DERMACARE professional acne medication was founded on the principle that acne care should not be a terrible experience personally or financially.
DERMACARE connects patients who suffer from acne with board certified doctors who prescribe each patient a customized treatment based on a form and picture filled out and sent over by the patient themselves. And with personalizing your own facial products within the industry becoming more and more popular, it seemed only fit that we feature DERMACARE now!
One of our MyTopFace experts gave it a try and she couldn’t have been happier with the results thus far. After a chat with founder Alex Jovanovich MD, she was more than excited to understand how the entire process works. And now you can too!
Some of the ingredients included in the bottle were: Retin-A, which helps which is a form of vitamin A that helps the skin renew itself and also assists with acne. Finacea, a medication used to treat the inflammatory papules (raised spots) and assist with pimples. And Azaclear which visibly improves the appearance of aging, blemish prone and pigmented skin. Beauty on the outside depends of your lifestyle, what you eat, how you exercise and more. You can check our healthy beauty tips!
MyTopFace: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice:
Alex Jovanovich MD: So, I am a family physician. I did my residency at the university of Chicago and i trained of course in the area. I grew up in Chicago. I suffered from acne as a kid growing up, it was pretty bad, spent a couple of years on different creams before going on actuate. My parents were physicians as well and were a little concerned about the side effects but it worked.
MyTopFace: So how did you end up in family medicine?
Alex Jovanovich MD: So when I went into medicine, my mom kept pushing me and I was actually doing the exact opposite of what she wanted me to do. But I went into family medicine because it kind of allows you to do the most you can do, especially looking forward and seeing how telemedicine is going to be such a big part of what we do in this country to burn down costs, it was just the obvious choice.
MyTopFace: How did Dermacare come about?
Alex Jovanovich MD: So the actual concept of Dermacare, it came as a collaboration between myself and my partner Steve Sullivan. We’ve done a lot of projects together over the years, we grew up together, so we have a level of trust and respect that is required to start something oft this scale. And interestingly enough, one of the turning points was… he wanted to do an online dermatology site and he was asking me for prescriptions for basic, generic acne medications. His wife was pregnant with their second baby so they had the Blue Cross, Blue Shield extra gold edition of health care. So he called me up and I prescribed him some very basic medications, so when he called and he said he wouldn’t pay $180 for a bottle, I thought I had mis-written the prescription. So I went and checked with the pharmacy and realized no the prices had been going up and the patients starting feeling more and more of the brunt of the cost. After that, I spoke to a compounding pharmacist and he said that we could provide the exact same medications at a much lower cost.
MyTopFace: What exactly is in Dermacare?
Alex Jovanovich MD: Dermacare topical cream active ingredients include: Clindamycin, Tretinoin, Azelaic Acid, Niacinamide and more. There used to be more generic companies supplying these pharmaceuticals but what we found was larger companies buying up these generic companies leaving little generic medicines left for the patients. So we kind of figured out that we had an opportunity to make a difference. You have to use FDA approved ingredients if your treating a patient but in order to market your brand, you then have to go to the second level of FDA approval which takes millions of dollars and years. So as a compounding pharmacy, we are custom making each product for each patient. As long as were not making something that is commercially available, like a basic regimen, we can legally do that. We can’t call the actual bottle Dermacare or say that it clears acne or fine lines but we can say that the Dermacare system or our service does. So it was a little loophole that was put in place to tell doctors how to treat their patients but were actually able to use it now to drop the cost of these medicines.
MyTopFace: What do dermatologists think?
Alex Jovanovich MD: It’s interesting talking to dermatologists about it because they totally get it and like the concept but they’re so involved in their other world of skin cancer and botox that even thought this makes up a chunk of what they do, they are more focused on those other things. And what ends up happening is i have patients coming back to me after visiting their dermatologists complaining about high prices and restrictions. So that’s where we stepped in and figured we could come up with something that is a lot more convenient and affordable.
MyTopFace: So what do you think separates you from other advertised skin care products on the market like proactive, etc.?
Alex Jovanovich MD: That’s a great question and it’s one that a lot of people in the medical profession will ask too. The main difference between us is that we’re prescription and they’re not. So, typically prescription medication across any condition that you have; acne or being sick or whatever, is almost always the most effective medication. So what any other over the counter is trying to do is get as close to the results of a prescription medication without actually containing the ingredients of the prescription medication. If you look at the studies, anything over the counter is about 50% effective, prescription medication is 70%-90% effective.
MyTopFace: What is the biggest concern patients come to you with?
Alex Jovanovich MD: Since were one of the first companies to offer both the diagnosis and the treatment altogether and all online, we want to stick with things that have a very very low harm while we figure out how this new method of treating patients works. So with the medications we use, like the most aggressive ones for example, we use it typically in low doses. The worst thing we have gotten so far is “my skin is irritated” and we give them instructions such as to use it every other day or only use on problem areas. If that doesn’t help then we just send them out another formulation of slightly lower levels of what we think is causing the irritation and that’s all included in the price; $20/month, free refills and if 2 weeks into it you’re like “this isn’t doing it for me, I’m not satisfied”, we just formulate something else for you and send it out. Although we have many formulations that treat all these other conditions very well, our focus is on acne first because we feel that has the most motivated patient base. Typically if your younger you want to have clearer skin and you want to get rid of that now. We have a lot of studies that show how that can emotionally effect children and teenagers as well.
MyTopFace: So a MyTopFace expert went on personally and filled out the form and took the picture. How do you determine who looks at what and prescribes what to whom?
Alex Jovanovich MD: Right now, it’s just myself. We do have physicians in other states and they do end up looking at the over plan for treatment and signing off on it. So what happens is we develop this algorithm, it’s sort of our treatment matrix. What it does is assign a number from 0-7 based on the severity of the acne. What we wanted to make was something that gives a number that makes it easy to diagnose and put the acne or skin condition in a group and that number is also related to what that patient should have in their medication. So if, let’s say you’re a 6 or a 7, we won’t treat that; we will send that out to a dermatologist. So it’s not one permanent products, it’s something that constantly changes with the patient. Which is another great aspect but it’s just such a new concept that it’s really, really hard to explain to people.
MyTopFace: How long do you find that it takes your product to show results?
Alex Jovanovich MD: What that comes down to is really, really good education and engagement. And that’s something we are working on constantly. Across the board with medications, prescription medications and even our medications, they typically require at least 6 weeks. We find that people actually double or triple up on their usage of medications hoping to speed the process along but it actually hinders the process and irritates the skin. So we’re trying to get people to understand that it’s a marathon, not a race and get them involved for the long term.
MyTopFace: Well, I think you did an amazing job of explaining the product to us. Thank you so much for you’re time .
Alex Jovanovich MD: Anytime! And thank you!
Upon receiving our batch of Dermacare, we were nothing short of excited. Our expert has sensitive, dry skin and she was more than happy to try anything that would help. Using it once every evening, she began to see results quicker than expected. The treatment felt gentle on her skin and left it soft and supple. The Finacea (one of the highest ingredients in her batch) really reduced the raised spots on her face and the Azaclear seemed to already be working on her blemishes. She plans to continue treatments in hopes that her little blemishes will soon be a thing of the past.