Professionally Recommended versus Over-The-Counter Skincare Products

Part of what I would like to accomplish through the BLOOM Blog is to educate you on the importance of skincare and to breakdown the different types of products and their specific uses and benefits. Before I do that though, I think its important to clarify the difference between Professionally Recommended{PR} Skincare and Over-The-Counter{OTC} products.

First, let’s be clear on the definition of the two. Professionally Recommended products are those that are offered by a licensed Skincare Professional. A licensed SkinCare Professional has studied the skin, been trained in how to assess the skin and the effects certain ingredients and applications will have on the skin. They are educated on the characteristics of the different skin types and on the many and varied skin conditions which may be present. SkinCare Professionals assess your skin by touching and looking at you skin and by asking in-depth questions about your skin’s history before recommending any product or treatment. They have trained, studied and passed exams which allow them to practice skin assessments, skincare treatments and to recommend skincare products. They KNOW skin and they’re passionate about it.

An OTC is a product that is widely available to anyone. You can purchase it at a drugstore, the grocery store, a department store or even through your next door neighbor.

Perhaps the biggest factor affecting the quality and efficacy of skincare is the law. By law, OTCs are not permitted to contain the same percentages of active ingredients as PRs. Of course, the reasoning behind this is to ensure public safety. If it’s a product that can be purchased without professional guidance, the powers that be need to be confident that these products can cause no harm. So, while a product says that it contains retinol it may not be at the same percentage as is in PR products, or there may be other ingredients in the product that buffer or soften the retinol’s effects. Also, the pH level of the product can affect the retinol’s ability to penetrate the skin.

On the flip side, PR’s are permitted the higher percentages of active ingredients, and the pH levels that allow for deeper penetration. What does this mean to your skin? You will see better results at a faster rate. It also means that you need to apply less product, which in many cases means that your products last you a longer period of time.

Another factor worth considering is that OTCs are produced in mass quantities. Millions of units are distributed throughout the US and around the world. In an effort to reduce the cost of manufacture, these companies add ingredients that extend the quantity of the product, but add no real value. These ingredients are often called ‘fillers’. In effect, fillers further dilute the performance of the product, leading you to require more product in order to see results. So while you feel like you are spending less, you may actually be purchasing your skincare much more often.

PRs are produced in much smaller batches and are distributed to a smaller number of outlets, usually {and preferably} only available to licensed professionals. This means that they can concentrate on ingredients that carry benefit to the skin and maximize the potency of the product. They also are more conscious of the quality of the ingredients they incorporate, being ever more careful to avoid those ingredients considered to be harmful. {We’ll discuss this in more detail in a future post.}

Of course, the added advantage of having your skincare recommended by a licensed Skincare Professional is that your skin has been assessed and you have been offered a skincare program that is appropriate for YOUR skin type and targeted for YOUR skin’s conditions and needs. In addition, you then have a point of contact, in the form of an actual, real, live person, who is well educated, in the event that a product stops working for you {your skin does evolve, and as conditions are corrected, your skin’s needs may change}, you have an allergic or adverse reaction {which can and does happen} or you are in need of advice regarding professional skincare treatments.


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