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What are “Cosmeceuticals”?

Cosmeceuticals” are prescription strength skin care products. A few of the more popular ones are Obagi, Glytone, and Skin Medica. These products are sold exclusively from a physician’s office, usually a Plastic Surgeon or a Dermatologist. In many ways these products are similar to what you are able to purchase at any upscale cosmetics counter. But, there are some very real and important differences.

First, most effective skin care lines contain some form of acid, be it glycolic, trichloractetic etc… The advantage of the products sold at your doctor’s office is that they are stronger. Basically, we can offer more concentrated products which will give you a more noticeable result. For instance, the max concentration of glycolic acid is 2.5% in an over the counter product. The Cosmeceutical lines start at 5% and go up to 12.5%.

Some components of prescription lines are simply not available over the counter. Hydroquinone and Retin-A are examples. Hydroquinone is a fade cream that is commonly used to fade sun spots and help blend and smooth your complexion. Retin-A is a vitamin A derivative that is used on the fine lines, especially around the eyes. It promotes a gentle exfoliation of the skin and a firming and tightening.

So, while they are more expensive, prescription grade skin care product lines are definitely more effective. Basically, like many things in life, you get what you pay for.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville skin care plastic surgeon Dr. Lee Corbett. Dr. Corbett specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery including facelifts, browlifts, blepharoplasy, Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reductions, body lifts, liposuction,  and tummy tucks.

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