Dr. Zelickson Interview

Top Dermatologist Dr. Brian Zelickson talks about his new anti-aging line with Target

How did MD Complete come about?

My relationship with Target has been 20 years in the making, educating their team members and working with their clinics. But we started working on this line about a year and a half ago. I had been working on an over-the-counter (OTC) line with a group out of the East coast before Target called. We acquired some interesting technology that allows us to combine multiple active ingredients and keep the activity high. That’s important because a lot of these ingredients are highly volatile and don’t work well when they are mixed together.

What is the breakthrough technology?

It’s a trade secret so I can’t tell you exactly, but it’s in the processing of the materials, a technology that allows us to combine ingredients and keep them extremely stable. That is the problem all over-the-counter products face. There are great products that are already out there–like hydroquinone–that are highly active. The problem is that you can’t combine them. You can’t mix them together or they lose effectiveness. That’s why the programs you buy in a physician’s office have five or six steps, because you can’t mix things together; you have to put them on separately. Ours is a three-step program. When we’ve done side-by-side spreads looking at the results we get from treatment, the effects on the signs of aging are about equivalent and we are about a third of the price point.

Why should somebody buy MD Complete instead of the other OTC products?

If you’re used to using an OTC line you can get reasonable results but you can’t get the kind of results if you were to come into my practice and I give you a five-step regimen including a prescription retinoid. In all it costs about five hundred bucks but the results are great. We compared our results to the results that you get from that program—a five step program that includes a prescription product—and we can get the kind of results that you really don’t see in a regular OTC product but the price point is similar to the OTC product.

How are you able to do that?

That’s the trade secret. One plus one equals three. A lot of OTC products don’t have that many active ingredients in them, or the level of the ingredient is very low. We’re able to add more ingredients into our product and the product is stable and active longer. So we don’t have to put high, high concentrations in and that makes a big difference in cost.

What is the biggest impediment to women having their most beautiful skin?

Consistency and using the right products. If people are consistent in using their sun protection, preferably one with some active ingredients, and then just use a simple program of high quality ingredients, they can get good results.

Is skin care so complicated that women just fall off the wagon?

Yes. I had a meeting with a bunch of beauty editors and I asked them how many steps they used in their skincare program. Most of them said, “I use a four- or five-step program.” And then I followed it up and asked, “Do you do that every day?” And they’d say, “Well, no, I don’t always have time.” And these are people that are the top of the food chain in using these things. So if you can keep on a good program that’s simple to use, it’s amazing the results you can get.

You have a wrinkle reducing product and a discoloration corrector you recommend using AM and PM. Do you use both at once?

Some people have one of the two issues and some people have both. If you have a pigment condition you use a product like hydroquinone, but I don’t like to use it for long periods of time. I like to pulse that product; I don’t like people using it year round. So we have instructions that say one of two things. If you have a lot of pigment, you start with the dark spot remover and sunblock and cleanser, and a lot of times people use that for about eight weeks, either every other day or daily depending on how they tolerate it (and some people can tolerate it twice a day). And after about eight weeks they can move to the wrinkle remover. If they have both conditions, they can alternate one every other night for eight or ten weeks and then just go to the wrinkle remover. You do the pigment product twice a year–once in the fall and once in the spring is how I like to do it.

So what’s the last word on beautiful skin?

Protection from the sun, the right products and regular long-term use. They key with MD Complete is that you can get the kind of results you would get if you were to see your dermatologist and get a prescription and a full six step program. But with ours it’s a three-step program at about a third of the cost. That’s the bottom line.