Buyer Beware: What You See, Isn’t Always What You Get

Heather Duda, pharmaceutical grade No Comments

Recently, I have been getting the question “Is the skincare that is being sold via Facebook any good?”.

I constantly remind my patients that there are big differences in pharmaceutical grade skin care products and over-the-counter (OTC) skincare.

OTC skincare is defined as anything that can be sold without a prescription, online or purchased from a store. Pharmaceutical grade products must be sold under the discretion of a licensed physician and are NOT available for purchase on-line.

The skin is composed of 2 layers — the epidermis and the dermis layer. The epidermis layer is the outermost layer of the skin and consists of dead skin. It’s main function is to act as a barrier. The dermis layer is the living layer full of live cells and contains collagen and elastic fibers. These two components, collagen and elastin, in speaking about skin care are vitally important because they hold the key in creating more healthy, youthful looking skin. If a product doesn’t have the ability to reach the dermis layer of the skin, then the product doesn’t have the capability to dramatically change the health of the skin. OTC products do NOT have this ability.

There are two main reasons why OTC skincare products don’t have the ability to penetrate through the epidermis layer into the dermis layer.

  1. The pH balance of products must be acidic to reach the dermis layer because our skin pH is slightly acidic. Therefore, for a product to be able to penetrate through the epidermis layer, it must be acidic. All of the products sold OTC are alkaline based. This is because these products are sold to the masses. On the other hand, Pharmaceutical grade products are acidic and have the ability to reach the dermis layer.
  2. Pharmaceutical grade products also contain higher levels of active ingredients so that they have the ability to reach the dermis layer of skin where the live cells are housed. OTC products might contain some of the same ingredients but it’s important to remember that the quantities of these ingredients are not high enough to reach the dermis layer of skin.

The reason why OTC products don’t contain high levels of active ingredients and are alkaline based is because if a patient were to use OTC skincare products improperly, a patient could suffer minor skin burns or irritation. With pharmaceutical grade skincare, a medical professional is instructing a patient on the products proper use of the product and maintaining records of this instruction for liability reasons.

Another thing to look for when purchasing some of the skincare kits offered on-line are the ingredients that their products contain. For example, one of the popular skin care lines sold on Facebook, uses a chemical called Avobenzone as their active ingredient for protecting our skin from UVA rays. Avobenzone is a chemical that has been listed as dangerous because it degrades in the sun, resulting in the release of free radicals which increase our risk of developing cancer. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays and dispersing them. The problem is that the warming up of the skin cells can still cause premature aging. All Pharmaceutical grade products contain physical blocks, not chemicals. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the only physical blocks available. These blocks work by deflecting the rays off our skin.

So what did we learn? Get educated about the products you are investing in because OTC products are often just as expensive as pharmaceutical grade products but don’t live up to the claims they make about drastically improving the skin. Pharmaceutical grade products also have clinical backing to support their claims, unlike OTC brands. So be smart and invest wisely.

Got questions? Ask one of our Skincare Nurse Specialists — we are happy to discuss your options!

Skincare & Chemotherapy

Breast Cancer Awareness, Chemotherapy, Heather Duda, Heather Woods, iS Clinical, skincare Comments Off

For patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the most common complaint with their skin is dryness and irritation. If the skin becomes severely dry it can be more susceptible to infection which is a scary place to be for a patient whose immunity is already compromised.

Here are some tips to help prevent problems with dry skin during chemotherapy:

• avoid hot showers and baths

• use fragrance free soaps and laundry detergents

• use thick creams for moisturizers as opposed to lotions

• after each hand washing moisturize hands

• for dry flaky skin use ammonium lactate cream, available by prescription or over the counter

• use SPF 30, broad spectrum protection on skin to prevent sunburn as chemotherapy makes one more susceptible to sunburn

• drink plenty of fluids, 2-3 quarts of non alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids a day

• wear clothes made of cotton

Pellé Medical Skincare also carries a cancer care line by iS Clinical. The iS cancer care line provides skin care solutions for patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. These products specifically address the needs of cancer patients. The line contains extremely powerful antioxidants to protect against free-radical damage generated from the environment as a result of certain cancer treatment therapies. Medical literature gives an overwhelming support to the use of antioxidants during cancer treatment. They have been shown to improve the outcome of cancer treatments and reduce the side effects from such treatments. The cancer care line products combine ingredients that strengthen cellular health and integrity and increase micro-circulation. The line utilizes proven cancer preventative ingredients and offers the safest, most advanced form of UV protection.

Skin dryness is not the only skin issue that arises with radiation and chemotherapy. Many patients suffer from burns and hyperpigmentation as well. The iS Clinical Cancer line has products to combat against these side effects as well.

If you, or someone you know is suffering from chemotherapy or radiation-related skin problems, contact a skincare nurse specialist at Pellé at 513-272-0064.

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