Medical Grade Skincare

Buzzwords in marketing tend to be a large part of why we buy things. Categories like over the counter (OTC) and medical grade get thrown around in skincare marketing all the time, but what does that really mean? Is medical grade just a term used to sell products at a more expensive price tag? Today we talk about the different categories of skincare and why we here at ZONA choose to invest in medical grade skincare.

Over the Counter Cosmetics

The FD&C Act (federal drug & cosmetic) defines cosmetics by their intended use, as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” This could mean skincare, makeup, lipstick, shampoo, nail polish, etc. These cosmetics would fall under the category of OTC cosmetics because they have less regulations from the FDA. Some examples of OTC products would be CeraVe, Neutrogena, Olay, Cetaphil and would be in this category because it does not require thorough product or ingredient testing.

Over the Counter Drug

The FD&C Act also states that if the product is intended for a therapeutic use, such as treating or preventing disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. OTC drug category is a combination of a cosmetic and a drug that you can buy at Target, Walmart, CVS, or anywhere. For example, a shampoo is a cosmetic because its intended use is to cleanse the hair. An anti dandruff treatment is a drug because its intended use is to treat dandruff. Consequently, an anti dandruff shampoo is both a cosmetic and a drug. Among other cosmetic/drug combinations are toothpastes that contain fluoride, deodorants that are also antiperspirants, and moisturizers and makeup marketed with sun-protection claims. Such products must comply with the requirements for both cosmetics and drugs. 

Prescription Drugs

Products or devices that are changing the structure or function of the body are labeled as drugs with the FDA. So, if a product is intended, for example, to remove wrinkles or increase the skin’s production of collagen, it’s a drug or a medical device. Drugs must have FDA approval for both safety and effectiveness before they go on the market. Similarly, medical devices must go through FDA’s clearance process. If a skincare line or product claims they are medical grade or prescription strength then they would also have the case studies to prove it. Here at ZONA we carry, use and love brands such as Alastin, Skinceuticals, SkinBetter and Revision. All of which have very fascinating case studies, research and science to back up their products and ingredients, not just before and after photos.

The Bottom Line

We get it, OTC drugstore brands are cheaper. We also understand that your dermatologist, favorite social media influencer or celebrity might have recommended those cheaper OTC brands to you. I am not here to judge, simply just to educate. The bottom line is you get what you pay for. Neutrogena hydro boost might be your favorite new moisturizer which is great, if you only want to be moisturized. In order to see changes in your skin, you must invest in your skin and in those products proven to make those changes. Skin goals also mean making your skin a priority. Our ZONA experts are here to help build you a new plan to achieve your goals. If you are ready to dedicate your time to consistency, invest in products that have a longer shelf life and ingredients that have tested effectiveness, we are here for you. Book your consultation or treatment with us today!




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