With all of the media hype and a plethora of skin care options to choose from, it’s no wonder why most consumers are confused as to what would be the best products for their skin. Should you use  OTC (over-the-counter) or Pharmaceutical skin care?  Our skin is the largest organ and unfortunately there is misleading information on which skin care products are best for your skin.

Our skin is comprised of two layers – the Epidermis or outer layers of the skin and the Dermis or “Live” underlying layer of the skin. The Epidermis is the upper layer of the skin consisting of 4-5 layers depending on the area of the body. The Dermis is the deeper layer of the skin that is considered “Live” as it consists of living skin cells, and is the home of nerve endings, sweat glands, oil glands, hair follicles, and blood vessels.  The Dermis is a thick layer of fibrous and elastic tissue – also known as Collagen and Elastin.  These two components in speaking about skin care are vitally important because they hold the key in creating more healthy, youthful looking skin.

OTC Skin Care Products vs Pharmaceutical Grade Products

The #1 difference between OTC and Pharmaceutical skin care is their Ability to Penetrate the epidermis. The FDA has placed guidelines that in layman’s terms, means that anything that Penetrates the epidermis or into the Dermis is considered a Pharmaceutical grade product while the OTC products cannot penetrate the epidermis.

The #2 difference between OTC and Pharmaceutical skin care is the potency or strength of the ingredients within the product. OTC products cannot be strong enough or carry the ability to penetrate the epidermis which will not be as effective. The product might feel good when applied but unfortunately isn’t doing much for our skin.

You may find Pharmaceutical grade products at Physician offices such as Plastic surgeons, Dermatologists and most Medical Spas.