Everyone wants the youthful glow of beautiful skin; however, achieving that smooth, healthy look can be hard to do. As skin care develops, the market is overloaded with products promising to provide the answers. Many are wading through the excess looking for the right product, while some are turning to skincare products developed by dermatologists. But what’s the difference?

Regular, or over the counter, skincare products are available to everyone. The concentrations of their effective ingredients are relatively low and fairly gentle. Over the counter skincare aids have the benefit of being both inexpensive and widely varied. Most major companies have products which can be found in any drugstore and cater to all skin types. Some regular skincare products are even able to treat mild cases of skin conditions such as eczema and acne. The downside of a regular skincare aid is the guesswork. Establishing an effective regimen may require months of trial and error, while you mix and match products in order to create a process that works for you. If you are not careful, you could aggravate your skin and exacerbate any problems you may have.

Some people who find that regular skincare just can’t cope with their needs report success with their medical grade prescription. Medical grade skincare products are developed by dermatologists and have stronger formulas than OTC skincare. They can be purchased online, but it is recommended that you consult a dermatologist before you buy; misuse can be damaging to your skin. For those with extreme cases of acne, eczema, or psoriasis, and even those simply looking to reverse the signs of aging, these products can be a lifesaver. However, they can also be expensive and are sometimes harsh on the delicate skin of your face.

The most important element of skincare is knowing what your skin needs to be healthy. Diet, exercise, and hormone levels can be just as critical as biological factors when it comes to your skin’s health. Try increasing your water intake, or getting more sleep before you change your skincare regimen. To avoid frustration when choosing an over the counter skincare aid, do research before purchasing – know your skin type, read product reviews, and have an idea of what you are looking for before you shop. If you are still unsure, or are interested in designer brands, visit your local department store and ask a consultant; they may be able to assemble the right products for you, or at least give good advice. If you are truly concerned about your skin, meet with a dermatologist to determine if medical grade products can be the next step.