August 30, 2021

Prescription Based Skin Care Products Vs Over The Counter Products

A question we often get at Cult Aesthetics by Enhance is that do prescription skincare products work better than their OTC or over-the-counter counterparts? The answer to this usually is dynamic. Let us talk about it today.

Let us take the example of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide-based OTC solution working better against acne than an acne-based antibiotic, this is because acne is usually resistant to antibiotics, yet sensitive to benzoyl peroxide. Just like this specific example, the answer to what works better greatly depends on the condition and the products we are comparing.

The Reason Behind Lack of Studies

One more fact to consider before we dive deep into this study is the lack of extensive studies and clinical trials. Usually, we never see good studies proving or disproving the efficacy of ingredients because of the financial costs that are associated with these studies. Products and ingredients that cannot be patented hardly ever go through the clinical study route for approvals as this route usually costs the company millions of dollars!

This is also the reason why many products simply claim to “fight” a condition or “help” you against that condition and hardly ever claim to fully “treat” it as a drug because claiming that requires a load of approvals that can be super costly for a company unless the patent game is at play.

Why Lab Results Should Always Be Taken with A Pinch of Salt!

“Lab Results” are usually results reported from a lab study and are usually in-vitro results, meaning they were not done on a living organism.

This is exactly why the impressive in-vitro results might mean nothing when compared with real-life results, after taking all factors of human life into consideration.

Why Only Individual Results Matter

With the studies aspect not being a reliable factor due to the reasons explained above, it is best to judge a product’s efficacy by using it and seeing how it works against your specific problem first.

This is how a dermatologist judges the efficacy of a product:

  1. Know the physiology of the skin problem first.
  2. Look for products or ingredients that scientifically help you in fighting the problem.
  3. The dermatologist tries the product on herself.
  4. Interested people join the study and then feedback is collected to see how the product holds up in comparison with the claims that the product-maker makes.


With prices of various skincare products also greatly varying, the decision of prescription vs over the counter is one that you should always leave to your Dermatologist. Ultimately all forms of products exist, and it’s not the form that they are available in that decides the efficacy of them, it is only the real-life results and how they work against your specific problem that decides whether you should be using them in the long term or not.

In case you would like to know more on this topic, you may book a consultation with Dr. Jaspreet by calling us at +91-8826141232.


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