Clinic or Over the Counter Skincare?

Over the counter skincare? Products and treatments at a clinic? Is there really a difference other than price?

The answer is a simple and resounding YES. There’s a huge difference! But many people simply aren’t aware of it.

Here are just a few factors to take into consideration when making your choice.


Products used by a trained skincare professional in a clinic are, in the main, far superior in their ingredients and the delivery of those ingredients into the skin’s layers. When paying for products used in a clinic, you are paying for the ingredients and the science behind their use and how they penetrate the skin to deliver results. When paying for over the counter products you are paying for the multimillion £ global advertising campaigns and fancy packaging, with only a small amount of the cost being for the ingredients in the product.


Three grades of skincare products exist. Cosmetic, Pharmaceutical and Cosmeceutical.

Most people understand that our skin has several layers. For skincare to be effective it must penetrate through the layers and go deep into the skin’s cells.

Over the counter skincare products are cosmetic. This means that they sit on top of the skin but cannot penetrate deep into it. This is perfect for make up and cleansers, but not if you want effective skincare that truly makes a difference to the composition, and so look, of your skin.

Pharmaceutical products feature at the other end of the scale. These must be prescribed by a doctor or dermatologist. Whilst they can be very effective, they also have the increased potential risk of causing irritation due to their potency. These products are only usually prescribed for the most severe skin conditions.

Sitting beautifully in between the above two grades of product are the cosmeceutical products. These are medical grade products. They are full of active ingredients which have been chosen through extensive scientific research and clinical trials. This ensures that they work on a cellular level, penetrating the skin’s layers. In essence, this means that these products are able to change the way your skin functions, and looks, for the better.


Visiting a trained, professional skincare specialist in a clinic ensures that you have the right diagnosis of your skin type – believe it or not ‘combination skin’ does not exist, it’s a marketing myth! Skin is either oily or not. If you have oily skin, it is totally possible to have a build up of dead skin cells on areas of the face such as the cheeks, chin or forehead. This may lead you to believe you have combination skin. But you don’t. You have oily skin with a build up of dead skin cells in certain areas!

Rather than buy an over the counter product which promises you it can do something that it can’t, your skincare professional within a clinic will show you how to remove those dead cells so that your skin can be treated effectively for its true type.


Many people feel that having a skincare treatment at a clinic is a luxury or a treat. But if you have skin issues (whether they be something such as acne or rosacea, laughter lines, or reduced plumpness of the skin), then professional treatments in a clinic are really a necessity to see a true improvement.

Some treatments will show an immediate difference to the skin, both in the look and feel.

However, because some skincare ingredients can be quite potent and irritating to the skin, a slow release system may be needed to avoid this. To see a real difference in your skin, a series of treatments may be needed.

Many professional skincare products used in clinics will use encapsulation technology within them. Simply explained, this is where the active ingredients, which are required to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, are placed within tiny spheres in a process called encapsulation. The smaller the sphere, the deeper it will go within the skin’s layers before the ingredient is released to do its work. It is incredibly rare to see this technology used within over the counter products and its one of the factors which make professional products so much more effective.

So, there you have it. By visiting a clinic, you will be seen by a trained skincare professional. You will be able to get the right advice on your skin type and any issues you may be experiencing. You will also have the latest, highly active, medical skincare products used on you. Products which actually have the technology within them to penetrate the skin’s layers and work from the inside out.

Over the counter products have their place. Of course, they do. But if you want to see a real, long term difference to your skin and aging issues, then a clinic is the place to go.