Over-the-Counter Skincare Products vs Professional Skincare Products: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Erin VanValkenburg on

When shopping for skincare products, you may initially balk at the price on those professional skincare brands. But what you don’t know could be harming you, and impeding your best skincare efforts.

Here’s the difference between OTC skincare vs professional products.

 Mass Production

With over-the-counter products, they are made in big batches and mass produced. This hinders quality control, so you can’t ever be too sure of what you’re getting. When you go with a professional skincare line, they make them in small batches. You also won’t find them in every store.

Active Ingredients

Sure, that OTC skincare brand has an attractive price with those buzzworthy ingredients you want. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that the amount of that key ingredient is too low to be effective in the formula. You’re basically throwing your money away. Spend a little more and you’ll get professional-grade products that have higher concentrations of the ingredients that will benefit your skin.

Optimal pH Balance

Your skin is mildly acidic with a pH that ranges between 4.7 and 5.7. With over-the-counter skincare, pH is often disregarded. This means that it can throw off the balance of your skin, making it alkaline which puts it in danger with bacteria and free radicals. Professional skincare products always think about supporting your skin’s protective barrier by focusing on pH balance.

Molecule Size

That same protective barrier will keep large molecules from penetrating your skin. You need skincare that uses smaller molecules for it to be effective. Professional products will use the right size for the most potent formulations that work. Additionally, professional products will not throw buzzwords like “collagen” around because those molecules are far too large to make a difference when applied topically to skin.



Since over-the-counter products are mass produced, they’re also formulated so they can endure long storage times in a warehouse before distribution. This means they have gobs of preservatives and fillers to help them last, many of which can harm our bodies. Things like parabens are often incorporated for this reason, but with professional skincare products, they leave these things out of the formulation for the healthiest products you can use on your skin.


When it comes to making the choice, don’t let the price tag be your only deciding factor between OTC and professional skincare products. Most professional products will require a smaller amount and give you real results, making them more cost-effective in the end. Along with avoiding nasty chemicals and preservatives, it’s the best choice to make for your skin. For a selection of professional grade skincare made with natural, effective ingredients, visit Whole Beauty Skincare.


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