Medical Grade Skin Care Solutions

medical grade skincare

Use Researched Skin Care Products and Stable Formulas

In 2005, when I began writing my NY Times bestselling book The Skin Type Solution (2006). My book focused on all types of products from drugstore brand products to medical-grade professional skincare products, to luxury skincare products, and made the point that you do not have to spend a lot of money to get the most effective skincare products. 

Now it is almost 2 decades later, and I have learned something important in the last 18 years- drugstore brands change their names and formulations often to keep up with trends- often at the expense of science.  The formulations, even when the skincare product name is the same, can vary from country to country.  This makes it impossible for me to properly research the products and test them with other products to design the best medical skincare routines.  By the time the testing was complete- the formulations were different! For this reason, although I am still looking for the most inexpensive skincare solutions, I recommend fewer drugstore skincare brands and focus more on the physician-dispensed skincare products that tend to have more research behind them and stable formulations.

I have teamed up with dermatologists around the world to choose the best products from top medical-grade skincare lines and combine them to form medical skincare routines that have been proven to work on corresponding Baumann Skin Types®. Even the top medical skincare lines will not work if they are combined with products that decrease their efficacy. We choose the best medical strength skincare and organize it into the best skincare routine order for your Baumann Skin Type. We have tested these routines on over 100,000 dermatology patients. The problem with drugstore brand skincare is that by the time our testing is complete, they often change the formula or product name.  For this reason, most of our skin care routines at Skin Type Solutions are made of medical-grade skincare products - many of which were developed by dermatologists. To prevent any bias, we have over 250 medical providers (most are doctors) and their medical aestheticians providing input on the skincare routine results.

What Are Medical Grade Skin Care Products?

There is not a set or legal definition of “skincare products - medical grade”. The FDA categorizes skincare into 3 defined categories:

  1. Drugs-Drugs are intended to treat disease and require an extensive and expensive FDA approval process.  Examples a Retin A®, Tri-Luma®, Aczone®, Onexton®, MetroGel® and other prescription medications. I am involved in many drug trials in my Miami Cosmetic Dermatology Clinic.
  2. Over The Counter (OTC)- These are medications that have been “grandfathered in” and can make drug claims if they contain a certain level of set ingredients.  The rules and requirements to be an OTC skincare product are found in an FDA “monograph”.  An example is a sunscreen product or an acne OTC product. To claim that a skincare product treats skin disease, the company must follow the requirements found in the monograph. For example, in order for a product to claim that it works for acne, it must:
    1.  Go through the FDA drug approval process, or 
    2. Contain a monographed ingredient. Examples of monographed acne treatment ingredients are salicylic acid 0.5%- 2%, benzoyl peroxide 2.5%- 10%, resorcinol 2%, sulfur 3-10%. Companies are not allowed to say that a product works for can unless it meets these criteria.
  3. Cosmetics- Cosmetics are defined as products to improve the appearance of the skin but not affect skin biology.  Examples include makeup. Of course, many cosmetics affect skin biology, but the regulations are based on what is claimed- not what actually occurs biologically.  This means that many cosmetic skin care products have ingredients that affect cellular processes.  These are referred to as medical-grade skincare products, professional skincare, physician-dispensed skincare products or cosmeceuticals- but these are not real terms recognized or regulated by the FDA.


I use the term medical-grade skincare or professional skincare to mean skincare products that have been tested by dermatologists, sold in their offices, and shown to be effective on various Baumann Skin Types®. At Skin Type Solutions®, we choose the best medical grade skin care products that:

  • Have the correct skin care ingredients for the corresponding Baumann Skin Type
  • Do not have ingredients that should be avoided by that Baumann Skin Type. 
  • Have stable formulations that don’t change with every new trend but stick to proven science.
  • Are formulated using the proper form of the ingredients. (this is critical with retinol- many use retinyl palmitate or another substitute for real retinol)
  • Ingredients are added to the formulation in the correct order and manner during manufacturing. 
  • Are manufactured properly (Many ingredients such as retinol and ascorbic acid require an airless, dark atmosphere during manufacturing)
  •  Are packaged properly to protect the skincare ingredients from air and light
  • Have been tested and shown to improve the skin 
  • Have skin care products reviews by dermatologists

Luckily you can find good medical-grade skincare that is inexpensive, and you do not have to spend a lot of money to have healthy skin. However, you do need to use the correct combination of medical-grade skin care products in the proper dermatologist-tested skincare routine order.

What Are Medical Grade Skincare Routines?

In Skin Type Solutions, we use only skincare routines that have been tested on the corresponding Baumann Skin Type by our participating dermatologists and medical providers. We choose the medical-grade skin care products and put them in a skincare routine order that increases the efficacy of all of the products. (This means that they work better when used in an exact order according to various scientific parameters). We use these specific skincare routine steps on our patients corresponding to the Baumann Skin Type and communicate with each other about any issues or side effects.  This way we can share experiences with other doctors and perfect the skincare routines.  All is this is done WITHOUT any brand influence.  In other words, the skincare brands are not involved in this research, they do not provide funding and we do not have any obligation to them.  This allows all the doctors in Skin Type Solutions to be brand agnostic (independent from the influence of skincare brands.)

