Whether or not prescription skin care products work better than over-the-counter (OTC) skin care products depends on the product.
As you can know, some OTC products work better than other OTC products. And the same holds true for prescription skin care products.
But why is that, exactly?
Ingredients Make All the Difference
For example, when to comes to acne, a 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide OTC product can often work better than a prescription topical antibiotic simply because some types of acne are resistant to antibiotics but will respond to benzoyl peroxide.
On the other hand, prescription tretinoin is usually more effective than OTC retinol creams when it comes to stimulating collagen formation – the bedrock of anti-aging benefits.
Another example of ingredient variability is hydroquinone, used for lightening hyperpigmentation. When it appears in OTC products, it is in a 2 percent strength, while the prescription strength is 4 percent or higher. We know the higher strength works better for hyperpigmentation.
Alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) are another ingredient that appears in both prescription skin care products as well as OTC products. When it first came on the market in the 1980s, you could only get AHA as a prescription, with the strength of 12 percent lactic acid. But today, that same 12 percent strength is available OTC.
Overall, the strength of the ingredients combined with the quality of the ingredients will ultimately determine how effective the product can potentially be.
But there is one more variable:
Your Skin’s Physiology
Whether or not prescription skin care product will work better than an OTC skin care product will ultimately rest on your skin’s individual characteristics – is your skin oily, dry, combination, as well as your skin issues and concerns.
Building a complete skin care routine that addresses today’s issues as well as form a foundation for healthy and beautiful skin in the future can be confusing because it depends on a lot of different factors. So before you drop a bundle on any skin care product, it’s always better to first consult a reputable dermatologist with whom you can establish a relationship, and who can advise you on matters of the skin.
We at Dermatology Associates have tested a lot of different products over the decades and have found Obagi® products to be some of our favorites, not only because of their quality but also because their different lines cover a broad range of issues and skin types. However, our mission is to help you reach your own goals with products that are tailored to meet your individual needs and fit within your budget.
Dermatology Associates offers a full spectrum of leading edge medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology services from offices in Savannah and Vidalia.