About 15% of Americans visit a dermatologist every year for a wide range of skin concerns. Going to a licensed professional seems like the best way to learn the nuances of your skin and to soak up the best information pertaining to skincare products, routines, treatments and more. However, did you know there might be some things your dermatologist isn’t telling you? And more importantly, what could you be missing out on when they omit this critical information?
Many of the information a dermatologist might be keeping to themselves is hidden behind the suggestions they are sharing with you. For example, among the many things you might hear a dermatologist stress during a routine visit is the benefit of a laser treatment. Laser treatments are heralded for their ability to resurface your skin and treat everything from redness to acne scars and hyperpigmentation. They have key attributes such as “wavelength, which is absorbed by select targets in the skin, and their pulse width, or the rate at which that beam of light is delivered," according to Robert Anolik, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU’s School of Medicine.
THE TRUTH ABOUT LASER
It’s true that laser treatments deliver results for consumers when administered correctly by a licensed dermatologist, but what your doctor isn’t telling you is that they aren’t always necessary. Lasers apply heat to the skin to breakdown the dark melanin on the skin surface, but they don’t stop the skin from making more of the melanin, so it’s a temporary fix to a problem that will eventually keep coming back. Not to mention laser treatments are expensive.
Many laser treatments can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars per session. Dermatologists across the country invest big dollars (we’re talking six figures here) into their laser equipment to provide these popular services. They can’t have their machines sitting around collecting dust–they have to make that money back and turn a profit. Hence, the rage about laser treatments. It’s a gigantic moneymaker that feeds itself because it produces immediate temporary visual results to earn the public’s trust, but does not cure the underlying conditions so over time, patients come back for more.
The truth is, many common concerns, such as hyperpigmentation, can be treated by topical creams with the right ingredients, such as the LeCerre Rapid Brightening Serum, a popular choice for those looking for non-toxic, clean skincare. If you’re wondering why your dermatologist hasn’t recommended this or another product for your specific needs? The truth is taking care of your skin requires long-term commitment to get lasting results - something your dermatologists understand that many don't have the patience. Quick fixes have earned dermatologists great reputation so they are encouraged and incentivized by patients' expectations for immediate results.
PRIVATE LABEL PRODUCTS
A recent New York Times article noted that “today's skin doctors, repackaged as beauty gurus, are marketing their own cosmetics, promising to reverse the effects of aging and – the latest trend – opening their own day spas.” This is the second thing your dermatologist isn’t telling you. If you’ve noticed shiny bottles lining the shelves in your dermatologist’s waiting room, complete with the practice’s name on it, you might be thinking they’ve used their expertise to formulate a product their clients need. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The special skin products you see at your doctor’s office are private label creams, serums and cleansers from a general manufacturer that simply carry their name. This is a standard marketing practice to reinforce their brand and generate retention with their customers. When you think about it, the average dermatologist doesn’t have the time to formulate a product, much less an entire line, nor the financial resources to build a skincare brand from the ground up. Instead, they order their desired products from a private label manufacturer. Many of the products you see are serving simply as a status symbol and income generator.
The truth is creating a new skin care product requires detailed knowledge of chemistry, financial resources and time. For example, we spoke with a LeCerre spokesperson and learned that it took them over two years to create and test its product – the innovative brightening serum. According to LeCerre’s spokeperson, “The Rapid Brightening Serum was formulated for sensitive pigmented skin tones with Fitzpatrick Skin type 3 and above. Nothing like this existed before so we developed the serum from the ground up to combine the proper concentration of active ingredients that have been clinically proven to diminish the appearance of dark spots like sun spots and age spots.”
The next time your visit your dermatologist, ask if they recommend a product for your concerns that doesn’t involve laser and that’s outside their own product line. If they are unable to steer you in a good direction or seem hesitant to share more skincare options, it’s likely that they’re staying mum on information that could have a huge effect on your skin’s health. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and read between lines to get the best out of your next visit and avoid the marketing traps at your local derm office.