Another One Bites the Dust: Why Department Store Skin Care Cannot Compete with Clinical Products

Written by Terri Vinson, founder of Synergie Skin

Consumers are constantly bombarded by global corporate brands with marketing claims and media hype that promise much and deliver very little. Skin care professionals are highly skilled at skin analysis and the recommendation of clinical-grade products that contain active ingredients that actually make a difference.

Clinical Versus Department Store Products
While the condition of the skin is due to numerous factors, including genetics, environmental stress, nutrition, health status, topical skin care, and clinical treatments, a clinical skin care regimen is an integral part of the equation. Mass-marketing department store brands are generally unable to offer the high-grade products that skin care professionals can offer for many of the following reasons.

Packaging versus product. High-street brands often spend more money on marketing and packaging than on the formulation inside the bottle. Cost and economics is the driving factor for this sector and the level of active ingredients these products contain may be insufficient to give results.

Skilled skin care professionals. Skin care professionals are trained in educating clients on managing their skin concerns. Sales assistants in multibrand, mass-purchase department stores are not skilled professionals; they often lack detailed knowledge of the skin and are unable to address individual skin concerns. Clinical-grade skin care companies pride themselves on supporting their spas; their professionals have a high level of training regarding key ingredients and the benefits of clinical skin care.

Dosage of active ingredients. Suppliers often present raw ingredients on a regular basis, many of which are novel and new. However, formulators supplying spas must first evaluate the ingredient in terms of its efficacy and safety profile. This evaluation involves a thorough analysis of both in vivo and in vitro clinical data. Furthermore, the formulating chemist must use the optimal dosage of the active ingredient to ensure efficacy. Many over-the-counter brands add a very small amount of active ingredients simply to make marketing claims.

Synergy and stability of combined ingredients. Cosmetic scientists must also understand the interactions of ingredients within the final formula. Formulating is not simply a matter of adding a number of ingredients and mixing them up together. Ingredients must be compatible and work together in synergy. For example, retinol and niacinamide should not be formulated in an acidic environment. Adding acids such as alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, or L-ascorbic acid to formulas with these ingredients result in the retinol being rendered ineffective and the niacinamide being hydrolyzed.

Ability to adapt. Many less expensive, non-clinical brands are unable to rapidly react to market needs. Large corporations must create marketing campaigns well in advance and a need to adapt to new technology, which may take years. Professional skin care companies can more readily react to dynamic changes in the appearance
medicine industry.

Setting Brands
When selecting a skin care brand that will give clients the best possible outcome, consider the following: Does the line cater to most individual skin concerns, such as aging, blemishes, uneven skin tone, or sensitivity? Does it offer key active ingredients, such as stable, active forms of vitamin A, vitamin B3, and vitamin C, as well as a broad spectrum ultraviolet protection? Does the manufacturer have a core brand philosophy that resonates with clients? Does the line offer optimal levels of clinical products supported by readily available clinical data? Does the manufacturer offer guidance and information on their products by qualified skin care professionals? Are they able to readily adapt formulations to the dynamic skin care industry? Are they readily available for interaction via e-mail, social media, or telephone if any queries arise?

The Final Factor
There is one final and fundamental factor in selecting good skin care: trust. If the client trusts the advice of their skin care professional and the ethos and quality of the brand they have chosen, they will feel that their decision is valid and positively embrace their new skin care routine. Professionals should not only advise clients about the ideal products, but also give them advice on lifestyle, nutrition, and professional treatments to address their skin care concerns. When a clinical homecare regimen is adopted in a positive way, the best results from that line can be achieved.

Professional-grade skin care clearly stands apart from the white noise of department store brands. If the client is prepared to take the time to research the best skin care brands and the right skin care professional, then great results are possible.

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