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Cosmetic vs. Pharmaceutical Grade Products

<b>Cosmetic vs. Pharmaceutical Grade Products


Over-The-Counter Product - Anything bought at a grocery, drug, department store - no matter how expensive. Anything bought through a make up club, on television or pyramid program. Basically, anything that is available “over-the-counter” to the general public.

Professional Product - Any skin care system or cosmetic that is only available through an esthetician, dermatologist, medical doctor or plastic surgeon.


Industrial - This grade is used in motor oils and for other industrial applications.

Cosmetic - This grade is more refined than the industrial grade and is used in “Over-The-Counter” skin care and cosmetics. Products formulated with this grade ingredient are for the most part harmless. There will be nothing in them that will harm your skin, if using the correct product for your skin type; in turn, there is nothing in them that will do anything to improve the skin.

Pharmaceutical - This grade is used only in professional products because there are things that will most definitely make your skin react. For this reason only professional products are sold by estheticians, dermatologists, medical doctors, and plastic surgeons.

Some ingredients in “Over-The-Counter” skin care and cosmetics which may cause problems for some skin types are listed below. Please remember; these are all “Cosmetic Grade” ingredients and not to be confused with ingredients that are “Pharmaceutical Grade”. Pharmaceutical grade ingredients are highly refined, pure and will not have the same effect on the skin.

Artificial colors, fragrances and preservatives are the three most common causes of cosmetic allergies and skin irritations. They can also inhibit the effectiveness of other ingredients.

Barrier type ingredients inhibit the effectiveness of the formula’s active ingredients even if the product is labeled non-comedogenic.


ammonium lauryl sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
acetylated lanolin
acetylated lanolin alcohol
butyl stearate castor oil
cetyl alcohol
cocoa butter
corn oil
decyl oleate
ethoxylated lanolin
*fragrance (artificial)
glyceryl monostearategrape seed oil
hydroxyproply cellulose
isocetyl stearate
isodecy oleate
isopropyl isostearate
isopropyl lanolate
isopropyl linoleate
isopropyl myristate
isopropyl palmitate
isostearyl neopentanoate
lanolin acid
lanolin alcohol
lanolin oil
laureth 4
lauryl alcohol
mineral oil
myristyl alcohol
myristyl lactate
myristyl myristate
octyl palmitate
oleic acid
oleyl alcohol
PPG-2 myristyl propionate
propylene glycol isostearate
propylene glycol monostearate
SD alcohol
sodium lauryl sulfate
stearic acid
stearyl alcohol


benzyl paraben
boric acid
butyl paraben
disodium EDTA
ethyl paraben
Imidazolidinyl urea
methylisothizaolinone methylparaben
potassium sorbate propylparaben
sodium borate
sodium chloride
sodium dehydroacetate
sorbic acid
2 bromo 2 Nitropropane-1, 3 Diol wax

FD&C or D&C followed by a number and a color - indicates a certified coal tar color.

SD followed by a number - indicates specially denatured alcohol, which is drying.

*Artificial fragrance may also cause photosensitivity.