What is medical-grade skincare and is it actually worth it?

Let’s be honest: the beauty and cosmetic world has us by the neck. If I see Jennifer Aniston using an anti-aging cream on TV, you know I’m running to Shoppers to pick it up—and I know I’m not the only one! From DIY gimmicks, to celebrity skincare lines to viral TikTok trends, we, as the beauty consumer collective, are undeniably susceptible to skincare gossip. Our latest topic? Medical-grade skincare.

Is medical-grade skincare actually worth it?

The term “medical-grade” sounds scary AF. It can also be expensive AF. Do medical-grade products actually work, and how are they different from regular cosmetics?

What is medical-grade skincare?

Medical-grade skincare, also known as cosmeceutical skincare, is created to target specific medical conditions such as fine lines or acne.

To get into the nitty-gritty, the concentration of the active ingredients is higher compared to what you can find over-the-counter. Higher concentrations of actives mean that you’re more likely to see results in a shorter period of time. Medical-grade skincare has also been clinically tested to be beneficial to the skin, therefore yielding better results.

We desperately want to be a fan of medical-grade skincare because it provides both cosmetic and medicinal advantages. But, medical-grade skincare can get pretty pricey. Is it really worth your money?

According to dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett, the ‘best’ skincare is medically directed. For example, if you suffer from redness, it could be rosacea, eczema, or a yeast-based infection. Without knowing what the cause of the redness is, it would be difficult to know what the best skincare would be for your condition. A lack of medical direction is a lack of knowledge. In the absence of a proper diagnosis, your skincare might not be optimal for your skin condition.

What makes medical-grade skincare so great?

Generally speaking, medical grade skincare has received the stamp of approval by Health Canada and is therefore safer than a product that has not been approved by Health Canada. Often, medical-grade products will also contain drugs, which have been shown to treat specific skin conditions.

Some medical-grade skincare products contain active ingredients that are classified as drugs. For instance, a topical medical-grade acne treatment can claim to treat acne because it contains the drug Benzoyl Peroxide. Benzoyl Peroxide is a strong chemical compound which has been shown to be effective in treating acne. On the other hand, a non-medical-grade skincare product cannot contain Benzoyl Peroxide because it lacks drug clearance by Health Canada. So, it’s likely that the medical-grade product containing BP will be more effective in the treatment of acne and in a shorter amount of time compared to the product without it.

Over-the-counter products cannot claim to treat wrinkles or even dry skin, because of their “cosmetic” classification. In other words, cosmetic products are simply not medical-grade caliber; they don’t have the potential to guarantee results like medical-grade skincare can.

Our advice?

If you struggle with a particular skin condition such as acne or wrinkles, medical-grade products will likely help you get results faster. Backed by clinical evidence and Health Canada, medical-grade skincare seems to be worth the extra fee, especially if you want your skin concern dealt with ASAP.

Happy skincare <3


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