Medical Skincare

What is the difference between cosmetic and medical skincare products?

Traditionally cosmetics are products that are applied on the skin to act as a protector or camouflage. Cosmetics are also useful to highlight certain facial features to make a person look more attractive and younger. By law, cosmetics that are sold over the counter without medical prescriptions are not allowed to contain ingredients that can penetrate or change the functioning of the skin. If they do contain these ingredients then the cosmetic product will be classified as a pharmaceutical product and can only be sold under doctors prescriptions. However, nowadays there are ingredients that can penetrate the skin but has only mild effect on the skin function. These ingredients fall in the grey area between cosmetic and pharmaceuticals and are sometimes called “cosmeceuticals”. Therefore the main difference between over the counter cosmetics and medical skincare is that medical skincare products can only be prescribed by doctors and they can contain pharmaceutical strength ingredients that can change the skin functioning.

What medical skin care products can the BCAM recommend?

BCAM does not endorse any particular brand of medical skincare products. However in general, anti-aging skin care routine should be as follows:

  • During the day the products should be designed to protect the skin. This is because during the day our skins are exposed to damaging ultraviolet rays and the environment. Sun block of at least SPF 15 should be used during the day.
  • In the evening, the skincare products should be designed to stimulate the skin to repair. The gold standards for anti-aging ingredients are still the retinoids such as tretinoin.

There are many other medical skincare products that can reduce skin pigmentation, treat acne and acne Rosacea and other skin diseases that your doctor can prescribe to you.

What you should know

Cosmetic medical procedures should only be undertaken by registered medical practitioners.

Read more

Find an Aesthetic doctor

Our regulated members operate throughout the UK. Use our handy map to find your nearest Aesthetic doctor.

Read more

Find a BCAM Accredited Doctor

Search by region

Reasons to Join the BCAM

We have over 300 regulated members throughout the UK.

Learn more
NEW: Cookies Info - Do you consent?