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Q&A: What makes certain skincare products considered medical grade?

Posted by Dan Narsete on

What exactly goes into making a product “medical grade”? Is it a marketing decision? Are products purchased from a medical office the same as in the grocery store? How do I know what I’m really putting on my skin? What is medical grade skincare? These are great questions we get all the time so we are going to break it down for you.

"All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison." - Paracelsus 


Currently, the FDA does not check the levels or potency of skincare. Rather, it only requires that a company register and list the ingredients on the back of the box or that these ingredients are visible on their website. This can be a very slippery slope. Since it isn’t required to list the effectiveness, how do you, as a consumer, know what you are getting? The answer is you don’t.

Blessing the tank

Since we know what is required for regulation, many companies can get away with putting very little in their skincare. It is a common practice where any given skincare company will add in a “pinch” of an ingredient, not unlike your favorite recipe. Instead of adding a pinch of salt or sugar, companies often add a scoop of vitamin c or another sought-after ingredient. The problem is that this “pinch” is not enough to do much of anything. So you see, technically vitamin c is in their serum, the company can advertise it as a “vitamin c serum,” and people will naturally purchase the product without giving much thought to the amount of vitamin c it contains. Within the industry, this is called “blessing the tank.” Sounds crazy, right? It is.

Medical grade

Skincare that is considered medical grade has verifiable levels of ingredients in it and is only sold through licensed physicians. These verified levels are often tested through clinical studies using a double-blind placebo method. This is done so there is no preference to one product over another. These studies are conducted by medically licensed physicians and often published in scientific journals, so they have to have the data to back up their products. These products often contain levels of vitamins, peptides, and retinols that are only available via prescription. So, again, you know what you are getting.

Cost vs benefit

There are some good products out there that are over the counter (OTC). They are usually much cheaper than medical grade products. But what are you really getting? Does this serum, moisturizer, or sunscreen even work? Has it been clinically studied and published in a journal? Or, is it “4/5 women agree this is a great product…?” There are literally thousands of skincare products out there. As an answer to solving this issue, Reflect was created. We only use products that we know are effective. We do this by studying (yes, we read a lot of clinical papers), testing, and reputation within the industry. As an added bonus to our customers we find out the best within the medical industry so you don’t have to. It does cost more but we know what you’re going to get and we know it’s going to work. Try one of our systems. They are all clinically backed. You won’t be disappointed and it’s  super easy to get started. Take our skin care quiz. We created it for you, so you don’t have to trial and error thousands of products to find the fit for you!

Keep the great questions coming,

Team Reflect

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