The Medical Grade Difference

Marnie Godfrey, BS, Manager of Aesthetic Services at Cleveland Clinic’s Dermatology & Plastic Surgery Institute, clears up five common skin misconceptions regarding medical grade skin care products:

#1: There’s no difference between over-the-counter products and medical skin care products

Fact: Medical-grade skin care products contain higher levels of active ingredients, so you’ll see better results faster. A professional consultation provides a custom skin care regimen tailored specifically for you. Over-the-counter products are made for all types of skin, and manufacturers use lower levels of active ingredients to minimize any adverse reactions.

#2: Traditional skin care is best: You must cleanse-tone-moisturize

Fact: Using a pH balanced cleanser may mean you can skip toning and moisturizing. The right cleanser will not leave dirt, oil or makeup residue on the skin or make it feel tight or dry after washing. And healthy, pH balanced skin will make its own moisture. Be careful with moisturizers, which sit on top of skin and can act like glue. Look for products that actually treat your skin rather than making it feel moisturized.

#3: Your skin type never changes

Fact: Your skin type changes throughout your life because of seasonal, hormonal and environmental factors. Most women have skin that’s a combination of different levels of oily and dry. The onset of adult acne is an example of changing skin type.

#4: Daily sun protection isn’t necessary

Fact: If you’re in the sun longer than 15 minutes total during the day, you should wear sunscreen every day. UVA rays penetrate glass, so if you’re by a window or in a car, the sun will harm your skin.

#5: My makeup has an SPF, so I don’t need to wear sunscreen

Fact: SPF only relates to UVB rays that affect the top layers of skin, causing redness and burning. UVA rays (used in tanning beds) cause deeper radiation damage, including wrinkles and other signs of aging. Look for makeup that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, or use a separate sunscreen to prevent damage.