Skincare retail is one of the most controversial topics in cosmetic dermatology, and it has been hotly debated for several decades. Dermatologists may choose to sell products through an online store to provide patients with a “one-stop shop” to ensure that their patients are using the appropriate products, to increase compliance, or to increase their income. I have seen both the advantages and pitfalls of skincare retail in my practice over the past 15 years, and I have identified the factors that are necessary for ethical and beneficial retail sales, both for your patients and your practice.
How It Works
Setting up your online retail store is easy, efficient, and hugely beneficial to your patients when you use the Skin Type Solutions system. In your office, patients will take the Skin Type quiz to find out their Baumann Skin Type so that you can then approve their proper skin care regimen. Then, they can go online at skintypesolutions.com and shop for their recommended products, and they can even sign up for auto-refill to make the process that much easier. This way, you can ensure that your patients do not get counterfeit products. (In order to gain access to this store, your patients will need to use your unique physician code.)
As an STS Physician Partner, this online store comes at no cost to you. Patients order using your unique code, so the profit is split with you. To apply to become an STS Physician Partner, go to stsfranchise.com.
How an Online Store Benefits Your Patients
An online retail store can not only increase your income, but it can also directly benefit your patients in a number of ways:
Provide what patients cannot get elsewhere. Dermatologists have exclusive access to skincare products that patients cannot find in a department store or mass retailer, and oftentimes, we can offer products with higher concentrations of efficacious ingredients, because we can track patient progress while monitoring potential side effects. Providing patients with skincare options that they cannot obtain themselves is in their best interest.
Prescribe custom-tailored skincare. Dermatologist-based skincare recommendations ensure that the patient is using the proper ingredients or formulations for their skin type, and prevents patients from wasting money on ineffective products. The proper skincare regimen also increases patient satisfaction when they see results, and minimizes the side effects that can occur when a patient purchases products that are inappropriate for their skin.
Ensure product quality. An expensive moisturizer sold at a department store may boast miraculous (and unscrupulous) claims. A dermatologist who is well-versed in skincare science can take one look at the ingredient list and know that it provides little more benefit than a basic drugstore product. Pharmaceutical companies that rely on research formulate many dermatologist-based brands and they perform clinical testing to ensure product efficacy. Dermatologists can review the results and make educated decisions when selecting products for retail in their practice.
Improve outcomes. Often a prescription product will cost the patient less money and work better than a cosmeceutical product that they buy in a store. For example, a prescription rosacea medication for facial redness can provide faster and longer-lasting results than a cosmeceutical product. However, combining this prescription rosacea medication with the proper soothing cleansers and moisturizers and avoiding irritating products will help improve outcomes. Often the patient’s insurance will pay for the prescription product, lowering their overall cost of the daily skincare regimen. Educating the patient about the skincare regimen and using an online store to make product repurchasing streamlined and easy will increase compliance and improve outcomes and patient satisfaction. Doctors who use the Skin Type Solutions System report that acne patients have less side effects and improve faster when the prescription medications are combined with the proper skincare products.
Provide competitive pricing. Skin Type Solutions runs the online stores of many physicians allowing STS to offer you rebates and other benefits that allow you to price the products that you sell competitively. In addition, the time-cost of a patient going to the store, trying to find the correct product, possibly buying the wrong product, returning the product or throwing it away or letting it sit unused on a shelf, and having to make another office visit should be considered. You are helping your patients by protecting them from all of that. By purchasing the product directly from your office or your online store, a patient is likely to save time and money by not purchasing unnecessary, incorrect, or counterfeit products.
The Bottom Line
The reason you should sell products to your patients is to protect them from unscrupulous skincare product retailers! By using a Skin Type Solutions system in your office and the free online STS retail store, your patients will be educated on what products are right for their skin type. Offering this online retail option gives your patient access to more than 40 skincare brands that have been independently tested and approved by me for use on the corresponding Baumann Skin Types®. In addition to improving patient satisfaction and outcomes you will organically increase your income and improve your patient flow process.
Developed by world-renowned dermatologist, Leslie Baumann, MD, the Skin Type Solutions® Franchise System is an educational, science-based skincare store that implements a simple and reliable system to maximize skincare product sales and improve patient compliance and results.
Based on Dr. Baumann’s patent-pending Baumann Skin Typing System, this first-of-its-kind retail model provides dermatologists with the scientific methodology, training, and education necessary to prescribe effective, customized skincare regimens utilizing multiple brands of products that have been independently tested and approved by Dr. Baumann. To learn more about what Skin Type Solutions can do for your dermatology practice, visit the STS site here.