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Medical-Grade Skin Care: Are Moisturizers From A Dermatologist Really Better?

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Medical-Grade Skin Care: Are Moisturizers From A Dermatologist Really Better?

All moisturizers are not made equal. That is common knowledge; however, you could be spending a lot of money on skin care product lines from companies that invest more in marketing than research. If you’ve purchased moisturizer from a department store, a pharmacy, or online, the benefits you see may be minor compared to dermatologist-recommended products. Cosmetic-grade skin care products tend to sit on the surface of the skin and barely penetrate into the epidermis, the outermost skin layer. If they contain any active ingredients such as vitamin C, retinoids, or antioxidants, the effect may be minimal or take much longer to achieve. Medical-grade skin care is ideal if you want to achieve dramatic aesthetic results quickly, and take effective action against aging.

The Benefits of Medical-Grade Skin Care Products

One of the biggest benefits of using medical-grade moisturizers is that they are recommended by a medical professional for your specific skin type and needs. It cuts out the guesswork in finding your best skin care regimen. Formulated by highly knowledgeable physicians, biochemists, and chemical engineers, dermatologist-recommended moisturizers are designed to target your specific skin conditions and significantly improve your skin health.

Most over-the-counter products contain fillers and are ineffective unless the active ingredient is at higher concentrations than permitted in non-medical preparations. They are regulated to not make any medical claims, especially that they can ‘treat’ a skin condition. In contrast, a medical-grade moisturizer like ZO® Skin Health Renewal Creme has an active ingredient concentration that must be approved by Health Canada. With a weightless feel, this product rapidly replenishes moisture and supports a healthy protective skin barrier. Pharmaceutical or medical-grade skin care products are formulated to be delivered to the dermis, where collagen-producing cells live. For any meaningful changes to the skin to occur, the deep dermis layer must be impacted.

Medical-grade skin care products are regulated to contain 99% pure ingredients. Those standards are not enforced for cosmetic moisturizers that you would find in department stores, drug stores, or online. Pharmaceutical, research-based brands focus on delivering consistent results rather than on sales volume. While you may have to pay a little more upfront, using medical-grade skin care that is tailored specifically to your concerns builds up your skin’s health, which can prevent future undesirable skin issues.

Finding The Best Skin Care Through Your Dermatologist
There truly is no one-size-fits-all skin care regimen. While there are plenty of excellent over-the-counter options, you may want to mix and match medical-grade, department store, and drugstore products. Although there may be quality ingredients available in cosmetic moisturizers, it would be wise to consult your dermatologist before adding a new product into your skin care routine. Medical training allows dermatologists to ensure that each product they recommend is safe, high quality, and capable of offering their patients the desired results. For example, if you have a skin disease or condition that has compromised your skin barrier, your dermatologist can help you select a moisturizer without ingredients that will cause irritation, redness, and inflammation. Your dermatologist will work to find the best products, with the purest ingredients, at an appropriate strength and combination for you.  

Invest In Your Skin Care

Investing in a medically-recommended skin care product through your dermatologist is a wise move toward better skin health. You will receive expert guidance for your skin care routine. At the Okanagan Skin Care Centre, we stand behind our selection of professional-level products. That’s why we use and recommend Vivier® Skin Care, SkinMedica®, and ZO® Skin Health for our patients. 

If you’re ready to make a commitment to high quality skin care, you may want to look at a pre-packaged medical-grade skin care kit like our Vivier® Anti-Aging Program. Or, if you’re searching for a different skin solution, you can browse our product offerings online. Book a consultation by calling (250) 868-9290 or contact us through the online form.


Q: Is medical-grade skin care more expensive?
A: Not necessarily. It is a common misconception that medical-grade skin care products are priced much higher than cosmetic moisturizers. In fact, the price of cosmetic grade products is high in proportion to the amount of active ingredients and the amount you need to use over time in order to see visible results. Rather than spending large amounts of money on marketing, pharmaceutical-grade companies spend the core of their budgets on research, and quality product development. That is why medical-grade skin care ingredients tend to be more stable and take longer to degrade. You will likely find they need less frequent replacement. Finally, with a higher concentration of active ingredients, you will generally need less product to penetrate into the dermis, where collagen and elastin is generated. 

Q: What kind of ingredients should I look for in a moisturizer?
A:  Dehydration can actually lead to more exaggerated wrinkles, crepey skin, and dark circles under the eye, especially if you tend to have naturally dry skin. For ingredients that can help replenish moisture, your skin specialist may recommend active concentrations of niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides to reinforce the skin's barrier and to help lock in moisture. With 99% pure, bioavailable ingredients, medical-grade moisturizer will deliver the nourishment your skin needs where it needs it. 

Q: I don’t have a skin care routine. Where do I start?
A: The three basic staples of a good skin care system are a cleanser, a moisturizer, and sunscreen. A good cleanser washes away pore-blocking oils, dirt, makeup, and pollutants and won’t strip away helpful oils. Moisturizer is key to replenishing and hydrating your skin and customizable to include anti-aging ingredients such as retinol. And finally, sunscreen protects you from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun that can cause premature aging and pre-cancerous conditions. 


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Donna McAteer

Donna McAteer

Donna is the general manager and has been with the Okana­gan Skin Care Cen­tre for over 14 years. She is a certified Es­theti­cian and previous business owner with over 20 years enjoying the skin care industry. Her passion for knowledge, integral client care and maintaining a syn­er­gis­tic team that represents professional excellence in skin care remains her focus.

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