During the past two decades, cosmeceuticals and the nonprescription skincare business have grown rapidly, with a growth rate of 5.25% in 2019 and sales reaching billions of dollars annually. Skincare is the largest category of the global cosmetic industry and accounted for approximately 36 percent of the global market in 2016. The beauty counters of department stores and pharmacies regularly undergo expansions and remodeling to accommodate the ever-growing number of available products.
As a board-certified dermatologist who treats and addresses a variety of skincare concerns, offering cosmeceutical products has added a unique dimension to the business side of the practice as well as to the provision of patient care. It has been a way to grow the practice and also to elevate the care for patients who do not necessarily require medical-grade prescription products.
With the rise in popularity of skincare products, access to purchasing these products is virtually limitless. They have been available over the counter (OTC) for many years, and online purchasing has surged in the last several decades. While there are excellent OTC products for general skincare, some may not be well-regulated or may lack sufficient potency in their active ingredients to produce satisfactory results. Those who shop for more specialized products online can run the risk of receiving a counterfeit, expired product, or even a toxic product that causes serious health problems.
Cosmeceuticals are a unique crop of products that sit comfortably between OTC and medical grade options and are usually available for purchase through a medical practice. They are typically higher in potency than OTC products but are not as potent as medical-grade prescriptions. While cosmeceuticals may seem pricier up front, they can be more cost-effective for patients in the long run. Buying cosmeceuticals avoids money and time spent on ineffective OTC products, and can possibly prevent the need for medical-grade products that may cause irritation and side effects. If the use of cosmeceuticals provides satisfactory results, the patient could avoid spending on invasive procedures.
Consultation with a trained and licensed dermatologist is advised when considering a regimen to address specific skin concerns. Dermatologists are knowledgeable about recommending the most effective products. The addition of cosmeceutical grade products, like iS CLINICAL, has allowed our practice to offer products in-house that contain trusted ingredients from a trusted source, providing a convenient “one-stop-shop” service to our patients. It has heightened the provider-patient relationship and can open the dialogue for patient education. The purpose of each product and its active ingredients are explained.
Patient education also includes how, when, and in what order to use the products. Follow-up visits are then scheduled to assess progress and to adjust as needed, contributing to the continuity of care. Patients leave the office satisfied and with a regimen tailored to their specific needs and concerns. Throughout the years, it has been rewarding to see how the decision to offer cosmeceuticals has positively impacted the practice and our patients.