Should You Buy Acne Products from Your Dermatologist?

acne on the face Flickr

Getting started in a medical practice is an expensive proposition. Your dermatologist has to go through four years of college, four years of medical school, and a two- to four-year residency, all the time usually racking up tens or hundreds of thousands or dollars in student loans.

A full-care dermatologist will also have to buy lasers and diagnostic equipment of all kinds, and even set up an operating room, sometimes before seeing even one patient.

It is only natural for dermatologists to look for all the ways possible to earn money during the first 10 years of their careers. But does that mean that you should buy your skin care products from your dermatologist?

Typically, the skin care products a doctor sells are “private label.” This means that the doctor makes an arrangement with a cosmetics or nutritional supplements manufacturer to put the doctor’s label on a generic product.

Private label products are typically good quality, but in no way special. There is nothing in most private label products that cannot be found in products for sale for a lot less at a department store cosmetics counter, and sometimes the quality is not even as good.

The dermatologist’s sales pitch is usually subtle. You might be offered a gift bag when you schedule a follow-up appointment. You might be given discount coupons to see the doctor’s preferred makeover specialist, or given passes for a day spa with a trip to the aesthetician’s office.

There is nothing wrong about accepting products and services that are genuinely free–usually. It is often a good idea to beware products that list “exotic” ingredients. Exotic ingredients such as argan oil may trigger exotic allergies that cause persistent itching skin or perhaps even your first rosacea flare.

There is a lot that it wrong about your doctor writing the name of a cosmetic on a prescription form. That is a blatant ploy to get you to part with your hard-earned dollars for a private label brand. When your dermatologist “prescribes” cosmetics as doctor’s orders, it usually time to see another doctor.

Use caution in buying over-the-counter skin care products from your dermatologist unless the doctor’s products are nationally or internationally known. Dr. Murad’s and Dr. Perricone’s formulas are to be trusted, but never become a guinea pig for an untested line.

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About Donna May

Author Donna May is an at home skin care specialist who researches and writes about skin care products, does product reviews, and likes to discover new techniques for dealing with the many different kinds of skin issues that people develop over the course of their lives.