There has been relatively little clinically relevant innovation seen in physician-dispensed cosmetic topical products, resulting in an overall sense of complacency amongst practitioners and patients alike. The industry has seen very few new ingredients. In addition, the safety and cosmetic efficacy of new ingredients as well as their formulations are rarely demonstrated in robust clinical trials nor are these trials typically published, especially in peer-reviewed journals.Despite a number of old ingredients recast as “ingredients du jour,” there haven’t been any breakthrough ingredient delivery systems beyond conventional liposomes which might benefit these compounds. Penetration of most ingredients through the stratum corneum is uncertain.
Other technologies engage patients in order to help support compliance. For example, an eye cream with immediate visible lifting and firming effect (Pro+Therapy MD® Ultimate Lift + Correcting Eye Cream) encourage a patient’s daily use – which may lead to additional benefits long-term. The development of the first skin polishing exfoliator (Pro+Therapy MD® Gentle Skin Polishing Exfoliator) which turns “off” after 3 to 5 minutes, provides a satisfying experience while helping to minimize the risk of trauma to the stratum corneum by exuberant users who want to “scrub wrinkles away.”
Market experience has supported the theory that immediate, mid-term and long-term benefits can affect compliance and help optimize cosmetic outcome. Furthermore, cosmetic topical products that are available exclusively through a physician help reinforce patient loyalty. The lack of physician exclusivity regarding dispensed cosmetic topical products has diminished their strategic and clinical value.
With products widely available in non-medical spas and on the internet at heavily discounted prices, fewer patients will re-purchase what are essentially perceived as commodities.Patients who make the effort to see physicians and aestheticians expect exclusive products and an elevated level of service, counseling and care.