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Giving skincare a makeover

Complete emollient therapy (CET) should be the mainstay of dry skin and eczema management

Sales are declining in some parts of the dermatologicals market. We share some ideas to give this category a boost

According to a Euromonitor report on the UK dermatologicals market published in November 2015, many product areas are stagnating, with medicated shampoos, topical antifungals, vaginal antifungals, antipruritics and topical germicidals/antiseptics experiencing only around 1 per cent value growth over the previous year. Some product areas, particularly cold sore treatments, had declining sales. And medicated shampoos were expected to see retail volume decline by 8 per cent due to strong competition from anti-dandruff shampoos.

But Cathy Crossthwaite, Numark’s marketing coordinator, doesn’t believe the market within pharmacy is stagnant, and says that the introduction of dermo-cosmetic skincare brands is moving it into new territory. “The introduction of brands such as Avene and Eucerin means new possibilities for the category,” she says. “These are skin specialist brands that are offering customers fresh opportunities to help with a multitude of skin types.”

But price may be an issue, particularly for independents, says Ms Crossthwaite. A dedicated area and advice to match would be required to encourage customers to pay the higher price.

When it comes to merchandising, E45 should be the ‘beacon brand’ (the one that customers use to identify the section, whether or not they go on to purchase this brand) for the skincare category. It is synonymous with the pharmacy market and should be positioned at eye level and blocked by brand. Use E45 as the entry point to the dry skin category, but pharmacies should also stock Oilatum, Eurax, Diprobase and Aveeno.

Driving regime

So how can pharmacists give their medicated skincare category a boost? According to Ms Crossthwaite, pharmacists should incorporate a clear regime into the fixture. “Stock more than just the basic creams,” she says. “Look at stocking emollients and bath/shower creams, lotions and creams from the leading brands such as Oilatum and E45. Skincare is all about driving regime at the moment and there’s no reason why this shouldn’t also be the case with medicated skin.” Pharmacies should concentrate on areas such as dry and medicated skincare, as they play to their strengths, allowing staff to provide more clinical advice such as treatment options and long-term management.

Complete emollient therapy (CET) should be the mainstay of dry skin and eczema management. This involves using emollients several times a day, in the form of creams, lotions, ointments, bath/shower products, etc. Yet a study for Cetraben linked to National Eczema Week last year revealed that only half of primary care practitioners are aware of its importance.

Fewer than 38 per cent of GPs and practice nurses advised their patients how to apply emollients, and a quarter failed to provide instructions on the frequency of application. With around 30 per cent of community nurses and 18 per cent of GPs discussing emollient preferences at every consultation, this suggests that community pharmacies could play a more prominent role in the management of dry skin conditions.

Acne is another key area in which customers are likely to use a selection of products – from facewashes to creams and even antibacterial shower gels. Quinoderm recently announced the launch of its new formulation Antibacterial Facewash, which contains salicylic acid. It has been formulated to avoid excess lather, enabling the skin to have close contact with the antibacterial and cleansing agents that remove dirt, grease and impurities. The packaging now includes a shower proof label, based on feedback about how the product is used.

A sensitive issue

One in five children and one in 12 adults in the UK have eczema, and living with it can be a challenge, both physically and emotionally. A new survey by QV Skincare looked at people’s personal experience of eczema. It revealed that 87 per cent feel insecure about their appearance, and 72 per cent find the way other people react to their skin upsetting. Cruel looks, stares, unkind comments, taunting and bullying can be part of daily life.

Embarrassed by their skin’s appearance, 76 per cent said that they purposely wear clothes to cover up their eczema. For 82 per cent, the condition has a negative effect on their quality of life, with respondents listing mood, confidence, personal relationships and social life as the main areas affected. Many also have difficulties in school and work.

“Eczema is a major problem in the UK for adults and children,” says Dr Kerryn Greive, scientific affairs manager for QV Skincare. “Some will grow out of it, some will be able to keep it under control with a strict skincare regime, but for others it’s just something they have to learn to live with. The survey highlights a lack of understanding and awareness of the condition. Eczema is not contagious and you can’t catch it from someone else. Most people won’t be aware that their actions are rude or hurtful, but they are nevertheless upsetting for those on the receiving end.”

Emotional stress can make eczema worse, and it’s not unusual for people to experience depression and anxiety. Convenience stores or supermarkets rarely offer clinical or product advice, and it’s important that pharmacies recognise that this is where they can offer a point of difference and help increase customer loyalty.

In the QV survey, over 45 per cent of respondents said they had no one to talk to about their condition. “I would hope that the more openly we talk, the more understanding we will see,” says Dr Grieve. “I would also urge anyone suffering in silence to get in touch with a support service, such as the helpline offered by the National Eczema Society.”

Incontinence issues

According to a survey by 3M, manufacturer of Cavilon Barrier Cream, 3.2 million people over the age of 65 in the UK suffer from incontinence. The survey, in association with the Cystitis and Overactive Bladder (COB) Foundation, revealed that incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD) significantly affects people’s confidence levels, with more than a third saying it stops them from participating in activities they would otherwise have done. While 45 per cent of people are using creams to treat the symptoms of IAD, they may be using all-purpose moisturisers, which don’t provide the protection they need.

Cavilon Barrier Cream is now available to self-purchase online from 3M’s website, after research showed that consumers wanted to be able to buy the product themselves. “Our recent research indicates that more than a million people may be suffering in silence, when they could be enjoying everyday activities, all because of a common condition which is easily preventable,” explains Victoria Murray, 3M clinical manager. “With Cavilon Barrier Cream now available to buy online and without prescription, it’s easy for incontinence sufferers to adopt a preventative regime, enabling them to still do the things they enjoy doing, without the pain and discomfort of sore or broken skin.”

The cold sores product area is in decline, as consumers are adopting healthier lifestyles and seeking to improve their overall health rather than simply opting for symptomatic relief, according to Euromonitor. But the SoreFix brand manager says surveys suggest that 79 per cent of sufferers are still looking for an alternative innovative solution due to lack of efficiency and side effects from current products.

New SoreFix lip balm for cold sores contains zinc salts, which are highly recommended by pharmacists elsewhere in Europe. “The presence of zinc helps protect healthy cells from being infected, and so can work effectively as a cold sore preventive,” says the SoreFix brand manager. “Zinc can also protect the remaining healthy cells, reducing the further development of a cold sore. Zinc salts works at all four symptomatic stages of a cold sore (tingling, itching, blistering and burning).”


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