By Dr. Hans Lautenschläger
The combination of cosmetic and dermatology offers a variety of opportunities/benefits for clients, patients and institutes/consulting rooms. The cosmetic dermatology or the dermatological cosmetic complements the fields of orthodox medicine and traditional cosmetic and extends their activity field.
Beauty institutes generally offer services even when they sell their products. Part of the selling is a comprehensive consultation which is completely different from other shopping locations. If the beauty institute will be successful, it has to stand out with special services. Accordingly, it is important for the business success to constantly optimize its services.
An important base for the pricing of services is individuality.
The following comparison will illustrate this statement: Public transport with its preset schedule is inexpensive; taking a taxi is more expensive. Public transport involves mass processing and is most profitable when the trains are completely full. Taking a taxi is worth while the effort when a trip with public transport would be tedious and lengthy.
If it is possible to reach one’s destination fast and without troubles by using public transport, it probably will be preferred. For complicated trips the individual taxi will be chosen even if it is definitely more expensive. If it is a question of saving time or troubles the taxi drive will be worth its price.
The same applies to the beauty institute. Expensive and beneficial services are worth their price above all when they are connected with a high level of competence. An integral service supply covering all the clients’ needs is important.
Several professional groups work in the field of skin treatment
Apart from non-medical practioners and hairdressers, there are two major professional groups working in the field of “skin” even in a similar way: dermatologists and pharmacists. While cosmeticians – according to the law – only may be responsible for the skin care and prevention of skin problems, the activity of the dermatologist focuses on the treatment of skin diseases and skin disorders.
The sale of dermatics on prescription has always been the main business activity of pharmacists while the cosmetic is an additional and lucrative extra income. Every one of the three professional groups is characterized by a high level of competence and a considerable share of consulting services. Consequently, the consumer today has difficulties to decide which kind of services he should choose. One thing is for certain: he would like to preserve the skin in a healthy condition, keep a radiant look and possibly have his problems solved by one person only. And he is prepared to pay an appropriate price for it.
No longer clear dividing lines
Cosmeticians, dermatologists and pharmacists with foresight already have realized the customer needs and now try to appropriately expand their activity fields. Thus, more and more cosmeticians seek information on dermatology, dermatologists deal with cosmetics and pharmacists improve their sales competence in dermatics and cosmetic.
Dermopharmacy, cosmetic medicine, cosmeceuticals are the keywords today which refer to the fact that there is no longer a clear dividing line between skin care, prevention and treatment. Furthermore a lot of substances are used as cosmetically and dermatologically active agents. Just to mention two examples: urea is an ingredient in combinations for dry, stressed skin (cosmetic) and in creams for the treatment of neurodermatitis (dermatology). D-panthenol supports the regeneration of the skin (cosmetic) and accelerates the healing (dermatology).
It is obvious that legislation with its decrees and laws sets limits to the activity fields of the different professional groups, nevertheless there is an overlapping between skin care, prevention and healing. Looking back, it can be realized that the scope altogether has expanded.
There is no need for imagination to predict that prevention will be one of the major activity fields in the future. An appropriate cosmetic product supports the prevention and the healing will become unnecessary as there will be no outbreak of neurodermatitis.
Exactly this is the focal point for consumers. Hence, also the dermatologists, “only” aimed at the treatment of acute skin disorders according to the orthodox medical principles, will think about establishing ties to their “clients” to return to their practices by offering preventive cosmetic products. The same applies for pharmacists if they think of making preventive cosmetic to one of their main sales areas.
Cooperating for optimal customer benefit
As a consequence, an increased competitive mentality is to be realized among the different professional groups however, on the other hand there is also a growing understanding and sensibility to notice, which leads to a cooperation in various ways. Dermatologists, pharmacists and cosmeticians perfectly complement one another to an optimal customer benefit due to their medical (pharmaceutical) and cosmetic competence. Prerequisite for the different groups however is a good education and a continuous vocational training. The clients will receive consultation, skin care and treatment in a perfectly coordinated system.
In future, there will especially be a demand for cosmeticians with a solid basic training. Newcomers from related professions like medical, biological and chemical laboratory assistants with an additional degree in cosmetics will have good opportunities.
An important component of cooperation is the coordination of products for the treatment, skin care and prevention as well as an appropriate consultation. Hence, with modern base creams which are available for the pharmacist as well as for beauty institutes it is possible to prepare prescription drugs by adding dermatological agents as well as similarly combined cosmetic products for the beauty institute. The products meet all requirements for modern preparations for problem skin e.g. they are free of emulsifiers, mineral oil components and perfumes. There are even emulsifier free products which are perfectly suitable for the treatment of barrier disorders like neurodermatitis or for the care of acne skin.
Experience also shows that even the best cream base may not be tolerated by every individual. Therefore it is important that the product selected will remain the same for skin care, prevention and treatment. As the number of skin allergies is constantly increasing this would be a major support for the recovery of allergics.
Besides the exclusively preparative treatments in a joint practice the decorative cosmetic is an important link.
An example is the camouflage for visible skin modifications, naevus, vitiligo, scars, senile speckles, couperosis and spider veins.
A joint practice can offer additional services: laser therapy against wrinkles, electroepilation, treatment of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and cream massages. In case that the cosmetic institute and the dermatologist’s practice are in the same building and that the cosmetic institute carries out services recommended by the dermatologist there is also the possibility of charging the health insurance for the services.
An interesting possibility for the acquisition also is the skin diagnosis (with measuring instruments) with the resulting recommendations for dermatological and cosmetic treatment.
Publicity and its norms
In the public presentation of cooperation between beauty institute and dermatologist’s practice it has to be considered that in contrast to the cooperating beauty institute or corresponding partners of the private limited liability, any kind of publicity for the dermatologist is prohibited by law. Therefore it is important that the publicity is limited to the cosmetic services. However, the close neighbourhood involves considerable synergy effects. Products can only be sold in the beauty institute.
To summarize, the combination of cosmetic and dermatology offers considerable opportunities for the benefit of clients and patients as well as practices. In the meantime, already joint conferences of dermatologists and cosmeticians are hold as e.g. the annual ADK event in Munich with the joint trade fair. A basic precondition for the common success of cooperation is an equal partnership.
Cooperation of the above mentioned groups stand out from the traditional beauty institutes and dermatologist’s practices and already today yield considerable profits. All in all, it can be expected that this recipe for success will gain acceptance in the future as especially dermatological practices and pharmacies came quite a bit under pressure due to the health service reform and now are obliged to find alternative ways for their economic survival.