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medical grade skincare in Northern California

How to Level Up Your Skincare Routine | Answering Your Questions About Medical Grade Skincare

Education / March 2, 2022

At Allegro Medspa we love finding solutions to skincare issues. Whether it be premature signs of aging, dark circles, or overly textured skin, medical grade skincare products are our secret weapon in the fight against problematic skin.

If you’re tired of short-term skin fixes and you’re ready for a long-term solution, it’s time to make the switch from over-the-counter skincare products to medical grade ones. What are medical grade skincare products, you ask? Keep reading to get answers to all your questions about the why and how you should make the switch.

What is medical grade skincare?

These are prescription strength products specially formulated to treat skin issues like premature aging, acne scarring, and sun spots on a clinical level. They can only be sold at certified medical offices, like medical spas or dermatologists’ offices. Because they differ from over-the-counter products, we recommend consulting with a medical professional before purchasing them.

What does medical grade skincare treat?

Just like OTC skincare products, medical grade products function in many ways. They include moisturizers, exfoliators, cleansers, and serums, as well as specifically tailored treatments. With that in mind, we can combine medical grade skincare products in order to treat a variety of different skin issues, such as:

  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Acne scarring
  • Enlarged pores
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines

Along with the issues above, one of the best things about using medical grade skincare products is that your medical professional can customize a treatment plan based on your needs.You should schedule a consultation to discuss your unique skincare regimen so that you get the most out of your products.

Medical grade vs. over-the-counter: What’s the difference?

Both types of products contain ingredients designed to alleviate a certain issue. But there are a few key aspects that differentiate medical grade skincare from over-the-counter (OTC):

Active ingredient percentage

Say your eyes have been watering and your nose is itching like crazy, so you make an educated guess that you might be suffering from allergies. When you go to the pharmacy, you likely choose your allergy medication based on the percentage of active ingredients (ingredients that have a functional effect)  However, the option you don’t see is the prescription strength medication, which boasts of even higher levels of those active ingredients. 

The same goes for medical grade skincare products. Although you don’t need a prescription to get them, their use is overseen by physicians, so they are made with higher percentages of those ingredients that produce results. The higher the percentage, the more effective!

FDA regulations

The regulatory structures for medical grade skincare differ from over-the-counter products. The FDA doesn’t regulate over-the-counter products, so they’re technically only cosmetic solutions and often not tested at all.

OTC skincare products feature ingredients set to the lowest strength to accommodate people with sensitive skin. So, if you have an area of concern that requires higher percentages of active ingredients, you should look to medical grade products.

Medical grade products, meanwhile, offer the benefit of FDA regulation to provide additional reassurance. Particularly when it comes to facial skin, you want a product tested for safety and quality assurance. 

Medical grade goes deeper

Another benefit of stricter FDA regulations is that medical grade skincare products can go beyond cosmetic functions and dive below the surface level, literally. They are formulated to penetrate deeper into the layers of the skin, bypassing the first layer where OTC products sit. Once beneath the skin, the ingredients actually produce a biological change in your skin cells.

This is where you see true, long-lasting results. Where OTC products mask an issue for a little while, medical grade products generate change in the way the skin works. OTC products cover up. Medical grade products heal.

happy woman in towel using medical grade skincare

What makes medical grade skincare better?

Over-the-counter products are good, in some cases. However, there are multiple reasons why physician-recommended skincare takes the cake when it comes to real, visible results. 

More bang for your buck

Because they contain higher levels of active ingredients, you can use less of the product to achieve your desired results. A little goes a long way in the world of medical grade skincare. So, although the price tag may look a little different from something you’d find at Sephora or Ulta, the cost-benefit in the long run makes it worth it.

Clinically proven to work

Not only do medical grade products have MORE of the good stuff, the stuff is higher quality. Each ingredient has been tested in a clinical trial with proven results. OTC products, by contrast, sometimes don’t even need testing. Which would you rather have on your face? 

Medical oversight

It used to be that you could only purchase prescription grade skincare products from a doctor’s office. In our current world of online purchasing, these products have become more accessible, and you can purchase them in medical spas or on their websites. 

But most of the time, because of the higher levels of ingredients, physicians want to consult with you before purchasing. Regardless how effective these products are, you’ll be in the same place as when you started if your condition doesn’t match the product’s function.

You should use this consultation to your advantage, as it allows you to work with your skincare professional to create a unique and productive skincare plan. 

Can you combine clinical and over-the-counter products?

Of course! Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. Depending on your unique skincare needs, you can customize your skincare regimen to include both types. Remember, OTC doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality. It just means they’re not as regulated or as potent. 

So, for example, if your current OTC moisturizer has your skin feeling fresh and hydrated, then there’s no need to swap it out for a different kind. But if your skin suffers from flaking, cracking, or irritation,  a quality, physician recommended moisturizer, might benefit your routine.

medical grade skincare products on display at a spa

Take a look at our favorite medical grade skincare products to add to your routine!

Healthy skin starts with a good routine! Here’s an outline of a simple skincare routine plus products:

  1. Cleanser

Formulated to clean and refresh, as well as to help generate new cells, Obagi Clenziderm Foaming cleanser is a great addition to your product collection. You can use this product in the morning or the evening to leave your skin feeling refreshed and unburdened. 

2. Exfoliator

Perfect for all skin types, you can use SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser a few times per week to remove dead skin cells and debris. You don’t want to overuse the exfoliator because it can cause your skin to dry out. But used conservatively, it can give your skin a refresher for enhanced health.

3. Toner

Try adding toner to your daily routine, especially if you struggle with uneven skin tones. It smooths rough patches on the skin and restores your skin’s PH levels. The Obagi toner also uses witch hazel to minimize skin dryness! 

4. Retinol

Retinol is derived from vitamin A and is a helpful tool in evening skin tone, smoothing texture, and brightening the skin. It does this by generating new cell growth deep under the skin. You can easily add retinol to your daily routine. Just apply it after cleansing and before moisturizing! Make sure to let it fully dry before applying your moisturizer.

5. Moisturizer 

Your moisturizer use can change based on the needs of your skin, but as springtime approaches, a product like SkinMedica Rejuv Moisturizer is a perfect choice. It works to lock in moisture but isn’t oily or heavy, leaving your skin feeling light, hydrated, and free. 

6. Sunscreen

We love talking about the benefits of sun protection! Sunscreen is the finishing touch to your routine, and if possible, should be reapplied throughout the day. Obagi SPF 50 Cool uses thermic micro-shield crystal technology to displace the sun’s rays before they can do damage to your skin. 

You can choose the tone of the sunscreen based on the undertones of your skin, and each formula is made for those specific skin types.

Take a look at our other great products!

If you’re ready to start looking into medical grade skincare options, then take a look at our online shop! We’ve got tons of great options for every skin type. Then, when you’re ready, contact us online or call us at (707) 537 2123 so we can get you started on your path to new skin!

Who are we?

At Allegro we are passionate about helping people feel good in their skin. We take our client’s goals seriously and love to provide customized skin care products, information, and treatments. Our team is made up of nurses, aestheticians, and physicians with over 150 years of experience combined. Meet our team!