Creating a customized skin care regimen for your patients helps to increase compliance, outcomes, and referrals. When patients see visible improvements to their skin, they will be more likely to continue using the recommended products and will therefore see even better results. When designing a skin care regimen for your patients, keep these five tips in mind to maximize outcomes and patient satisfaction.
1. Everything your patients put on their skin affects efficacy and side effects.
The ingredients in skin products have certain chemical reactions with each other based on pH, temperature, and other formulation factors. These reactions have an affect on the skin barrier and penetration. Some ingredients inactivate others, while ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties can help patients tolerate other ingredients. Thus, you need to take time to consider these interactions when designing a regimen.
You can read more about skin care ingredient layering in this column that I wrote for Dermatology News.
2. 95% of patients will underdose.
No matter what you tell them, 95% of your patients will underdose and only 1 in 3 of them will have their prescriptions filled. To help with these all too common problems, provide written step-by-step instructions outlining how and when to use each product. Before patients leave your office, schedule a follow-up visit for 2 to 4 weeks after the initial appointment to encourage them to stick to their regimen. This is also a great opportunity to address any side effects that may be keeping patients from using the recommended products and to adjust the regimen accordingly.
3. Patients over 30 need to use anti-aging ingredients.
Many patients are under the impression that anti-aging products are only for people who already have visible wrinkles. The truth is that we gradually age as soon as we are born! So if patients are over 30, you need to include anti-aging ingredients in their regimen to:
Prevent and treat DNA and mitochondrial DNA damage. Consider polypodium leucotomos, topical niacinamide, and oral turmeric.
Prevent and treat scavenging free radicals. Recommend topical antioxidant ingredients and increased fruits and vegetables in the diet changes.
Prevent and treat inflammation with correct regimen design and both oral and topical anti-inflammatories such as argan oil and niacinamide.
Prevent glycation by reducing dietary sugar intake. Oral metformin may be appropriate for some individuals.
4. The most important “treatment product” needs to be applied closest to the skin.
The treatment product is the most important part of the skin regimen and needs to go on clean skin and be absorbed into the skin. Treatment products are defined as the acne, rosacea, melasma, anti-aging, etc. products aimed at treating a specific condition. This can be a prescription or cosmeceutical product. Instruct patients to apply the treatment product after using their cleanser and eye product. The cleanser preps the skin for the treatment product by enhancing penetration by altering pH and cell adhesion. The eye product protects the delicate eye-area from irritation caused by the treatment product.
The rest of the regimen should be designed to enhance the penetration and efficacy of the treatment product. For example, cleansers and moisturizers greatly affect the efficacy and side effects of the treatment product by altering penetration and chemical structure of various ingredients.
Read more about how to choose a cleanser for your patients here, and how to choose a moisturizer for your patients here.
5. Sell products in your practice to improve compliance.
In 2005, I surveyed patients at the University of Miami dermatology clinic and found that an astounding 100 percent of them wanted their doctor to sell skin care products in their office. Patients said they wanted this because of convenience and they wanted to be certain that they were buying the proper products. Retailing skincare in your office helps compliance because there is one less step that the patient has to take in order to get started on their new regimen. Every extra step they have to take decreases compliance, so you can really have an impact on their outcome by offering the exact products that you recommend right in your office or through your online store.
The ingredients you include and the order in which they are applied have a profound impact on the efficacy and side effects of the skin regimen as a whole. In my practice, I use the Skin Type Solutions system to generate customized skin care regimens for patients based on their Baumann Skin Type® to ensure consistency and accuracy. Learn more about how the STS system works here.
If you have other tips for how to design a skin care regimen not included in this post, please connect with me (Leslie Baumann) on LinkedIn and share your ideas. You can also contact my team online or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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