Acne is a frustrating skin condition for as many as 50 million Americans, yet a significant number of acne patients are not compliant with their prescribed treatment regimen and therefore never see results. Because it can take eight weeks for acne treatments to fully clear up blemishes, it is crucial that patients continue with their treatment throughout this period of time in order to see the outcome they had hoped for.
As a physician, there are some strategies that you can use to help encourage your patients to be compliant with their acne treatment so they can see optimal results.
1. Assess Your Patient’s Baumann Skin Type®
Matching the right acne acne treatments and skincare regimen to a patient’s skin type is an important first step to help minimize side effects and increase the likelihood that your patient will stick to the regimen. Many of the most common acne treatments can cause dryness and flaking, so it is especially important to prescribe a gentle, non-drying skincare regimen to acne patients with dry skin types.
Customizing the skin care to their skin type requires thought. For example, some Baumann Skin Types should not start a retinoid and alpha hydroxy acid at the same time, as these are both chemical exfoliants and can cause irritation. A better solution for this particular Baumann Skin Type is to use a glycolic acid cleanser in the morning and a creamy moisturizing cleanser at night, followed by a barrier repair moisturizer and a retinoid. The products and order they are used should be chosen according to the skin type in order to improve outcomes. In the Skin Type Solutions System, there are over 2,200 different combinations of regimens that are matched to the Baumann Skin type and other skin concerns.
2. Provide Written Instructions
Studies have shown that patient education is one of the most important factors in acne treatment compliance. Lack of knowledge about acne vulgaris and confusion about how to use their prescribed treatments are two of the top reasons why many patients are noncompliant. I once had a patient get irritated because they thought the cleanser was a leave-on product! Provide your patients with printed-out information sheets and step-by-step instructions that explain how and when to use their acne treatments and new skincare regimen to greatly influence adherence.
Highlight the fact that it can take up to eight weeks to see results from acne treatments so patients know exactly what to expect and are not disappointed when they don’t wake up with a blemish-free face the next morning.
3. Schedule a Four-Week Follow-up Appointment
I prefer to schedule follow-up appointments at four weeks for several reasons. First, it helps patients to stay motivated to continue with their treatment regimen. Patients are usually the most excited about their new skincare regimen right after their initial appointment, but this excitement and motivation wanes as time goes on and they go back to their busy routines. This study showed that patients are most compliant the few days before and after their appointments, so having a follow up is critical to improve outcomes. Schedule a follow-up visit when they check out in order keep patients on track. Having them call when they need you results in decreased compliance and decreased return visits.
At the follow up visit, you should ask about adherence to the regimen and discuss any side effects or other hurdles that may be keeping them from using their treatment as prescribed. It is better to address these problems and tweak their skincare regimen at the four-week mark, rather than wait six or eight weeks without any progress.
Regular follow-up appointments help to improve the physician-patient relationship, which is another crucial element of patient compliance. Acne patients report that a strong, engaging relationship with their dermatologist improves adherence.
4. Use Before and After Imaging
Taking photos of a patient’s progress with the Canfield Visia CA Camera can help them to stay motivated to continue treatment. It is a great way to show evidence of real results before it is evident to the naked eye. Because a new skincare regimen produces gradual results over the course of several weeks or even months, patients may not realize just how impactful their skin treatments have been. Showing them before and after pictures can help to emphasize the importance of maintaining a proper skincare regimen, even once they feel that their results have “plateaued.” Of course, if you have not chosen the proper products for their skin type, you can’t be certain that their results will improve. You need to make sure that patients are using the proper skin care for their Baumann Skin Type.
Encouraging your patients to stick with their acne treatments by following these steps can have a significant impact on compliance, outcomes, and patient satisfaction and referrals.
In my own Miami practice, I utilize the Skin Type Solutions system that automatically generates over 2,200 combinations of skincare regimens based on the patient’s answers to a scientifically validated questionnaire. Once the regimen is generated with the click of a button, I can customize it and add prescription medications in place of cosmeceuticals very easily. If you’d like to learn more about the STS system visit STSFranchise.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 305-714-5322, or fill out our online contact form.
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