The first time it happened to me was about two years ago. I had a patient who was in her early 20’s with a rather intense flare up of rosacea. After our consult, I sent her home with a sample of SkinMedica Redness Relief. She called me a week or two later saying she loved the product and wanted to get it. She decided that she didn’t want to pay the regular price for it so she decided to go online. She called me very excitedly saying she ordered it from a US site for half the price. I asked her to bring it in so I could see it.
When she arrived, I took off the lid and noticed the product she had smelled like ours but it was a cream. SkinMedica Redness Relief is an ointment. It doesn’t come in any other form. What she received was a fake. She was very disappointed and decided to buy the real thing. Smart, because who knows what was in the product she got?
I was reading an article in Modern Esthetic magazine the other day and it brought back that memory and many others since that time. Fraudulent, fake medical grade products are being sold in abundance online these days. For those seeking a cheaper product, then that is what you will get. You won’t get the product for a reduced rate, you will in fact get a cheap rip off.
The problem with counterfeit cosmeceuticals seems to be growing. As a medical clinic, we can be sure that the items we are receiving come directly from the approved vendor and no middle man tampering with, or swapping out the product has taken place. Not only can fake products fool the customer and waste your money, but they could be potentially dangerous to them as well. Then the clinic and even the product line are at risk of damage to their name. The patient isn’t aware that what they have purchased isn’t the right product, so they blame the clinic or the product line itself.
Do a Google search for the top cosmeceutical product lines and you will see a multitude of companies selling online, usually at very low, reduced prices. It is important to understand that true cosmeceutical lines (medical grade, and with an abundance of active ingredients) can ONLY be sold through a physician. They cannot be sold online. Certainly there are some lines that have a spa alternative line that may or may not be authentically sold online, and therefore the buyer has to decide whether or not they are willing to take a chance with those products. However, those products should not be confused with medical grade skin care. Even as a medical esthetician, I am not allowed to purchase medical grade products from our vendors. They are physician- based products. If in any doubt, the price you see should be a good indicator of telling you what it is that you are actually buying.
Imagine you want a Prada purse, but you don’t have an extra $2000 sitting around. You can decide to purchase a fake, but it will always be a fake. It may look good to the untrained eye, but it will never match up to the real thing. Of course there is a big difference between buying a fake bag and purchasing something you plan to apply to your face.
I had an esthetician come see me awhile back. She had purchased a chemical peel online. She decided to try to remove a tattoo with it. Yeah, I know, but she did. Anyway, she was seeing me because she burnt all the skin and was left with a very ugly scar. She realized too late that what she purchased was not what it seemed. Certainly I could have told her that a peel wouldn’t remove a tattoo, but it also shouldn’t have burnt her and left a scar. Who knows what was in the product she bought? And there was nothing she could do. No money back guarantee, no clinic to return a product to, just a loss of cost for the product, a painful result and now the cost to fix the scar it left.
There are legitimate reasons why medical grade products are sold ONLY in medical clinics. They have many active and well-studied ingredients and very low allergic potential and if not used properly, they can have negative results. Your medical Esthetician and skin doctor are trained on how to properly recommend and teach how to apply your products for optimal efficacy and minimal side effects.
We all love to look online for clothing or housewares, but when it comes to your health or skin, don’t be taking chances. Consults at Toronto Dermatology Centre are complimentary, always. What do you have to lose? Make your appointment today and feel secure that what you are purchasing is exactly what you expect it to be, as well as safe and effective.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre