Ever since I was a child, I loved to make people feel and look beautiful.

Is There Really a Difference Between Medical Grade Skincare & Over-the-Counter?

The short answer is ABSOLUTELY!

In Cheeky’s never ending quest for great skin, this is something we often deal with when finding quality products for us and Cheeky’s. As our loyal readers know, I’m a go big or go home type of person. My poobear was actually just telling me how he’s like that too (I could have told ya that lololol) so it’s no wonder we compliment one another. But with skincare, I tend to lean more towards the medical grade products because of the sheer fact that they typically work so much better than general, over-the-counter products. However, it’s very important to realize that not everything medical grade is necessary and we’ve all got different budgets and over-the-counter products can be really amazing too! So don’t get discouraged if your medicine cabinet isn’t lined with medical grade skincare.

There are 2 main reasons why over-the-counter skincare products are not designed to be super strong. The first reason is that they are designed to be used by the general public & easily accessible. So, if there is a skincare product that is designed to treat oily skin for instance, it is made to give some relief from oily skin, but not too much relief where all the sudden your skin is blown all out of wack and you’re miserable.

The second reason is that over-the-counter skincare products allow the patient to self-diagnose their own skin problems. So that person is the one saying, ‘I have oily skin’, as opposed to having a medical professional who would take time to understand their skin and possibly come up with a different analysis, i.e oily in the T zone and dry in other areas. If over-the-counter skincare products were stronger, patients may misdiagnose their skin conditions and ultimately hurt themselves in the long run.

Medical grade skincare products are typically sold and used only in medical spas, dermatologist offices or skincare clinics (ahh, to reminisce, Tampa used to have the most BEAUTIFUL skincare clinics! I definitely miss all that fanciness). These products offer a very high concentration of grade-A ingredients and are often most potent with the highest return on investment – i.e the MOST impact, otherwise known as, best bang for your buck! As you can imagine, they are often more expensive than over-the-counter products, but in my brain, I see these skincare items like I do purses…. so for me, I’d rather have a few really nice purses that last FOREVER, vs. really cheap purses and a lot of them. The same can be related to skincare…. sometimes less is more and when these medical grade products are delivering really impactful results, you may not get turned off by the price that easily.

If you’re considering professional strength or medical grade skincare products, there are definitely some brand favorites.

SkinMedica – TOP choice! These guys are just huge players – they’re owned by Allergan which owns Juvederm, Botox, etc. They’re my favorite hands down. One of my favorite things about them is that every product is tested and proven to work. I am analytical in nature (not numbers, but just facts I guess) and I love when I can actually see something works with my own two eyes before trying it out.

SkinCeuticals – I’ll say this is probably my second favorite! They were first started by their devotion to skin cancer research and then ended up finding amazing opportunities to improve skin in more ways than not.

PCA Skin

Glytone – Another big fav! Recommended by our dermatologist, these guys aren’t frilly in anyway, but they deliver absolutely solid skincare products and results.

Nia 24

Vi Derm – Most famous for their VI Peel that has proven to show great results for melasma and sun damage.

Obaji – These guys have been around for a while, since 1988. They are most often seen in skincare clinics – in fact, I see them in most. They’re a big player. I personally haven’t tried their products before but they are certainly a great one.

ZO Skin Health – We have some of their products & really love them!


Though that’s our favorites list, there are TONS of medical grade skincare brands to consider. Not ready to take the plunge? You’re GREAT where you are. Do your research, get comfortable with the products, save up – do what ya need to do if you’re wanting to get into these medical grade products. They’re certainly worth it, but you’re most definitely beautiful without ’em!

Leave a Reply