What does Medical Grade really mean?

Why can’t a drugstore sunscreen offer the same results as a medical-grade sunscreen that can be twice the price? This is one of the most common questions I am asked during a treatment or in a consult here at Maine Plastic Surgery. Medical-grade skincare goes through rigorous testing and is formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients than what you can purchase over the counter. Over-the-counter skincare may come from stores like; Target, Sephora, Ulta, Amazon, Walgreens, and many others like it. Medical-grade products use prescription-strength ingredients, which will lead to better results in a faster amount of time. Medical grade products are regulated by the FDA, and for a company to sell a product it must pass clinical trials to prove the product will work effectively. Whereas, over-the-counter skincare lines can use labels with confusing marketing slogans as they are not as closely regulated before they go to market. Locations carrying medical-grade quality products are also required to have a physician on staff due to the strength of the product and to protect the consumer with help answering questions and providing direction.

Why do I need to wear sunscreen?

Why is my drugstore sunscreen not the same as a ZO Skin Health sunscreen or a SkinMedica sunscreen? Excellent questions! Sunscreen protects your skin from UVA/ UVB rays and will help prevent your skin from burning, developing skin cancer, and ward off those visible signs of premature aging. UVA and UVB rays are ultraviolet rays that can cause damage to the skin. When choosing a sunscreen look for one that is Broad Spectrum, meaning it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays with a minimum grade of 30 or higher. Over-the-counter sunscreens do not carry as many active ingredients as a Medical Grade product, yet they usually have a longer ingredient list that includes preservatives, scents, and filler ingredients to help the product feel luxurious, which all combined can lower the strength of your SPF, rendering it less effective. Medical-grade products typically contain a higher concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They are also better for sensitive skin types and those with higher sensitivity to UV exposure due to stricter regulatory standards and rigorous testing. Most importantly, no matter if you are going outside for the day or staying inside all day, you must wear sunscreen to protect yourself from UV damage! If you have concerns about which sunscreen is best for you, let’s set up a consult! It’s complimentary, and I’d love to chat with you!

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