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An Easy Way to Find Effective Skin Care Products

December 6, 2013 - Rhys Branman, MD

The retail market for skincare products has been overflowing for as long as I can remember, but unfortunately the majority of brands out there don’t deliver great results.

What’s available at the drug store, cosmetics counter, or beauty salon is often a poor substitute for the medical grade skin care products available from a cosmetic surgeon.

What’s the difference?

pH – the level of acid present – is the crucial difference between over-the-counter skincare products and those you’ll find from a doctor. Here’s a quick reference for you.

  • pH of 1-2 = high strength acid
  • pH of 3- 4 = medium strength
  • pH of 5-6 = weak
  • pH of 7 = neutral

Although an over-the-counter skin care product may advertise a high concentration of alpha-hydroxy or glycolic acid, it will most often register as a 7 in pH, which is considered neutral. High quality skin care products from a cosmetic surgeon contain strong acids with a pH level of 1 or 2.

Of course, run-of-the-mill skin care products from the drug store are very safe, but they don’t offer a pH level that will get you results. So when you’re choosing a skin care regimen to cleanse your skin, improve your complexion, and protect against the signs of photo-damage, pay attention to the pH level rather than the concentration of acid.

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