Medical-grade skin care products, also known as cosmeceuticals, contain active ingredients that have been clinically proven to have a positive effect on skin. These kinds of products are sold in our dermatology office. They are often categorized as a blend between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, providing both aesthetic and medicinal benefits. It is a good idea to learn more about these skin care lines and why you may want to consider using them in favor of over-the-counter products.

Medical-Grade vs. Over-the-Counter Products

Cosmeceuticals differ from products you can buy at the drug store in that they contain ingredients that are capable of penetrating below the top layers of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. Products sold over-the-counter do not affect the skin in biological ways and are unable to penetrate its upper layers. Thus, they are labeled as “cosmetic.” Medical-grade skin care products should only be purchased from a dermatology practice such as APDerm.

Active Ingredients

Medical-grade skin care lines often use the same ingredients as pharmaceutical ones you can only obtain with a prescription, only in lesser amounts or alternate derivatives. Common examples include retinol such as SkinMedica® Retinol Complex,  antioxidants as SkinCeuticals® CE Ferulic®, or peptides such as SkinMedica® TNS Eye Repair®. Cosmeceuticals contain these medical-grade ingredients. Some OTC brands may contain them as well, but the amount is minimal. If you recall, OTC brands sold in retail stores are not permitted to affect structural change to the skin.

Proven Formulas

As with the amount of a particular ingredient, the formula used for developing a product plays a large role in its effectiveness. Many retail manufacturers use inexpensive methods of mass production to maintain cost. While a cosmeceutical line may come with a slightly higher price tag, it is also likely that it has been developed to a higher standard with quality ingredients to provide effective results.

Better Value

As noted, medical-grade skin care products penetrate the skin more efficiently than those sold in stores. This penetration allows the products to achieve desired structural results. Thus, products obtained from our dermatologist are overall a better value. They offer better results, and you may actually need to use less due to the higher levels of penetration.

Medical Oversight

When choosing medical-grade skin care products, you receive a regimen that is customized to your specific needs because it is recommended by one of our dermatologists or aesthetic specialists. Our providers are familiar with the product line and with your skin type. Therefore, it’s more likely you’ll receive the correct product the first time, rather than trying a number of brands in hopes of finding one you like.

Also, you’ll receive education in the product line, including information on why it was recommended for you and in what order to apply the products for optimal penetration.

Learn More About Our Medical-Grade Skin Care Products

Choosing the right products for your skin care needs can be tricky. These are some of the reasons why opting for medical-grade skin care products makes sense. For more information about these products, visit APDerm, with offices throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.


We are here to help you with all your dermatology needs during this crisis and after. Please reach out to us by either calling (978) 707-6208 or by filling out the form below.


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