A modern girl’s first aid kit: why is everyone switching to medical cosmetics?

Over the last few years, our grocery list has ceased to consist of headache pills and haematogens at the checkout. Filled with face cream, cleansing gel and sunscreen. This is also evidenced by statistics – in 2022, sales of pharmacy cosmetics in Russia were the highest in the last five years. This was partly due to the increase in the price of selective products. But this still does not take away the fact that pharmacy cosmetics (also affectionately called “first aid kit”) is gradually gaining popularity. What are the advantages over mass market brands?

What is generally understood as pharmaceutical cosmetics?

Let’s start with the fact that the term “pharmacy” in Russia simultaneously means several types of cosmetics – medicinal, dermatocosmetic and cosmetic. Everyone calls it differently, but ascribes the same characteristics. These are cosmetics formulated with active ingredients to treat the symptoms of various skin conditions.

Until recently, such funds could only be purchased in pharmacies. But now most brands are sold, including in marketplaces, perfumery and cosmetics chains.

What is the main difference between pharmacy cosmetics?

If you briefly answer this question, then the cream from the mass market segment was created to maintain the skin in a normal state, and the pharmacy product is aimed at solving certain problems. Firstly, it is suitable for skin that is not prone to irritation and does not have obvious dermatological problems. But if the purpose of care is to combat pathological conditions, whether acne or rosacea, it needs a systematic approach that pharmacy cosmetics offers.

Pros and cons of pharmacy cosmetics

A still from the movie “Beauty in the Head”

dermatological control

Most often, drugstore brands come from dermatological labs. For example, Bioderma, Vichy or SVR. Therefore, the formulas of pharmaceutical products are always checked for hypoallergenicity, non-comedogenicity and safety for the skin. Also, like medicinal products, they go through several phases of clinical trials:

— testing of the active substance;

– checking the efficacy of the product in vitro (ie “in vitro”);

– in vivo validation (ie “inside a living organism”).

Concentration and bioavailability of the substance

If you are one of those who carefully examine the composition of the product before buying, the formulas of pharmacy and mass-market products may seem the same. But medical cosmetic formulations are often characterized by a higher concentration of active ingredients. Another advantage of therapeutic agents is that they penetrate not only on the surface, but also in the deeper layers of the skin.

After that, a logical question may arise – then why are pharmacy cosmetics sold without a prescription? The fact is that the active ingredients are added to the formula while working, but still in therapeutic doses. One of the main commandments of medical cosmetics is to do no harm. Therefore, even if you choose the wrong product or use a large amount, it should not have a bad effect on the condition of the skin.


Perhaps the only drawback of pharmacy cosmetics is the high price. Many pharmaceutical products are quite expensive. But their cost is often justified – often manufacturers use patented components (for example, special thermal water) or technologies that deliver active substances to the deep layers of the skin.

Popular drugstore cosmetics brands

According to 2022 statistics, the most purchased pharmaceutical cosmetics brands by Russians were La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Bioderma, Librederm, Avene, Lactacyd, Lipobase. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular of them.

La Roche Posay

Toleriane Cleansing Cleansing Care Gel, La Roche-Posay, 1200 p.

La Roche-Posay is the name of the city where the first balneological center arose (this is the name of the place where mineral water is used for treatment). Later, the center received a spa status at the National Academy of Medicine. The company was founded in 1928. He created thermal water-based products for the center’s patients. And since the 70s, the La Roche-Posay brand has its own laboratories, which continues the mass production of cosmetics for skin care.


Revitalizing care for the skin around the eyes Mineral 89, Vichy, 1466 p.

Vichy cosmetics are also based on the properties of the thermal water of the same name. In 1931, Dr. Prosper Allaire and Georges Guérin founded the Vichy Laboratory. And 30 years later, they opened their own cosmetics production near the Vichy spas, where water is extracted, which is part of all products.


Micellar water for sensitive skin Sensibio, Bioderma, 1500 r.

The French dermatological laboratory Bioderma has been known since the 70s of the last century. At first he produced materials for medicines. In 1978, it launched the first cosmetic products for the treatment and prevention of skin diseases.


Librederm, Hyaluronic gel gommage for washing 450 r.

The brand’s laboratory cooperates with 14 major world centers engaged in cosmetic product research. New developments of the brand are evaluated by the International Scientific Council, which includes world-class experts in the field of chemistry and dermatology.


Cream Avene for dry and very dry skin, 1050 r.

All brand cosmetics are created on the basis of water from the Aven spa in France. It was recognized as a national treasure in the 19th century, and the French Academy of Medicine granted Avène the status of a hydrotherapy center for the treatment of dermatological diseases. In 1990, a new center was opened in its place and a brand that everyone knows was born with it.


Intensive balm for dry and very dry skin, “Lipobase”, 500 r.

The Russian brand of the company Pharmtek specializes in products against dryness and skin irritation. And in the development of all drugs are experts in the field of dermatology and dermatologists. Despite the fact that the brand is considered medicinal, the cost of its funds rarely exceeds a thousand rubles.


Dry mist spray Biesun Spf 50, Uriage, 1900 p.

Uriage is a spring found in the French Alps. Instead, there is now a thermal center where thousands of patients come to be treated for skin diseases every year. And brand formulas are based on thermal water rich in minerals and oligoelements.


Physiogel facial cleanser for dry and sensitive skin, 840 rub.

The brand comes from a German dermatological laboratory that produces cosmetics for problem and sensitive skin. All moisturizers and lotions are based on patented Physiogel® BioMimic® technology. It consists of a lipid complex similar to skin lipids, therefore it helps to maintain the barrier function of the epidermis.


Ampoule Hydra Repair Concentrate, SVR, 2025

The history of the SVR brand began in 1962 when Simona and Robert Vere, a married couple of pharmacists, set up their own dermatological lab. Over time, a brand appeared that specializes in the development of products for problem skin.

Source: People Talk

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