depends on the way they are used. And that requires some commitment.
These products are meant to go beyond your regular skin care. If your skin is not taken care of, if you are not doing treatments like professional facials or peels, and you just go buy an expensive product, you can’t expect life-changing results.
Also have in mind that there is no a “one-fits-all” solution. While some active ingredients may work for some people, they are not going to work for all people. So, if anywhere in your skin care journey you want to step it up or you need a specific issue that needs to be resolved, you should turn to seeking stronger formulation products, but only in consultation with a beautician or a dermatologist.
What is the best way to use medical skincare products?
Medical-grade skincare products can actually change your skin, but in order to use them effectively, you will need guidance. It is very important to schedule an appointment with a doctor or an aesthetician to help you determine which medical grade skin care products and regimen are best for you based on your skin condition, lifestyle, and previous procedures.
If you feel like mainstream skin care products don’t work for you, it may be the time to consult with your aesthetician or medical professional and develop a program using medical skincare products. A combination of therapeutic treatments and daily care products you can use at home will give you continuously healthy skin regardless of your age or unique skin condition.