Medical grade skincare brands are science-based skin care lines that dermatologists like me sell in our medical offices. You can find a list of these evidence-based medical grade brands in this blog. I will explain what cosmeceutical technologies each brand is known for. For some of these brands, I have links to videos where I interview their cosmetic scientists about prodcut science and research trials.
To make sure you buy the right clinical grade brands, you should to take our skincare routine quiz. We will help you combine products from these science-based brands into a medical grade skincare routine. We customize a skincare routine for you by combining the best products from the top medical grade skin care products from around the world.
List of Medical Grade Brands
Medical Grade Skincare Brands
Below I list the best dermatologist-recommended medical grade skincare lines. Many of the professional skincare lines mentioned below were invented by dermatologists
The advice I give in this blog on finding the best physician dispensed skin care brands is general advice. You will receive more personalized information once you take the skin type quiz. A complete custom skin care routine will be recommended to you and you can choose from different medical grade brands to build your regimen. The best science based skincare lines are described below in alphabetical order.
Alastin was developed by a plastic surgeon Dr. Alan Widgerow.
They have several different interesting peptide technologies including Tri-Hex which helps skin clear away unwanted broken collagen to make room for new collagen.
You can hear my interview with Dr. Widgerow about the science and evidence-based research on Alastin products on our you tube channel:
Defenage is the only skincare brand that uses defensins to turn on the LGR6+ stem cells in the hair follicle. These stem cells repopulate the entire epidermis making skin look younger and brighter in 2 weeks. My favorite product is the Defenage 8 in 1 Bioserum. It is pricey but if you need to even your skin tone and you are not willing to wait the usual 12-16 weeks for results from skincare products. This product will help you get faster results if you use it in the way we show you after you take the skin type quiz.
Derma Made Skin Care®
Derma Made products were developed by Dermatologist Dr. Amy Brodsky. They are designed to be both effective and affordable.
See my interview with Dr. Brodsky here on our you tube channel.
Element 47 is a brand designed for patients with acne to go along with acne treatment medications. It uses natural ingredients to make the skin less hospitable to acne causing bacteria without drying or irritating the skin. My favorite product is Element 47 Skin Fortifying Mist.
Essopi is a science=based brand that consists of the most important skincare products to use to prevent skin aging and keep skin healthy. This basic and important skincare products should be the “Standard Operating Procedure” or “SOP” of your morning and evening skincare routines. (This is where the brand gets it's name “SOP”. Essopi products include sunscreen, antioxidants and retinols- the most important products to tret skin aging. This brand for ideal for mature skin types.
This product is like PRP in a serum.
You can hear my interview with Dr. Atta Behar here:
Revision Skincare uses medical grade ingredients and technologies that target the microbiome and focus on skin aging. They also include ingredients that soothe and calm the skin. This is predominantly an antiaging skincare brand with peptides. They have a retinol in the DEJ Night Cream. You can learn more abut how this medical grade skincare brand benefits the microbiome in this video interview.
Sente is the only skincare brand that contains the heparan sulfate analog- also known as heparan sulfate (HS). Heparan sulfate is a glycosaminoglycan that naturally occurs in skin. It helps cells communicate with each other. If you choose to use an expensive growth factor skin care product (which I am not a fan of), you are wasting your money if you skin cells cannot “hear” the growth factor signals. HS helps cells hear the growth factor signals better by surrounding growth factors and helping them get to the target receptor. HS is also hydrating because glycosaminoglycans are strong humectants. My favorite is the Sente Dermal Repair Cream. Make sure you take the skin type quiz to know what step to put this in your regimen. If you use it in the wrong order- you are wasting your money on this product.
Skinceuticals was started by dermatologist Sheldon Pinnell who discovered that ascorbic acid entices skin cells to make collagen. He is also the one who figured out that it is very hard to get vitamin C into the skin and that it penetrates best at a pH or 2-2.5.
My favorite Skinceuticals Vitamin C is the Skinceuticals Serum 10 AOX+ .
5 reasons Skinceuticals Serum 10 AOX+ .is the best SkinCeuticals Vitamin C serum:
- It is the cheapest of the SkinCeuticals serums. This makes it affordable so it can be used 1-2 times a day and the bottle can be replaced every month so it is fresh.
- It has 10% ascorbic acid
- It is the correct pH for maximal absorption
- It is not greasy so it works for all skin types
- It has 0.2% ferulic acid which is an antioxidant
Skinceuticals has many good serums, but Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is the bestselling Vitamin C serum because:
- It is the most well known
- It has a high concentration (15%) of L-ascorbic acid
- It has 1% Vitamin E
- The correct pH for the best absorption.
It contains 0.5% of ferulic acid is an antioxidant and helps stabilize the Vitamin C so it lasts longer.
Zerafite is dedicated to repairing the skin barrier as its name implies. (Xerophyte is a plant that loves the dry climate such as a cactus.)
