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Sydney Givens, PA-C, Reviews How to Discuss Cosmeceuticals With Patients


Givens presented tips for all dermatology providers to consider at the 2023 Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference for PAs and NPs.

Dermatology Times® recently spoke with board-certified physician assistant, Sydney Givens, PA-C, on her recently presented session at the Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference for PAs and NPs, “What You Really Need to Know About Cosmeceuticals” in Orlando, Florida. Givens sees patients at both Wiregrass Dermatology and the Southern Institute of Plastic Surgery.

In her session, Givens stressed the importance of all dermatology providers being aware of the types of cosmeceuticals patients are using. For the best skin health, patients should be consulting their dermatology provider, not social media influencers or paid media advertising, according to Givens.


Givens: Hi, I'm Sydney Givens, I am a physician assistant. I live and practice in Dothan, Alabama. You can find me at Wiregrass Dermatology, and also Southern Institute of Plastic Surgery.

Dermatology Times: What are a few of the key highlights from your session, "What You Really Need to Know About Cosmeceuticals?"

Givens: Yes, so I am extremely excited to talk about this topic because I think what we're all seeing and experiencing is that our patients are all using cosmeceuticals. And so some of the highlights we want to take away is, you know, obviously, what you need to know to be able to answer questions for your patients, and how you need to direct and guide them. A takeaway is that we really do need to know what our patients are purchasing and using. So we need to familiarize ourselves with products at the drugstore, and also other beauty stores. I am also a very firm believer in the complete skin care routine that all patients need a cleanser, a treatment step, and a moisturizer. So familiarizing ourselves with those non-prescription products, like cleansers and moisturizers is extremely important. And I think mainly that our patients are looking to us for legit skin care information. And this is not something that we have necessarily been taught medically. So that's like, the big takeaway is that we like surprise, do need to know what's out there so that we can treat our patients most effectively and guide them because again, they are using these products, and they want someone to help them. And if it's not us, then it's influencers on social media, or just skin care marketing from brands, which is not necessarily lying sometimes, but you're not giving the full picture to patients.

Dermatology Times: What is the value of conferences geared specifically towards physician assistants and nurse practitioners?

Givens: Yeah, so for me personally, the value that I found is in connecting with people that are in the same profession across the United States, I've learned a lot about billing and coding, standard of care, and even what to expect from insurance. And it's always great to kind of be able to check your contract and what you're being offered at work and kind of what the norms are. And when you stay in your bubble, you don't really have anything to compare it to. So for me, I think just being able to meet and network with others has been helpful.

Dermatology Times: How do you hope to see physicians and advanced practice providers working together more moving forward?

Givens: I see the value in our profession as extending access to quality care. And that is what in the PA program that I went to, that's what they always said, this is about collaboration. And so when I'm looking for a job and a physician to work with, I want to make sure that they have that same mindset. For me, I think if it is about patients being at the center, then we should be appreciated for what we bring to the table. And I hope that that can become more of the norm. I mean, I've only had that experience, but I hope that everyone knows that that's the goal and that that is our value.

Dermatology Times: What resources do you provide for safe skin care recommendations?

Givens: Yes, so the good news is that on social media, there's a whole community of dermatology NPs, PAs, and dermatologists that are kind of combating the one-sidedness of skin care marketing, and you could say influencers that are being paid to talk about products. And so you can easily search and find many on social media, especially Instagram and YouTube. But that is actually how I came to talk about this topic because I started posting about products that my patients were trying so I could understand. And we'rekind of like 3 years into it, but you can follow along on Instagram, it's @sydneygivens_skin. And thenI also have a website and I have patient handouts that I started using years ago for atopic dermatitis and acne some of those prescriptions are necessary, but also over the counter products and cosmeceuticals. So, I think we're all in this together and if you ever have any questions, you can email me or DM me directly and I would absolutely love to talk about it and help guide you.

[Transcript edited for clarity]

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