What Does "Dermatologist-Recommended" Mean in Skin Care?

The Federal Trade Commission oversees marketing claims. “Dermatologist Recommended” is discussed in section 255.3 of the FTC guidelines and says :

The endorsement must be supported by an actual exercise of that expertise in evaluating product features or characteristics with respect to which he or she is expert and which are relevant to an ordinary consumer’s use of or experience with the product and are available to the ordinary consumer. This evaluation must have included an examination or testing of the product at least as extensive as someone with the same degree of expertise would normally need to conduct in order to support the conclusions presented in the endorsement. To the extent that the advertisement implies that the endorsement was based upon comparison, such comparison must have been included in the expert’s evaluation; and as a result of such comparison, the expert must have concluded that, with respect to those features on which he or she is expert and which are relevant and available to an ordinary consumer, the endorsed product is at least equal overall to the competitors’ products. Moreover, where the net impression created by the endorsement is that the advertised product is superior to other products with respect to any such feature or features, then the expert must in fact have found such superiority.


Basically, a dermatologist-recommended skincare product only needs one dermatologist who has personally used that product on their patient to make the claim.  If the dermatologist states the product is better than another product, they are required to have actually tried both and compared the results.  Many skin care products claim to be “dermatologist recommended”, however, it is not very common to find a dermatologist-recommended skincare routine. This is another reason I developed Skin type Solutions so that dermatologists can use the same terminology and compare the results they see with different skincare routines.  It is not enough to know that a dermatologist recommends a skincare product, it is better if the dermatologist has tested the entire skincare regimen.

What Does "Dermatologist-Recommended Skin Care Routine" Mean in Skin Care?

As stated in the FTC guidelines, dermatologist-recommended skincare routines must have been tested by at least one dermatologist for the dermatologist-recommended skincare regimen claim to be made.  In my opinion, one dermatologist’s opinion and experience is not enough to evaluate entire skincare routines because there are many different skin types and geographic locations that can affect outcomes.  In order to be a “dermatologist-recommended skincare routine”, I feel that many dermatologists should agree that the recommended skincare routine is the best for each skin type.  This is why Skin Type Solutions has brought together over 100 dermatologists and another 180 medical providers who specialize in medical-grade skincare to work together to test and agree on the best dermatologist-recommended skincare routines for each Baumann Skin Type.

The best thing about dermatologist-recommended skincare routines is that they will include high-quality skincare products. There are many things to think about when choosing a skincare product and you really need to understand skin science to properly evaluate them.  You also need to test the skincare products on the correct skin types.  All of this can be done by a dermatologist. It is hard to know if skincare products are worth the money without advice from a medical provider such as a dermatologist specially trained on skincare. You can find an STS-trained skincare expert here.

Why Choose Medical Grade Skin Care?

Medical grade skincare products, by my definition, are skincare products that have been tested by dermatologists, sold in their offices, and shown to be effective on various Baumann Skin Types®. There are many reasons to choose medical-grade skincare approved by Skin Type Solutions:

  1. We work with doctors to independently test the products without any brand influence to prevent bias
  2. We make sure the products are made properly and packaged properly
  3. We have tested the medical-grade products on patients with the 16 different Baumann Skin types.

Dermatologists recommended medical-grade skin care will help you get clear skin fast, prevent you from wasting money on products that are not right for your skin type, protect your skin from harmful skincare ingredients.  If you have rosacea, acne, melasma and eczema- your dermatologist can combine these products with medications so that your skin improves much faster.

How is Skin Type Solutions Different Than Other Skin Care Providers?

Only Skin Type Solutions uses the scientifically validated and patented Baumann Skin Typing System to generate customized medical-grade skincare routines. These medical-grade skin regimens have already been tested on thousands of patients under a specially trained medical provider's supervision. When you get dermatologist skincare advice- that is great but with Skin type Solutions you get dermatologist skincare advice from over 100 dermatologists and over 150 medical providers that specialize in skincare science. We work together to give you the best medical-grade skincare routines. However, the skincare advice you receive is not customized for your skin unless you have taken the skin type quiz.  This quiz categorizes your skin into one of 16 Baumann Skin Types. AFTER YOU TAKE THE SKIN TYPE QUIZ, you will receive medical-grade skincare routine advice and skincare product recommendations. The quiz gives us information that we use to customize your skincare regimen and we will also take into consideration your lifestyle habits, gender, pregnancy status, and other factors so that you get the best medical grade skincare routine advice for you. Once you know your skin type, you can be confident that you are getting the best medical advice on skincare with Skin Type Solutions.

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