Askin’ the right skincare questions

The current trend for natural-looking beauty is contributing to the continued success of the skincare category and, today in Australia, skincare is the leading pharmacy category.

In 2018, skincare outperformed the second-placed cosmetics category by almost $500 million, an increase of more than 20 per cent. Despite this popularity, skincare is a topic that is greatly misunderstood by many customers, so pharmacy assistants are in a great position to offer meaningful advice and add real value to their pharmacy customers.

Pharmacy assistants should be confident in talking to customers about skincare products. L’Oréal’s Scientific Communications Manager Rachel McAdam says gaining knowledge in the field of dermatology will empower pharmacy assistants to have better interactions with their customers.

“I encourage pharmacy professionals to keep up with topics relating to skin as well as skincare ingredients, so ultimately they can make informed recommendations by asking customers the right questions,” Ms McAdam said. “Looking at a product’s ingredients list is helpful, while publications and journals are a great start as they are accessible and relevant.”

Ask open-ended questions

When approaching a customer, says Ms McAdam, asking open-ended questions will help gather more information about their needs and their skin condition. For example, instead of asking ‘Do you have any skin concerns?’, which may invite a ‘No’, or ‘Not really’ response, she recommends saying, ‘Tell me about your skin and any of your skin concerns’.

Many customers aren’t familiar with the importance of both cleansing and moisturising skin. Ms McAdam says this is a good opportunity to do some needs-based selling, which ties in to knowledge of the skin and skin conditions.

“A customer wanting to purchase a moisturiser for dry skin may not be aware of the role that the right cleanser plays in keeping the skin happy,” she said. “Dry skin or eczema-prone skin can’t afford to lose existing lipids, so a cleanser that doesn’t strip and at the same time can deliver some compensating lipids is a beneficial add-on sale.

“Another example would be for rosacea sufferers. UV radiation can trigger rosacea flares in around 80 per cent of cases, so a broad-spectrum and gentle sunscreen is a very important add-on.”

Check out the May edition of Retail Pharmacy Magazine for a really informative skincare feature.