In order to help pharmacists feel confident discussing skin conditions such as scars and stretch marks with their patients, Bio-Oil has created a suite of new educational materials including a series of training videos and an A-Z Scar Guide.
The materials are intended to help healthcare professionals develop their knowledge around the management of scars and stretch marks and equip them with the skills to help patients confidently manage their skin conditions.
Created in collaboration with clinical experts, the materials can be viewed and downloaded here.
The move follows new research conducted on behalf of Bio-Oil among pharmacists which highlighted a gap in knowledge, with 1 in 5 (17%) admitting that they lacked the knowledge and expertise to offer advice on scars and stretch marks.
Despite the fact that nearly all of those surveyed (88%) are regularly asked about reducing the appearance of scars or stretch marks, more than half (58%) said they do not actively approach patients to offer advice without being approached first.
As well as lacking the knowledge to offer advice, half (51.7%) said they worry they are being intrusive and one in 10 (10.3%) said they don’t know how to approach people when it comes to discussing scars and stretch marks.
The eruption of social and mass media over the last few years could be to blame for painting an unrealistic picture of body image, according to the new research. Nine out of 10 pharmacists surveyed believe that their patients have an unrealistic expectation of how their skin should look and it appears that the modern day emphasis on appearance and perfection could be to blame.
Half of those surveyed (50.5%) blame the current trend for filtering photos shared on social media as one of the main reasons that patients have unrealistic expectations of their skin. Almost half (48.4%) also agreed that patients are too used to seeing flawless skin represented in the media and two fifths (39.6%) believe that the increased emphasis on appearance in modern day culture is having a detrimental effect on skin expectations.
Industry-leading pharmacist Deborah Evans commented: “We are increasingly seeing more and more patients coming into pharmacy as the first port-of-call for advice on skin conditions including scars and stretch marks and it is therefore crucial that we are prepared and confident to offer advice in this area.
"It is a concern that the research indicates that some pharmacists feel they lack the knowledge and confidence to approach patients and offer advice. However, opening up a conversation about skin health can take place at the end of a consultation or by asking people what concerns they may have about their skin, so it doesn’t need to be daunting. With our current culture negatively impacting patient’s views of what real skin looks like, our role in educating and supporting people about scars and stretch marks is becoming more important than ever.”
You can download the materials here.