Rachel Carter speaks to Chris Gabriel, healthcare assistant and skin adviser at LloydsPharmacy in Coventry, about the company’s free skin analysis service

Specialist skincare advice has most commonly been associated with a trip to the dermatologist. But with
a booming health and beauty market and advances in technology, it seems UK pharmacists have an increasing opportunity to expand in this area.

This has been the case for LloydsPharmacy, which launched its skin analysis service in 2013.

The skin analysis system involves a ‘scientific and objective’ assessment, using special probes as well as digital and visual assessment, to determine the condition of a person’s skin. This includes the skin’s age, hydration, elasticity, temperature and pH and sebum levels.

Chris Gabriel, a LloydsPharmacy healthcare assistant and skin adviser, has delivered the free skincare service at the Earlsdon branch, in Coventry, for the past two years. She says the assessment usually takes between five and 10 minutes.

‘We start off by having a conversation with the person about their skin and whether they cleanse, moisturise and so on,’ Ms Gabriel says.

The person’s age, gender and ethnicity are then put into the skin analyser device, which generates detailed information about their skin type, she adds.

The service is an opportunity for customers to gain a deeper insight into what’s going on beneath the surface of their skin, as well as receive tailored recommendations from a trained skincare adviser on what products might enhance their skin type as well as tackle any issues.

Advising customers

Ms Gabriel didn’t receive any training to use the skin analyser device (she says it’s fairly self-explanatory), but she did undertake a course on the different skincare products available and what these are used for, which she says has aided her in making recommendations to customers.

‘Most of the people I’ve worked with so far do not have more serious skin complaints, such as acne or eczema, but they want to find out what their skin is like and which part of their face is dry,  for example,’ she says.

‘The machine prints the results and then we can guide them about suitable products.’

The service can be booked through LloydsPharmacy’s website, but Ms Gabriel says in her area it’s generally operated on
a walk-in basis, with two or three people asking for a skin test each week.

The popularity varies according to the time of year, she adds. ‘As the summer approaches and people are going on holiday, they want to know more about their skin or get extra products for sun protection, so we should be busier in the next few months.

‘It’s a good service and I enjoy having the time to deliver it.’

Top tips for running an acne service

  • Know your market. Scope out your local demographic before committing to an acne service. If your pharmacy is near a university, for example, offering such a service could be a good investment.
  • Reassess your skincare offering. Consider expanding the range
    of skincare products. Stocking high-quality skincare products could pay dividends.
  • Utilise your team. Consider how members of your team could be trained to assist you with your acne service and the related aftersales.
  • Take the pressure off other services. By offering an acne
    service, you can use your expertise to ease the strain on local GP services.
  • Communicate regularly. As a community pharmacist, your position in the community means you are ideally placed to follow up with patients using your acne service.
  • Know when to refer. Although most cases of acne are mild to moderate, more severe cases, such as those in very young people, may require referral to a GP.

Rachel Carter is a freelance journalist