As much as you encourage your patients to follow their prescribed skincare regimens, noncompliance remains one of the largest contributors to ineffective treatment. The patient is ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not he or she sticks with the dermatologist-recommended treatment plan. However, there are a few things you can do to encourage and increase patient compliance, which, in turn, increases patient satisfaction and positive outcomes.
1. Know Your Ingredient Science
In order to increase compliance and improve outcomes, the first step is recommending the most appropriate skincare ingredients and products for each patient. As dermatologists know, not every ingredient will work for every skin type or condition, and some ingredients can exacerbate certain problems while attempting to treat others. For this reason, it is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to skincare ingredients that can be combined to offer the most appropriate solution for each patient’s unique concerns. Keep in mind, too, that the order in which ingredients are placed onto the skin is equally crucial, because they can inactivate each other and affect absorption.
My book, Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients, breaks down a number of skincare ingredients to help people better understand which ones get much more hype than they deserve (like stem cells and peptides), and which ones are crucial for just about every skin type (such as retinoids and antioxidants). When you arm yourself with the most comprehensive and accurate information, you can pass that knowledge on to your patients. That way, patients will understand how each ingredient can benefit their unique skin type and will be much more likely to give the product enough time to work in order to see its positive outcome.
2. Identify Patient’s Baumann Skin Type
Even with the best knowledge about every available skincare ingredient out there, this information is useless if you don’t know your patient’s skin type, as some ingredients may work wonders for some but could severely irritate others.
In my practice, I use a scientifically-validated questionnaire to accurately determine each patient’s Baumann Skin Type. There are 16 possible Baumann Skin Types, which are assessed using skin characteristics such as skin oiliness, dryness, sensitivity, tendency for pigmentation and risk factors for wrinkles. These parameters are combined to present an accurate picture of the patient’s skin type and condition. You can learn more about how you can take advantage of this revolutionary and streamlined skin typing system in your own practice at www.stsfranchise.com.
3. Provide Exact Instructions for Skincare Products
Once you’ve successfully assessed your patient’s skin type and have chosen the most appropriate skincare products to treat their specific concerns, the next step is to provide thorough, detailed instructions for their use. Think of it like a visit to your primary care physician. You wouldn’t leave their office without having received written instructions for the medications that they’ve prescribed, so why should you send your dermatology patients off without the same specific directions? This can lead to improved compliance and outcomes simply by educating your patients to ensure that they fully understand what you’re recommending.
4. Schedule a One-Month Follow-Up Appointment
Emphasize the importance of maintaining scheduled follow-up meetings during a patient’s initial visit to help ensure compliance. Scheduling this appointment four weeks out is typically a good timeframe, as patients tend to lose interest around this mark. This will also give any prescribed treatments enough time to begin working, so your patients should begin to see results by the time they return for their follow-up visit.
Even better still, if you have an imaging system, baseline and follow-up photos can provide clear, definitive evidence of a patient’s progress to help keep them vigilant and excited about continued success.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of reasons why patients become noncompliant with their prescribed skincare regimens, but there are also plenty of ways that you can improve compliance and outcomes. Maintain an open line of communication, a positive rapport, and, most importantly, an education-based relationship with patients to help instill their trust in you and, ultimately, ensure they achieve their desired results.
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.