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Medical Grade Skincare VS Over The Counter Brands - What's The Difference?

Ever wondered what the difference is between over-the-counter skincare to medical grade products?

When it comes to skincare, it can be a little overwhelming and time-consuming trying to find the best products that will give us results. A lot of us waste money with trial and error, hunting for the best regime to find ‘the brand’ that will work for our specific skincare needs.

It can be difficult to understand the reasons behind why spending that bit extra on products is so important when trying to achieve your dream skin, so we have tried to make it simple and broke it down into five simple factors to consider…


Over-the-counter skin care products have generally been designed to work on most of the population. They are easily purchased from any shops and accessible to a wide variety of people so in order to not negatively affect skin of the general population, the concentration of their active ingredient has to be relatively low.

Medical grade skincare products can only be purchased from a licensed physician as they are made to be a lot more potent. They are loaded with sufficient amount of active ingredients that work much quicker and faster to give you results.


In addition to having a higher content of the active ingredient, medical-grade skin care products have the purest form of ingredients.

Over-the-counter products are usually less expensive than medical-grade as they are not held to the same standards. Due to lower quality ingredients, over the counter products contain low-quality filler ingredients such as silicones, sulfates and parabens. These ingredients can actually cause more harm than good to your skin as they strip the skin of proteins that are beneficial to balance your complexion.

Professional Advice

Over-the-counter skin care products allow the customer to self-diagnose skin concerns and select the skin care product that they think is best fit for their skin needs. However, when you use a medical-grade skin care product, it is a trained medical professional who recommends what products will work best for your skin and prescribes the correct products that will adequately address the skin issues you have.


Since medical-grade products have a higher concentration of active ingredients and penetrate deeper into the skins layers, they are able to deliver results quicker. You even use less product as you start to notice real changes to your skin, requiring you not to rebuy the product as often as you would as over the counter products. So whilst it may seem more expensive up front to buy medical grade, you will eventually save money since you will be purchasing a product that has been tested and proven to work faster.


Perhaps one of the biggest differences between medical grade and over the counter products is their ability to show results that make a difference to your skin. Over the counter products typically can only treat the surface of the skin and cannot penetrate the deeper layers to address skincare problems. Whereas, medical grade is able to penetrate the deeper layers and seep into the dermis and deal with existing issues. They have the capacity to repair damage and support your skins protective barrier. In addition to this, they are also able to slow down the ageing process meaning you will spend less on costly treatments in the future.


It is clear to see why these five reasons play a massive part in separating the differences between medical grade skincare and over the counter products.

At The Courtyard, we are passionate about skin health and want you to enjoy the healthy, radiant, and youthful skin that is possible with medical grade skincare.

If you feel like you are ready to upgrade your skincare, or you have questions about your options, one of our friendly team will be happy to help you or alternatively BOOK your FREE consultation with Dr. Hayley Elsmore.

AND it doesn’t just stop there, if your skin goals change or your wondering if the products are working for you, we offer FREE 15 minute ZO Skin Reviews with Nurse Heather who is able to adjust your routine and advise the best products to boost your complexion.

We’re always here to provide ongoing support and guidance throughout your skincare journey. So what are you waiting for? See the Medical Grade difference for yourself TODAY and get your most beautiful skin yet.

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