Beauty Industry Collaboration With Med Students Offers Consumer, Patient Benefits

When the benefits are educational and might lead to better patient outcomes, a partnership between medical students and the skincare industry should be strongly considered.

A supplemental core teaching relationship between the skincare industry and medical school students may create greater access to potential patient treatments and reduce the possibility of less qualified people making recommendations and offering consultations that may harm patients, according to a letter to the editor published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

The global beauty industry marketplace — skincare and personal care products, color cosmetics, fragrance, and cosmeceuticals — valued around half a trillion dollars, plays an integral role in the overall health and wellbeing of consumers. This is a role that may be ignored by some medical professionals, letter authors suggested.

The Sydney University Dermatology Society has collaborated with Dermalogica, a Southern California personal care company, and the International Dermal Institute operated by Dermalogica to offer postgraduate skincare education, provide presentations on the skin microbiome, science of sun safety, formulation technology, and acne via social media platforms, and was open to clinicians throughout Australia. The hope is that physicians will be better informed and therefore more appropriately advise patients regarding treatments due to this increased training on market-available products.

In an effort to promote industry collaboration, the letter authors suggest forum-type discussions including industry, patients and consumers, academia, and those in clinical practice, focusing on general theory and treatment approaches and not specific products. Since benefits may be educational and possibly lead to better patient outcomes, authors of this letter consider this partnership between the beauty industry and medical professionals worthy of consideration.

We advocate for an open mind when dealing with the medical student and skincare industry relationship.

“We advocate for an open mind when dealing with the medical student and skincare industry relationship,” letter authors wrote. “The relationship has great merit in enabling greater access to potential patient treatments and perhaps, most importantly, if physicians and future medical professionals do not provide a voice, it leaves the avenue open for less qualified people to make judgments and recommendations (eg, via personal blogs) that may result in patient harm.”

Disclosure: An author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

References:

Mangion SE, Hughes SAL. Industry collaboration with dermatology education during medical school. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online January 16, 2023. doi:10.1111/jocd.15627