Jessica Mangiaracina, Dermatology PA and skincare expert, shares some of her favorite medical grade skincare products that she uses in her own daily regimen and explains the difference between medical grade and over-the-counter. And yes, there really is a difference!
Don’t get me wrong I’m all for sheet masks and toners, and jelly or oil cleansers! I love mixing the over-the-counter with my medical grade skincare products, but I choose and recommend the medical grade products every time because I know they’re effective for stimulating collagen, smoothing skin texture, minimizing brown spots, treating acne and leaving us with glowing skin.
What is Medical Grade Skincare?
Medical grade skincare consists of skin care products that are sold at your dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office. These may also include prescription medications. The ingredients in these products are tested, proven and carefully designed to deliver the results you need and want. They are often picked and curated or prescribed by the practitioners in the office, then recommended to you based on your individual needs and concerns.
Why choose medical grade skincare instead of over-the-counter products?
- Each product is usually hand picked by the practitioner (MD/DO, PA, NP, RN) you’re trusting with your skin & face
- You’ll be properly educated on how to use these products safely and effectively
- There are good, evidence-based studies behind the products
- Medical grade products contain stronger ingredients than over-the-counter products
- You know exactly what active ingredients you are getting
Some of my personal favorite medical grade skincare products:
Retinoids. Retinoids are commonly used for their anti-aging properties but may also be prescribed for acne, specifically clogged pores (blackheads and whiteheads). They work by stimulating collagen production, which improves fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, brown spots and pore size.
Unlike retinol creams that you can buy over the counter, retinoids require a prescription. The big difference in the two is that retinol creams are not nearly as strong and are therefore less effective than prescription retinoids when it comes to improving skin and fighting signs of aging.
My personal go-to is a retinoid called Adapalene in a 0.3% prescription strength. Not only do I use it nightly, I often prescribe this to my patients as an acne treatment. Because Adapalene is specifically formulated for acne, I find it tends to dry my skin out when the weather gets cold. Throughout the winter, I use it every other night and always make sure to moisturize!
Azelaic Acid. There are a few prescriptions for Azelaic acid as well some over-the-counter products at a lower percentage. Azelaic acid not only works well for acne (blackheads and white heads), it also helps with pigmentation. I use it to fade the red spots that acne pimples leave on the skin, but it also works well on brown spots. Because it’s gentle on the skin, I use it every other night alternating with Adapalene.
Products with Growth Factors and Peptides
What are they? Growth factors stimulate collagen, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Peptides are proteins that stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin to aid in firming the skin as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
Neocutis Lumiere Eye cream. Neocutis is a Swiss skincare company that offers products containing growth factors and peptides. Their eye cream also contains caffeine (for puffiness and dark circles), Hyaluronic Acid and Bisabolol (moisturizing). I use it in my nighttime skincare routine.
Neocutis BioSerum. This is a peptide rich serum that moisturizes, firms and plumps the skin. I apply BioSerum morning and night.
Medical Grade Eye Creams and Face Serums
Rejuven-Eyes Plus Eye Cream. This eye cream is created by a chemist and only sold in medical offices. It contains peptides, Arubtin (targets dark circles) and a gentle retinol to address fine lines and wrinkles. I use it in the morning because it is a great under eye primer as well.
Restoration. (Vitamin C & E) This serum contains high potency vitamin C, E and Ferulic acid ester along with Salicylic acid. The unique combination provides short-term skin exfoliation and longterm antioxidant benefits. I use this every morning before my moisturizer. Because vitamin C is hard to make shelf stable, it’s important to find a good, high quality vitamin C serum or else it won’t be effective!
Under Everything Super Moisturizing Serum (Hyaluronic Acid). Hyaluronic acid is found in our skin and retains moisture and gives skin it’s plumpness. Over time, we lose hyaluronic acid in our skin. This serum gives it back, along with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I use it at bedtime as a moisturizer.
* Bonus – Miracle Antioxidant AntiAging Cream. Similar to the Restoration serum, this face cream contains Vitamin C, E and Ferulic acid along with retinoids. So if you’re looking for a great combo product, check this one out!
Add medical grade skincare products to your skincare routine; your skin will thank you for it!
All of these products are available at Advanced Specialty Care and our Dermatologists, Plastic Surgeons and Skincare Specialists would be happy to assist you in finding the perfect skincare treatment plan for your needs! In addition to medical grade skincare, we offer treatments including botox and fillers, chemical peels, HydraFacials, Intense Pulse Light and MicroNeedling as well as surgical procedures.
Our offices are conveniently located in Danbury, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford and New Milford.
Interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment? Call (203) 830-4700 or click here to schedule your appointment today!