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We’re often asked, “What is the difference between over-the-counter products sold at drugstores or department stores compared to professional products?” Additionally, another question we hear a lot is, “Do professional products work better?”

The simplest answer is yes. At Vibe MedSPAS, we use ZO Skin Health by Obagi and below we’ve detailed a list of reasons why this professional skincare product company is a more effective option, and why it will deliver better results than drugstore or department store products.

Professional Products:

  • Made in small batches to ensure absolute freshness and are made to deliver immediate results.
  • With a focus on results (rather than mass selling), a higher quantity and percentage of active ingredients are added to ensure the product does what it says it’s going to do.
  • Formulated and sold by estheticians with years of hands-on experience with a true understanding of the skin and its function.
  • Extensive product selection to cater to all different types of skin conditions.
  • No added synthetic fragrances, colors, or dyes, which lessens your chance of sensitivity and irritation to these unnecessary chemicals.
  • High-quality ingredients with proven results.
  • Sunscreen numbers with safe and proven SPF ratings (SPF 30-50).

Over The Counter Products:

  • Made in large batches for the masses so more preservatives are added since the shelf life will need to be longer.
  • May have a less or lower percentage of active ingredients since they will be sold to “for all skin types” and, therefore, need to be more basic, simpler formulas.
  • Formulated by chemists and presented and sold to the public by corporate marketing specialists, with a lot of hype and clever marketing jargon to get you to buy it.
  • Most products are made with the  “one-size-fits-all” approach (If you’re looking for results, its imperative that you use products formulated for the unique needs of your skin).
  • Added synthetic dyes, colors, and fragrances to heighten the sensory experience and aesthetic look for the sole purpose of encouraging sales.
  • Low-quality, inexpensive oils with potential pore clogging properties. The drug store is loaded with products containing mineral oil and petroleum, which are forbidden ingredients by most skin care professionals.
  • High SPF numbers (SPF 50 and above) originated by mass marketers to mislead people into believing that high SPF numbers were more effective without scientific proof for the sake of selling more products. (The FDA has put in a ruling to ban all sunscreens higher than an SPF 50 since there is no proof showing it protects the skin more)

Important Information To Know:

Two products can have the exact same list of ingredients and one will be highly effective, while the other could be completely useless. The difference is the concentration of those ingredients. One product may use a very small amount while the other uses a clinically active level. Unfortunately for you, the consumer, there is no way to understand the difference. This is because all ingredients are supposed to be listed in order of the concentration used, but for ingredients with a concentration of less than 1% they can be listed in any order. There’s a big difference between ingredients used at .01% versus 1%, but you would never know it from the label on the bottle, tube, or jar.

Because skincare formulas are proprietary, cheap products can easily disguise themselves as looking like quality products — especially if fancy packaging is used.

If you truly want to improve the appearance of your skin, there’s no better place to purchase your skin care products than through a reputable skincare professional. At Vibe MedSPAS, would love to be your trusted skin care professional.


Zo Skin Health develops and delivers innovative skincare solutions that optimize skin health based on the latest advances in skin therapy technologies, unique delivery systems, bio-engineered complexes, and exclusive formulations. By providing comprehensive skincare programs for physicians and their patients, ZO Skin Health bridges the gap between therapeutic treatments and daily care, allowing patients to experience continuously healthy skin regardless of their age, ethnicity, or unique skin condition.

To book a complimentary consultation, call your Top Rated Local® med spa in Scottsdale at 480-436-7200 today, or reach out to us online, and we’ll create a customized treatment plan that’s right for your skincare needs.