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When it comes to Over The Counter vs Cosmeceutical skincare products on the market, it can actually be quite bewildering if you don’t know the key differences.

There will be a myriad of questions about each type of product’s performance, ranging from its suitability for your skin through to the price involved. So, what are the key differences between over the counter vs cosmeceutical skincare products?

Are they really worth the extra cost?

The short answer is yes. Let’s have a look why.

Both types of products may look and feel the same, but there is a big difference between the two! It’s like comparing apples with oranges – they may both be healthy fruits and good for the skin, but their vitamin content and resultant effects on the body would be very different.

Without the correct information, it’s impossible to make the right choice for yourself, especially with so much persuasive advertising attached to the cosmetic side of the industry.

Here at skin treatment clinic Tej & Co, we know that it takes a careful balance of analysis of the problem, application of the correct clinical product (or products), and from there on, a ‘whole body’ approach to healthy skin.

First, we need to understand the function of the skin.


What Is The Skin’s Function?


The skin is the largest organ on our body, protecting us from harm by keeping out foreign bodies and bacteria. It’s also there to protect us from harmful sun damage (a whole subject in itself – see our article ‘Why Is It Important To Wear Sunscreen All-Year-Round?’ for more fascinating facts and tips!) – and for all these reasons, we need to look after our skin.

When it isn’t happy – it lets us know. Perhaps there will be a break out of spots and boils – the body’s attempt to rid itself of harmful chemicals and toxins. It may display rosacea, sun damage, and signs of ageing skin. All of these problems can cause issues with health, and confidence and self-esteem.

The skin is waterproof – however, if a product has the right chemical delivery systems (as it would have in a pharmaceutical-grade product), then entry into the skin can be achieved. This has been measured and proven. And this is how the best clinical skincare products on the market achieve their success.


Diagnosis of Skin Care Problems


The first step to solving any issues is to have a clinical diagnosis – not all conditions are initially what they appear to be.

And the next step is to use the right product for the condition. Sometimes this may involve using several products, or undertaking several different treatments to complement each other. Everything we recommend at Tej & Co will be the result of careful analysis and years of experience and qualified training.

For example, for the best skincare for acne skin conditions, we recommend using Mesoestetic products because in the field of dermatology they are one of the world’s leading pioneering pharmaceutical companies to provide aesthetic clinics complete and effective solutions for skin conditions.

Ok, now for the FOUR major differences as to why it is essential to look beyond over the counter skincare products for the health of your skin.


FOUR Reasons To Start Using Cosmeceutical Skincare Products Today


ONE: The existence and the level of active ingredients

An over the counter cosmetic skincare product does not normally contain enough active ingredients, at a scientifically proven level to do what it may claim. To be classed as a cosmeceutical, active ingredients must be at scientifically-proven levels of concentration that have a positive effect on the skin.

TWO: The delivery system

Most likely, an over the counter cosmetic skincare product will not be capable of the correct ‘delivery system’ to be able to penetrate the dermis (the upper layer of the skin) in order to be of benefit.

The delivery system of these higher concentrations ensures that the ingredients can penetrate the skin correctly and have the ability to bring about visible changes to the skin, making it a results-focused product.

A cosmeceutical product that is classed as being above a cosmetic, but is not pharmaceutical that requires a prescription to dispense, can be used regularly without the major side effects of pharmaceuticals.

It has a biological purpose and a higher proportion of quality, active ingredients (like antioxidants or vitamins). These ingredients will feature in the product to treat or alleviate the specific complaint, and the product will have been developed and refined in laboratories for many years before coming to the market. This means it will be backed up by clinical trials and supportive data. Ultimately, when used properly, they do what they claim to do.

THREE: The place to buy the products

All too often people will self-diagnose their skin condition and choose a skincare product that is easily available from a department store or supermarket, it will feel and smell good. But it won’t have a deep effect on the skin or condition. Over the counter cosmetic skincare products must be made safe because large companies cannot afford to have masses of consumers having adverse reactions to their products.

Cosmeceutical products are available from dermatologists and aesthetic skin clinics and will be prescribed by a skin care professional. By having a professional skin diagnosis you will be prescribed the correct skincare product on the market that will lead to amazing results.

There are cosmeceutical products available for a wide range of skin problems – anything from anti-ageing skin through to dry skin, acne, wrinkles on the face, pigmentation and many, many more.

FOUR: The results to expect

Over the counter skincare products are sold over the counter because they are safe. If anything was to cause concern it would be most likely to be from an incorrect diagnosis of a skin condition or purchase of an incorrect product.

They cannot penetrate the skin (epidermis) to access the deeper layers. They may refresh your complexion for a short period of time but they cannot create structural changes or deliver long-term results. Although they will effectively maintain your skin by providing somewhat temporary results.

However, when a cosmeceutical is applied to the skin, the active ingredients are able to penetrate the deeper layers, with the ability to make noticeable changes. Penetration through the skin’s surface promote change on a cellular level and improve the skin in the long term.

These products have been scientifically developed to produce impressive fast-acting and noticeable results to correct skin concerns such as acne, anti-ageing, dehydrated skin and appearance of sun damage.

You don’t need a specific skin concern to use these cosmeceutical products – they are also ideal if you are just keen to maintain youthful healthy skin for as long as possible.


So, What Cosmeceutical Products Do We Recommend?


At our clinic, we use the following brands for their efficacy and their results. We’ve seen many huge improvements with clients’ issues throughout our time in practice, and are very confident of the results these products can achieve.


Epionce is becoming one of the most popular ranges used by doctors and medical aesthetic clinics in the UK. Formulated with potent botanical ingredients in proven concentrations, it’s suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.

🌐 Visit their homepage here or call us to check the best products we stock locally for you.



This company has a simple philosophy: ‘Vitamin C plus sunscreen by day, vitamin A by night’. They offer tailored solutions for a range of skin concerns, whilst being 100% animal cruelty-free.

🌐 Visit their homepage here or call us to check the best products we stock locally for you.


Colour Science

With a fantastic range of products from skin perfectors to sunscreens, face primers to foundations, anti-ageing serums and redness corrector kits, this brand had to be in our top three!

🌐 Visit their homepage here or call us to check the best products we stock locally for you.


Final Note


By really understanding the difference between over the counter products and cosmeceutical skincare, you’ll understand the benefits of using a product that’s tailored for your needs.

Also, it’s important to remember it’s not just about one good active ingredient – it’s about the mixture of the right amounts of active ingredients in each product. When it’s right, they work together in harmony, to produce the best results.  Just like we do with you at our skin treatment skincare clinic in Stourbridge, Tej and Co!


Can We Help You?

If you are unsure how to treat specific skin conditions, just give Tej a call on 01384 824039 OR fill out the form below to get some advice and the opportunity to book a free consultation.



This article was written by skincare specialist Tej of Tej & Co.

Tej & Co are experts in skincare and hair removal clinic, West Midlands. Offering safe and results-driven non-surgical skin treatments including Endymed Skin Tightening.

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OTC vs Cosmeceutical | Choosing The Best Skincare Products For Maximum Effect - Tej and Co
What skincare products do I need? What is the best skincare on the market? If you are looking for the best skin care products for healthier skin then...

This article was written by skincare specialist Tej of Tej & Co. Tej & Co are experts in skincare and hair removal clinic, West Midlands. Offering safe and results-driven non-surgical skin treatments including Endymed Skin Tightening.