Monday, 23 October 2017 20:42

Fact or Fiction: Drugstore and professional skin care products do not have the same efficacy.

Written by   Irene Kim, cosmetic chemist at YG Laboratories

Cosmetic products are being created on a daily basis. Some are only sold through aestheticians and doctor’s offices, while others are readily available via television shopping channels, infomercials, online retailers, or department stores and drugstores. Consumers often end up feeling confused about who to trust, where to shop, and whether to spend their hard-earned money at the spa or the drugstore. Where is the best place to buy a skin care product? There is no easy answer – it really depends on the skin care needs a person is trying to address; drugstore skin care products and products created for the professional industry usually have very different characteristics.




Drugstore skin care products are made for everybody as their targeted consumers represent very diverse demographics. Therefore, drugstore products are designed to target some of the most general needs of the skin. The products must be suitable for all ages and different skin types and concerns. The formulating concept behind a typical drugstore skin care product is “one size fits all,” meaning the product should be able to somewhat address a little bit of every concern, from anti-aging to soothing, nourishing, and hydrating – all at the same time.

Meeting many different needs in one product can get very challenging for the formulator, as they frequently have to resort to choosing fewer actives, but opt for the ones with multi-functional benefits and claims. This choice can result in some concerns being only slightly addressed by the product as many actives are dose-dependent; therefore, visible results may take some time.

On the other hand, the majority of products formulated for skin care professionals are made for a narrower range of consumers. Usually, these skin care products are skin type- and condition-specific, result-driven, and designed to yield quick results. These formulations are designed for consumers who are seeking specific solutions for their skin care concern and who are also seeking those solutions via treatments and products offered by professionals. When creating products for the professional market, formulators mainly focus on targeted issues the product is designed to help resolve. They will choose very specific actives that are often clinically-tested for activity; the percentage used in clinical studies is often referenced as the percentage used in the product. This approach ensures product activity and visible results in the shortest time possible. Consumers purchasing products from professionals also benefit from extended education they receive on the product benefit and usage as proper usage is very important in order to obtain results.

Choosing a drugstore product or a product sold by professionals comes down to each person’s preference and specific needs. If the client does not have any specific concerns, drugstore products can sometimes provide enough performance, but if the client has a specific issue with their skin, it is best that they consult with a licensed skin care professional who can help create the best individualized treatment and homecare plan.

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