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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jackson

What is Medical Grade Skincare?

In the world of skincare, there are a lot of options. Over-the-counter skin care products are sold everywhere, from cosmetic retailers like Sephora or Ulta, to your local grocery store, and every drugstore in between. At Foundations at Maitland, we use the power of science to offer you the best in skin products: ZO Skin Health. With so many options on the market, purchasing a skin care regime can get confusing. Before you decide, you should understand the differences between medical-grade products and over-the-counter products.


The most obvious difference between the two is where they are sold. Medical-grade skincare products can only be sold by businesses that operate under a physician’s license (ie medical spas, dermatology clinics, etc). These products have been developed and researched to be effective, with the highest amount of active ingredients in their purest form. The potency of the formula allows the products to penetrate deeply within the dermis, facilitating real results and changes to the skin. A more potent formula yields a greater risk to the general public, meaning that certain products must be used with care and are not for everyone. This is why medical-grade products can only be sold under the guidance of a licensed professional.

Over-the-counter products can be sold anywhere. They are designed to accommodate the general public so the concentration and potency of active ingredients is lower. That means results are less apparent, and more variable from one person to the next.


Medical-grade skincare products are FDA-regulated and most are marked as pharmaceuticals. By law, they must have 99.9% pure active ingredients. Before they can be used or marketed, there has to be scientific evidence showing that the skincare product is beneficial and that it does what it promises.

Over-the-counter products are not FDA-regulated and usually include filler ingredients. They don’t require clinical studies that prove effectiveness in order to be sold, and there is not regulation about the marketing claims made about these products.


Some of the pros of over-the-counter skincare products are that they are often more affordable, easily accessible, and can be used to improve minor, surface-level skin conditions. However, results are not always as promised, and in some cases there can be reactions to filler ingredients.

The pros of medical-grade skincare products are that they are deeper penetrating, clinically proven to be effective, and that the cost is derived from a high concentration of pure, active ingredients. Due to FDA-regulation, products have consistent ingredients from one bottle to the next. They can more effectively treat skin conditions such as acne, sun damage, fine lines and rosacea.

We highly recommend scheduling a skincare consultation if you’re trying to determine a skincare routine. Certain over-the-counter products may be a great choice for you depending on your skin type, concerns, and the product itself. It’s important to see a professional who can help you decide what to invest in and what products are safe to use. We can help you work out a skincare regime that works for your skin and your budget.


At Foundations at Maitland, in Maitland FL, we offer a full range of non-surgical treatments to help you reach your aesthetic, wellness, and sexual goals. Our providers are highly trained and experienced. We are led by our double-board certified surgeon, Dr Kristin Jackson, who has personally developed all treatment protocols and is closely involved in the day-to-day operations of our medical spa. With her extensive training in all non-surgical cosmetic treatments as well as over 20 years of surgical experience, Dr Jackson is uniquely qualified to ensure our medical spa provides you with the highest standards of quality care and safety.

If you are looking for skin care doctors near you, we can help! Contact us today for your complimentary consultation!


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