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So Many Moisturizers So Little Time! Translating Labels to Recommend Products to Patients

When faced with the array of choices at the pharmacy, patients may turn to their dermatology provider to help them pick the best moisturizer. But, with so many choices, how can providers choose what to recommend?

A recent study looked at factors such as price, presence of allergens and fragrance, and product claims (e.g. Dermatologist Recommended) to gain a better understanding of consumer preferences which could inform and align dermatologists’ recommendations to patients. The study looked at the 174 best-selling moisturizers from a list of 300 gained from three major online retailers (Amazon, Walmart, and Target). The researchers then analyzed the median price, consumer ratings, number of consumer reviews, available ingredient list, vehicle type, and manufacturer.

The results showed that price point varied widely, the most expensive moisturizer was 9400% higher in price per ounce than the least expensive moisturizer. This difference is significant especially when considering the needs of patients with skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. In addition, more than 85% of the products contained ingredients that are potentially irritating to the skin, especially fragrance and parabens. The majority of products had additional marketing claims beyond skin mositurization, such as “dermatologist recommended,” “fragrance free,” and “noncomedogenic,” sometimes contradicting the label ingredients. For example, more than half the products labeled as “fragrance free” contained masking agents that are fragrance allergens, cross-reactors, or botanicals with allergenic potential.

The authors conclude that due to the high variability in cost and ingredients, dermatologists may have to do some legwork for patients and provide guidance in the form of specific product and manufacturer recommendations to point patients toward the most appropriate moisturizer.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: September 20, 2017

Source: JAMA Network
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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