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Live Blog: Patient Perspectives on Acne and Dermatology Providers

In this live blog from the 12th Annual SDPA conference in Indianapolis, Dr. Hilary Baldwin spoke about a large survey that was conducted by Allergan and aimed to better understand the impact that acne has on patient’s lives and to find out what they want from their dermatology provider. Here are some of the highlights. 

Hilary Baldwin, MD, highlighted an acne patient satisfaction survey put on by Allergen. The large anonymous online survey was completed by 4 acne groups: adult females, teen females, teen males, and the parents of patients ages 12-15. 

What group is the most troubled?
Members of all 4 groups were impacted by acne. Adult females tended to be more vocal whereas teens keep their head down. Dr. Baldwin explained that teenage boys are embarrassed to admit that acne bothers them, especially if a parent or sibling is in the room. 

How do they cope with their acne?
Most of them pop/squeeze, or follow a strict facial cleaning regimen (neither of which are helpful).

85% of people said that they had used 2 or more over the counter products before coming into the office.  28% had used more than 4 products.  It’s important to note how much money is being spent on products that are not working.

What motivated patients to come to a dermatologist?
Patients choose to see specialists because they want to see someone who knows about skin and knows about a plethora of products.  When they come to a dermatologist, they want their skin to be examined.  While most practitioners can formulate a treatment plan without a full examination, many patients feel cared for when a practitioner turns on the light and looks closely at their skin.

78% of patients feel that it is important to know what causes my acne and hope that their provider shares this information.

How long would it take for you to discontinue your therapy if you didn’t think you were getting better?
Most patients said 1 month.  “No acne patient should walk out the door thinking they’ll be better in 2 weeks,” noted Dr. Baldwin.  “One month is not a bad time to bring them back to make sure that they’re doing what you’ve recommended,” she continued.  “They’ll be compliant the first 2 weeks, forget by week 3, and then start again when they remember they’re seeing you next week.  3 out of 4 weeks isn’t bad.

How much involvement would you like to have in the treatment decision?
Of the female responders, 76% of teen females wanted involvement and 67% of adult females want to be involved.  Many older women want their opinion to be heard, but trust the practitioner to make the better decision.

Would you be more likely to stick with your prescription if she involved you in making the decision?
All groups said yes.

In summary, Dr. Baldwin highlighted the main takeaways from the survey:

  • Most acne patients are troubled by their acne, regardless of age or gender.
  • Patients visit the dermatologist for expertise and a desire to have dialogue.
  • Patients want to play a role in the treatment plan, and are more likely to comply as a result.


Image: jeffrey james pacres

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