Over the Counter and The Professional Esthetician

By Published On: June 21, 2022Categories: Wendy’s Wisdom

Do you ever wonder why the products the dermatologist has told you to use may not be working as well as you had hoped?

Estheticians like myself help educate clients on skincare products. We explain why dermatologists recommend certain products and why some do not work to correct and hydrate consumers’ skin. To give you some of my Wendy Words of Wisdom, below I will break down facial skincare products into three categories: over-the-counter, cosmetic grade, and professional.

Over the Counter (OTC)

CeraveThe main reason why OTC products can be less effective is because there is not enough of the effective ingredient in the delivery system to make a difference. Another reason is OTC’s main ingredients are synthetic oils and waxes which do not hydrate or penetrate the skin. For example, Neutrogena has a hyaluronic boost gel moisturizer that is mostly silicone. So, although it is marketed as “hydrating,” the result may not seem very hydrating at all. Dermatologists recommend CeraVe and Cetaphil because they are gentle products, but they are not as hydrating, and can still make your face feel oily or greasy. Products such as Olay and Neutrogena contain ingredients that catch people’s attention like Hyaluronic Acid, for example. Other products out there contain vitamin C and collagen. Although these active ingredients should be helpful, what is used in these OTC products are derivatives of the active ingredients, or are in such small amounts that you will most likely see little to no corrective and hydrating results.

Cosmetic Grade

Cosmetic grade skin care products are found in department stores. Some brands you may be familiar with are Clinique, Lancôme and Estee Lauder. Also included in this category are designer skincare products such as Bobby Brown and Laura Mercier. Cosmetic grade products have more botanical ingredients, less wax, and less oils compared to OTC. However, they still contain synthetic ingredients and fragrances. They are not considered corrective skincare products and their price points are extremely high as aside from paying for just the product, consumers are paying for packaging and marketing.  Ultimately, you may be ending up paying big bucks for little results. A great example of this is Estee Lauder’s Night Repair. This glycolic, essentially a fruit acid treatment sells for $85, but contains only 1% of the active ingredient, compared to 10% alpha hydroxy acid in Face Reality.

As a result, you may not see much correction in the smoothness of your skin after a course of treatment applications because there is not enough of the active ingredient in the product to really impact a change in your skin’s texture.


Face-RealityMany of my clients come to me for the first time in frustration after trying a bunch of OTC and cosmetic grade skincare products which resulted in disappointing results. Professional products used and sold by plastic surgeons, estheticians and dermatologists have a high concentration of natural, botanical ingredients that bind with the skin and deliver necessary correction and repair. Included in that category are product lines such as Repechage, which contain nutrients and seaweeds that bind with the skin to keep it soft, not oily. Another product line, Face Reality, uses a botanical blend with zero clogging ingredients. Michele Corley and Glo make Vitamin C products that are cellularly stable and impact change to your skin compared to OTC products. I carry all of these product lines as they have been superior in result outcomes for my clients over time. Professional products are not super expensive and will accomplish the results that you should expect out of your skincare routine.

Last but Not Least

By purchasing your skincare products directly from your esthetician, you are helping support their small business as well as ensure the safety and freshness of the product!!!!