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Pharmaceutical Grade Sunscreen vs. Store Brands – The Difference is Real

Is there really a difference in over-the-counter sun protection and pharmaceutical grade sunscreen?  You bet there is.  The major difference between the two is their efficacy due to strength of their formulas and including the right active ingredients to protect your skin effectively.   For this very reason we carry the full line of EltaMd suncare products, which is formulated with the correct levels of transparent zinc oxide and other active ingredients critical for maximum protection.

The best sun protection is formulated to both moisturize and protect your skin, while at the same time not irritate your skin.  EltaMD meets all the requirements of higher potency and is formulated to keep your skin clear and healthy.  This includes being:

  • Sensitivity-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic

To clarify, over-the-counter sunscreen is generally the products you find at a local drug or department store.  Pharmaceutical grade sun care is typically found at a Doctor’s office, skin care practice or medical spa.  Over-the-counter sunscreens usually do not contain as many active ingredients as medical grade, with only the 70% pure ingredients required by the FDA.  Instead, OTC brands contain inactive compounds, fragrances and preservatives. This leaves you with less sun protection.

On the other hand pharmaceutical grade sunscreen must contain 99.9% pure active ingredients.  It also has to be backed up by scientific research, and must have been proven beneficial for the skin.  In other words, you get your moneys worth with real medical grade sun protection because it has the ingredients that make it work.

Another differentiating factor between pharmaceutical grade and retail store brands can be price.  Excellent pharmaceutical grade sun care can be found at the same price point as higher end OTC brands.  You don’t have to spend over $100 that some brands command.  We recommend EltaMD sun care because it is both very reasonably priced and exceptionally effective.  EltaMD offers facial sunscreens to be worn every day under your makeup, to sunscreens for sports and outdoor activities.  And they won’t break the bank.

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