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What color is your molecule?

Article-What color is your molecule?

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What color is your molecule?

Lisette Hilton
Senior Staff Correspondent

To be successful, physicians who decide to expand and include skin care products in their practices need to be committed to offering these products and intimately involved with managing the practice’s skin care program, according to Isaac Starker, M.D., plastic surgeon, Florham Park, NJ.

Dr. Starker, who markets the Biomedic and Obagi skin care lines, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times that he has carefully and strategically woven skin care into his surgical practice.

“For some patients, the products are the prime method [of caring for their skin]; for others who are having surgery, they're an adjunct; and for some patients, we use them in preparation for surgery and sometimes for [post-surgical management],” he explains.

For Dr. Starker, the selection process was well designed and thoughtfully carried out, from initial research and attending meetings, to carefully assessing the lines and companies behind them and testing the products.

Hire Right
In the view of Kathy Jones, R.N., B.S.N., C.P.S.N., of Kathy Jones Skin Care, surgeons need to be in the operating room and not consulting with patients about their skin care; Ms. Jones, who is the new president of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists (SPSSCS), works in the offices of Jean Loftus, M.D., plastic surgeon, Cincinnati, Ohio.

"My yardstick for measuring is, does it smell okay; does it feel okay; does it work? Do my patients come back and buy it the second time?"

Kathy Jones, R.N., B.S.N., C.P.S.N.
Cincinnati, Ohio

“It's a daunting task to bring in a skin care system alone; meaning, I think physicians need to have a support staff  —  whether that is a nurse or an esthetician,” Ms. Jones says.

By the same token, she maintains that physicians need to know about what the practice offers so they can make product recommendations and funnel patients to their skin care staff.

Ms. Jones recommends that cosmetic surgeons carry three types of products:

  1. Pharmaceutical, which require a prescription
  2. Cosmeceutical, which encompasses skin care products that are stronger than what most patients can obtain in department stores
  3. Mainstream, or nonaggressive, over-the-counter products 

That does not mean carrying lots of product lines, she says; rather, cosmetic surgeons should limit their inventory to just a few product lines.

“If you have too many product lines in your office, it's confusing to the technicians and patients. You cannot know it all,” Ms. Jones advises.

Do Your Homework
Companies that launch products first conduct market research to better understand the consumers that will purchase their products. Cosmetic surgeons should do the same, according to Marc Cornell, director of new technology, L’Oreal USA, Clark, NJ.

The patient consultation (with the practice surgeon or esthetician) is the perfect opportunity to delve into what that person’s skin care product needs might be, Mr. Cornell says.

Ms. Jones adds that cosmetic surgeons and their skin care staff should also consider attending professional meetings to search for the right products. A good first step is to join two groups that can help keep physicians and their staffs up to date on industry meetings and more: the SPSSCS and the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses (ASPSN).

Finding Synergy
Dr. Starker looked for skin care companies that reflected his practice philosophy: a results-oriented company, with patient care at the core.

Mr. Cornell counsels that cosmetic surgeons should choose product lines that complement what they do. For example, a practice focusing on light-based procedures might partner with a device manufacturer to market products that help patients before, during and after these specific procedures.

In assessing a firm for potential partnership, Ms. Jones recommends that surgeons look closely at how the companies they work with will treat patients. A key question: What is the company’s return policy if patients do not like or cannot use products?

“You want to make sure that the product line that you buy will honor patient returns; otherwise you could be stuck,” she says.

Testing 1, 2, 3
Before becoming associated with the brands he chose, Dr. Starker tried the products. So did his family.

That is common — and good — practice, experts say.  

“I have been in clinics where the physician is absolutely the first person [trying] these products,” Mr. Cornell says. “This is all done based on science, expertise and product experience.“ Ms. Jones will get a dozen samples of a product and test it on a dozen patients. 

“My yardstick for measuring is, Does it smell okay; does it feel okay; does it work? Do my patients come back and buy it the second time?” Ms. Jones says.

Bottom Line
Safety and efficacy are the linchpins of successful practice skin care programs, according to Mr. Cornell.

“You want to make sure that anything that goes on your patients has a minimum of side effects. First thing out of the gate: make sure the product is safe,” Mr. Cornell says. “The next thing is efficacy…with a well-controlled placebo clinical [study].” CST

For more information
Isaac Starker, M.D.

Marc Cornell
[email protected]

Kathy Jones
[email protected]

Society of Plastic Surgery Skin Care Specialists (SPSSCS)

American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses (ASPSN)

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