Face Cream: Doctor’s Office or Drugstore?

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Is it worth a special trip to the dermatologist or aesthetician for medical-grade skin care products—or can you purchase what you need at the local drugstore, or the beauty counter at your favorite department store? Renewal Skin Spa co-owner Jon Gill explains the benefits of purchasing medical-grade products.


The active ingredients in products you purchase at a medical spa or doctor's office are potent, delivering the results you are looking for in your home care regimen. These products require professional guidance to choose which ones will be right for your specific skin and its current needs, and how to use them. Using the wrong products—or using them the wrong way—can cause further problems. Medical-grade skin care products are not one-size-fits-all and do not have to be, because clients are given professional guidance on which ones to use, how often, how much, when, and when not to use. This is not the case with retail products, which are designed as more of a one-size-fits-all.

Retail products do not contain high-potency ingredients, as these can pose a big liability issue for retail companies; high-potency ingredients can cause many complications if not used properly. And retail products, unlike professional products, are filled with excessive amounts of fillers and perfumes. These ingredients will do nothing to improve your skin, but they do smell great. Retail products are sometimes thought to be less expensive than professional grade, but this is not always true. Some products can cost upwards of $800 at department stores, with false promises on the fancy, costly, highly marketed packaging. The most expensive product we carry at Renewal Skin Spa is TNS Essential Serum, for $270. What this product alone can do in a month (if used as recommended by your professional) is comparable to products at fancy department stores costing upwards of $1,200. While TNS does not smell as great as the department store product, it was designed as an anti-aging product, not a perfume.

Buying professional-grade products from a licensed aesthetician or doctor also means delivery to where it counts.
 Active ingredients need not only to be powerful, but also to penetrate through our almost impermeable skin. These ingredients require "special delivery" to penetrate into the epidermis and dermis, in order to achieve efficacy. Retail products just sit on the skin and smell good, but do little to improve the skin.


Marketing versus Research and Development

Retail brands spend big bucks on packaging, marketing, and mass production. Makers of professional products spend the money on scientific research, pharmaceutical ingredients, and development. This is done to deliver powerful results that speak for themselves.
The idea is simple: Deliver great results, and word of mouth will do the rest.

Furthermore, retail products are not regulated by any government agency. Short of promising you immortality, they can write just about anything on the bottle or packaging in order for you to warrant a purchase. You will rarely see ingredients listed on the packaging or bottle, leaving you guessing on what is in there and how it works.

Guidance from professionals will result in cost savings, because you are not spending money on "just trying" products that provide miniscule results. The expertise professionals provide aids you in making an informed decision, effectively resulting in less investment.

Written by Jon Gill, co-owner of Renewal Skin Spa.


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