3 Acne Counseling Points for Retail Clinicians

May 30th 2016

Patients desperate to get rid of their acne should keep these facts in mind.

Patients desperate to get rid of their acne should keep these facts in mind.

Acne vulgaris is themost commonskin condition and generally a mild, self-limited skin disease. Because acne doesn’t necessitate a trip to the dermatologist in most cases, so retail clinics can offer a cheaper, more convenient option for patients seeking relief.

“The majority of folks [that have acne], the first thing they do is go to their drugstore and stand there in the aisle and look at the wide array of [OTC] products,” Angela Patterson, MSN, FCP-C, NEA-BC, chief nurse practitioner officer for CVS MinuteClinic, toldContemporary Clinic. “In looking at those products, there’s a lot of questions not only about the products, but also about the condition itself.”

Retail clinicians are naturally positioned to help guide patients through acne treatment and skin management. Here are a few acne counseling points clinicians can offer:

1. Patients need to stop popping and picking their pimples.

Although pimple popping and picking might seem like a quick fix for a nasty whitehead, it’s crucial for retail clinicians to counsel patients about the negative consequences.

A pimple is essentially a pustule of oil, debris, and acne bacteria. When left alone, those contents are contained during the healing process. When punctured, however, the pimple’s contents, as well as new bacteria from the finger used to pop, land inside other pores and lay the foundation for a new pimple.

Picking and popping can also lead to permanent scarring.

2. Not all OTC acne products are created equal.

Whether acne is mild, moderate, or severe, topical OTC medications can help control symptoms, and there isa myriadof creams, washes, soaps, scrubs and cleanses available.

Nevertheless, patients should know that these products have different functions. Some products are better placed to treat whiteheads, while others are better suited for blackheads.

Clinicians can encourage patients to try a few different products at first. When they find one that works, clinicians can counsel them about the importance of adhering to a daily skincare regimen for best results.

3. Addressing acne is a team effort.

“A tremendous number of patients with acne do not seek care because they’re discouraged with solutions they’ve tried before,” Patterson explained toContemporary Clinic. “Retail clinicians have a great opportunity to engage patients.”

Patterson advised clinicians to:

· Provide education to patients about how acne is a “common, but chronic problem.”

· Form a partnership and assure the patient that there’s a large range of therapeutic agents to use, and then help them select what’s optimal.

· Set and manage clear expectations with the patient, including, “This is where we’ll start, this is what we may see, this is how long it may take to see improvement, [and] this is when we’re going to follow up,” she said.

Staying connected with patients throughout their treatment may help prevent them from getting discouraged.

Related Content