If you’ve passed through our doors at Smooth Skin Health Centre, there is no doubt that you’ve noticed our vibrant royal blue and chrome colour theme. It’s no coincidence that Smooth’s colors match those of our favorite medical skincare line, ZO Skin Health by Dr. Zein Obagi. Beyond the welcoming and stylish colours, in my professional opinion, ZO provides consistent results time and time again – which is the key to success both for me as a skin health professional and for you as a consumer investing in your skin health.

That said, I don’t follow the philosophy of one product being superior to another, at least not in the medical skincare world. When it comes to medical skincare, it is pretty straightforward: use a delivery system with active ingredients designed to safely and effectively transfer through the skin’s barrier to cause a reaction within the skin to change its behaviour. We don’t have anything overly fancy or a wide range of exaggerated products to blindly choose from. There are several great medical lines available in a medically-based skin clinic.

So, what makes a medically-based skin clinic different from a medical spa or a day spa? Medically-based clinics have medical directors and advisors on staff or on a board that support the clinic’s operators. Without these doctors available, the clinic would not be allowed to carry true medical skincare lines such as ZO Skin Health, PCA, SkinMedica, and Elta MD. This is for the safety of both the client and the clinic, not to mention the reputation of the product line. These products are pharmaceutical-grade and are prescribed to clients to create a change in their skin, just like medicine. Some of these lines use strong medicines such as Hydroquinone in a 4% preparation. Like prescription medicines, these products need to be prescribed correctly and monitored by a professional to ensure proper usage and safety. Similarly, retinol creates reactions in the skin that need to be monitored and followed. Many people don’t realize that with retinol, more does not necessarily mean better – and you can do serious harm to your skin.

I have many clients who disclose their current product use to me and are frustrated with the amount of money they’re spending on products that are being sold to them by “skincare experts” at cosmetics counters, big name stores, and spas. I have to admit that I was once one of those “experts” in my career. We all start somewhere, and in the beginning, most of us follow what the sales reps want us to believe in order to sell their product. The cosmetics industry is a multimillion-dollar business for a reason… it plays on our most-exposed vulnerabilities. We all want to look and feel our very best, and acne and aging do affect how we see ourselves. So, there’s a lot of room in our lives that we often try to fill with a jar full of promises. As consumers, we rely on individuals who are supposed to know what’s best for our skin health. And as professionals, it’s up to us to ensure that we continually educate ourselves on the advancements in skin health and skincare and understand what is being recommended to you.

The first rule of thumb is this: if you don’t feel anything or don’t experience anything when using the products, they are probably not active. How can something inactive create that change in your skin that you’re seeking? It’s important to ask yourself that question. The next important point you need to consider is whether the product is being recommended by a medical expert or an expert supported by medical professionals. Seeing that a medical expert who specializes in skin health behind the product is key. Finally, and very importantly, ask yourself whether what they are recommending makes sense. Did they explain it in a way that you can understand and see clearly that this will benefit your skin? Stick with your gut. Make sure you’re going to get full support from your skin-health expert. With corrective products, you need a little hand-holding as your skin begins to truly correct itself.

Having great skin is not an unreachable goal. You just need to investigate and use proper judgment when searching for the change you need. Don’t fall for a product’s fancy and stylish packaging – that is only there to entice you. Instead, pay attention to what is inside that packaging. At Smooth, we are lucky to have our royal blue and chrome style, but what’s behind that look is the truly remarkable and — most importantly — effective part.