'Patients are embarrassed discussing skincare conditions'
We talk to a skincare advisor and pharmacist on managing sensitive skin issues, building awareness about good skin health and the perfect skincare routine
This March sees La Roche-Posay mark Skin Health Month, which highlights the benefit of visiting your local pharmacy where you can learn how to manage sensitivities issues, gain advice on maintaining your skins health and find out how to build the perfect skincare routine
From March 1st to 31st, La Roche-Posay is marking Skin Health Month at supporting pharmacies across Ireland. Skin Health Month highlights the benefit of visiting your local pharmacy for advice on skin and skincare. If you have skin issues, questions, or want to switch up your skincare routine, you can avail of a free consultation with a trained skincare advisor in store. We talk with Oonagh O’ Hagan, pharmacist, owner and MD of Meagher’s Pharmacies and Rebecca McMahon, skincare advisor at McCabe’s Pharmacy in Swords about what Irish customers can expect during Skin Health Month and what skin issues and concerns they can help with.
Oonagh O’Hagan, pharmacist, owner and MD of Meagher’s Pharmacies
What is Skin Health Month?
Skin Health Month is a super initiative to build awareness and educate about the importance of good skin health and how your local pharmacist can help. Our team of pharmacists and the pharmacy team here in Meaghers are uniquely placed to advise and offer consultations to customers who may be in need of expert advice around treatment and prevention of skincare conditions. We can also help the customer tailor a skincare routine to suit them and work alongside any prescription preparations to improve efficacy of treatment – and it’s free of charge.
What are the common skin issues you see in the pharmacy?
Our pharmacists report that patients often present when they are experiencing a flare up of a specific condition, sometimes brought on by other medical conditions or medicines prescribed to treat those conditions. It is essential for us to give all our patients the correct advice about caring for their skin health when they first embark on specific medicine regimes.
For example, it can be common for patients using any immunosuppressive medication to experience heightened sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. These include transplant patients, patients with inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and many more. In these cases, all patients should be advised to use a broad-spectrum SPF every day and reapply throughout the day when necessary. It’s important for patients to understand how a daily skincare regime can help manage future flare-ups of any skin condition. We’re there to call upon at any stage through the journey.
Trends in skincare can often be influenced by trends in the media or on social media — how is this affecting skin conditions?
We have seen some viral skincare trends that could be more risky or harmful than they appear to certain skin types. A number of these trends involve quite active ingredients such as retinoids, vitamin A, alpha hydroxy acids and peel-off masks. While these ingredients certainly are suitable for some skin types or specific conditions, they can cause harm to others. Those who don’t suffer from sensitive skin normally can develop inflammation, an impaired skin barrier and sensitivity brought on by products. We’ve seen this first hand with chemical burns, red, inflamed, irritated skins - and even blistering.
We urge our patients who suffer from sensitivity or have a weakened skin barrier to be wary of products which use the word ‘natural’ – this does not always mean the product is free of potential allergens or irritants for a person with sensitive skin
Are we diagnosing ourselves online, and if so, what are the potential consequences of this?
It can be very overwhelming to sift through articles and advertisements to find relevant information, especially when the patient may be suffering from a complicated skin condition. There is also a lot of misinformation from sources who may not be qualified to offer advice. It’s always best to seek advice from a professional who can ask further questions around lifestyle, existing routines and medication.
When consulting with a patient who has reactive skin, we like to look at both the external and internal factors that may be contributing to flare-ups. Something we see quite often is customers suffering from sensitive or allergy-prone skin misdiagnosing themselves. They think it could be a seasonal or congestion issue, but often they’ve come in contact with an allergen causing a skin irritation.
Using products with minimalistic formulas, that have ingredients such as niacinamide or neurosensine, which have anti-inflammatory properties, can help aid and soothe the skin. Skin can take up to a month to repair, so using a skincare product that not only soothes the skin, but has a repairing action is recommended.
Is ‘natural’ skincare better for sensitive skin?
We urge our patients who suffer from sensitivity or have a weakened skin barrier to be wary of products which use the word ‘natural’ – this does not always mean the product is free of potential allergens or irritants for a person with sensitive skin. So always check with your pharmacist if unsure.
What can your local pharmacist do to help someone with reactive skin, or someone managing a skin condition?
As a healthcare professional, your local pharmacist is equipped to consider the patient’s overall health and wellbeing. A lot of patients feel embarrassed or self-conscious about discussing many conditions that may affect their confidence and self-esteem; it’s essential that every patient is treated with empathy and understanding, that they are given the best advice tailored to them to help them live with a skincare condition that may be affecting their lives.
Rebecca McMahon, skincare advisor at McCabe’s Pharmacy in Swords
Why should I have a skin consultation?
If something is bothering you with your skin, or you want to try a new product but you feel uncertain, that’s what we’re here for. With the pharmacist on hand, we can offer that extra level of advice. You can just drop in – no appointment needed – and if you’d prefer to have the consultation in a private space, we can do that too.”
What happens during the consultation and how long does it take?
“We have skin consultation sheets in store to help you to identify your skin type, as well as your skin’s concerns or issues. These could be anything from being sensitive or allergy-prone to breakouts or uneven skin tone. We’ll talk through the options and recommend products to help. These can be products to tackle a flare up of an existing skin condition like eczema, or maintenance products to help to prevent future flare ups. The consultation can take anything from five to twenty minutes – I’ll give each customer the time that they need to feel they have the right advice to manage their skin issues with confidence.”
Why is having a skin consultation important?
“There is so much information available on skin, and so many products on the market that people can feel confused and overwhelmed by it all. We focus on practical, targeted information and a basic skincare routine that will work for a person’s particular skin type and issues. Irish people can also tend to have an ‘it’ll be grand’ attitude, but why go through your day feeling uncomfortable or worrying about a skin issue when you don’t have to? We’re here to help.”
What are the most common skin issues you encounter in store?
“We see everyone from babies to adults to the elderly, and every kind of skin concern. Acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis are common. Of course so is general sensitivity – I don’t think Irish people are aware that so many of us struggle with it. Allergy-prone and reactive skin are common too.”
Do I have to have a skin condition to come in for a consultation?
No, anyone and everyone can have a skin consultation. Some customers will have been managing a skin condition for a long time and need recommendations for new products that can help keep their skin comfortable. Others come in with a reaction or a general skin issue. Some people just want some advice when they need a new moisturiser, or a whole skincare routine. We welcome everyone.
For more information visit www.laroche-posay.ie/skin-health-month
Celebrate with a free gift when you purchase two La Roche-Posay products, one to be a facial moisturizer. Gift consists of a free Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover 50ML, Micellar Water 100ML and Toleraine Dermo Cleanser 50ML. Offer available at participating ROI pharmacies stocking La Roche-Posay only. Valid from 24/02/20 – 30/04/20.
Subject to availability whilst stock lasts. One gift per qualifying purchase.