Zerafite is dermatologist-developed for extremely dry skin and eczema prone skin types.
Every Zerafite skin care product repairs and protects the skin barrier. They have 4 barrier repair moisturizers
To learn more about barrier repair moisturizers and the maltese cross pattern, see my interview with Zerafite creator Dr. Youm.
How To Find The Best Medical Grade Skincare Routine?
There are 3 ways to find medical grade skincare solutions:
A dermatologist may recommend a medical grade skincare product for one of the 16 skin types and not recommend it for others. So you need to shop using your Baumann Skin Type"
How to find affordable medical grade skin care products?
Take the quiz and we will give you a step by step skin care routine for your skin type.
And- we know if it is affordable you are more likely to use the entire routine.
We want you to get the best results so we do everything we can to help you find low cost skin care that really works!
How to find dermatologist reviews on science-based skin care products?
Looking for dermatologist reviews on SkinCeuticals, Skin Medica, Alastin, Derma Made, Sente, Defenage, Plated or other medical grade products? You can find my reviews on the product pages near the ingredient list. I have not reviewed every product yet as we have thousands of medical grade products, but I try to review a few each day.
My dermatologist partners and I test all of the medical grade skincare products independently from the brands. We are brand agnostic and do not accept payment for our dermatologist skincare product reviews and recommendations.
It is the science that matters- not the brand!
But here is the issue-
You MUST know your Baumann Skin Type to choose the best medical grade brands for your skin concerns.
When you take our skincare routine quiz you will find out your skin type and use our regimen builder to make a medical grade skincare routine. You will only see products that dermatologists have approved for use for your skin type.
This is better than reading our dermatologist skin care products reviews on the product pages because you are getting a custom advice based on skin type. Watch your email for even more personalized advice on how to use the medical grade products properly.
It depends on which products. Learn more about when to refrigerate medical grade skincare by clicking the image below.
How does the FDA categorize Medical Grade Skincare?
The FDA categorizes skincare into 3 defined categories:
- Over the counter (OTC)
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.
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:
- Go through the FDA drug approval process, or
- 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.
Cosmetics are defined as products to improve the appearance of the skin but not affect skin biology.
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.
- Baumann L. Ch. 33 Choosing Skincare Products to Retail in Your Medical Practice Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
- Baumann, L. Ch. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
- Wallack, G. (2019). Rethinking FDA'S regulation of cosmetics. Harv. J. on Legis., 56, 311.
- Heymann, L. A. (1997). The Cosmetic/Drug Dilemma: FDA Regulation of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids. Food & Drug LJ, 52, 357.
- Hensel, D. P. (1995). FDA Regulation and the New Anti-aging Products.
- Rubin, C. B., & Brod, B. (2019). Natural does not mean safe—the dirt on clean beauty products. JAMA dermatology, 155(12), 1344-1345.
Is medical grade skincare better?
Are medical grade products better than most drugstore brands? Yes! The problems with some drugstore brand skincare are are that 1.They often change the formula so it is harder for Skin Type Solutions to test the formals on the 16 Baumann Skin Types. 2. Product names change often which leads to confusion. 3. They are made of cheap ingredients such as lower grade oils or cheap niacinamide that can cause an allergy 4. They may use less pure water. However, there are some drugstore brands that are considered medical grade like la Roche Posay and Cera Ve.
Is medical grade skincare affordable?
Once you take our skin type quiz, you will be able to choose skin care solutions at every price point- so do not worry- affordable medical grade skin care solutions are available for your skin type.
What Are Medical Grade Skin Care Products?
There is not a set legal definition of “skincare products - medical grade”. it is a term used to mean skin care products with evidence based cosmeceutical ingredients.
What is the difference between medical grade products vs over- the counter products?
Medical grade skincare brands are usually sold by dermatologists and called physician dispensed skincare.
Is Dermologica medical grade?
Dermalogica is mostly sold by spas rather than physicians and is not considered medical grade.
Medical grade vs over the counter
Over the counter is a FDA designation for products that contain ingredients approved in the FDA monograph to treat medical conditions like acne or rosacea. Medical grade skin care has evidence based ingredients but is considered a cosmetic by the FDA. Medical grade skincare can be OTC products.
Where to find medical grade skincare product reviews by dermatologists?
Many of the products sold by Skin Type Solutions have dermatologist reviews on the product description page near the ingredient list tab.
Best new medical grade skincare 2023
Our pick this year is Plated Skin Science Intense Serum with exosomes.
What is the best medical grade skincare for acne?
There are many good acne treatment brands but I like the La Roche Posay Effaclar products to treat acne in my patients.
What is clinical grade skincare?
That is another way to say medical grade skincare.
What brands are medical grade?
Medical grade brands include Alastin, Defenage, ISDIN, Sente, SkinCeuticals, SkinMedica and Zerafite.