Friday, March 27, 2009

What's really the difference between spa products and over the counter (drugstore/department store) products?

Every day as consumers we get pummeled with advertisements about the next and greatest skincare product out there. They're on TV 24/7, on the internet, at Wal-Mart and everywhere you turn. I too catch myself being pulled in by snappy advertising and the promise of the next wonder ingredient.

This weekend I attended the International Congress of Esthetics in Dallas. While sitting in on a panel hosted by some of the top educators/vendors in the professional skincare field, I had a revelation. I no longer had to worry about the next big thing out there. There is no ONE ingredient that the skin loves, but a synergy of ingredients that feed the skin. It's the synergistic action of many high quality ingredients that really makes a difference in the skin.

What about department stores products? Another difference between professionally recommended spa products and over the counter products is their level of activity. Huge brands like Estee Lauder and Clinique have to "dumb down" their products to just enough percentage to see a little result, but not cause allergic or adverse reactions. You just can't get the therapeutic value from the main ingredients because their percentages are too low. It's like taking 1/4 of an aspirin for a headache. The medicine is in there, but it's not enough to get rid of your headache.

I experienced this when I allowed a client who was cash strapped (we were doing a trade) to use drugstore products while I did a series of peels and Infrared light treatments on him. After a few weeks I noticed I just wasn't getting the results I was used to as far as skin quality was concerned.

He was using a not so cheap over the counter "rejuvenation" product with palmitoyl pentapeptide-3. Looking at the ingredients list, I noticed it was number 11 down, after water and a variety of silicones. Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery has palmitoyl pentatpeptide 5 (more peptides=more synergistic results) listed as the 7th ingredient. The higher up on the list, the higher the amount in the product.

My lesson learned is that I'm not benefitting my clients by allowing them to "get by" with over the counter products. These products have never been held to the standard that professional products have been. Significant results in my clients' skin will always come from my professional recommendation of high quality products that I know are perfect for their specific skin condition and type. (Not from some ad or commercial!)

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