Dr. Zelickson is director of Zel Skin and Laser Specialists and is President elect of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. Learn more about MD Complete Skincare: http://mdcompleteskincare.com.

Brian Zelickson, MD says his foray into skincare development was “serendipitous.” The Minneapolis-based laser surgeon had been a clinical investigator and consultant for various brands, but he had no interest in creating a skincare line, especially not one for men. But when a unique ingredient delivery technology he had investigated became available for use, he ended up developing a mass-market brand with unisex appeal (MD Complete by Brian Zelickson, available at Target). In the formulation and marketing development processes, he learned some lessons about skincare desires of men...and women. Ahead are some pearls.


In simple terms, the ingredient delivery technology Dr. Zelickson used makes it possible to combine hardworking ingredients that historically were incompatible in a single product, leading to fewer steps in the patient's skincare regimen. “The notion of multitasking products and fewer steps fits well with the male market,” Dr. Zelickson says.

Synergistic combinations of ingredients can enhance outcomes while reducing the total number of products used. Patient compliance is expected to increase as the amount of required effort decreases.


Every patient needs to use a sunscreen everyday, Dr. Zelickson says, and it should have a high concentration of physical sunblocks like zinc oxide. If that sunscreen is effectively formulated with antioxidants, then there's added benefit for the patient—with no additional steps in the morning regimen.

Every patient should use a retinol-based topical product each evening. Ideal formulations will contain anti-inflammatory and barrier supportive ingredients for enhanced benefits and improved tolerability. This also can have the benefit of reducing the incidence of ingrown hairs and improving shaving results Then, focus on adding in products for specific concerns such as acne (look for cleansers with ingredients like salicylic acid among others) or mild dyschromia (hydroquinone is still a top option).


Men are not likely to use a skincare line perceived as feminine. Men and women both tend to be receptive to products that reflect a medically based approach to skincare. “Clean, professional packaging appeals to all genders and ages,” Dr. Zeliskson says. And there's market research to prove it.

Some men will be willing to invest heavily in skincare, while others won't. Investigate offerings at various price points and from various sources. Companies may not publish all their data, but the most reliable products usually have trial results to share with physicians, Dr. Zelickson says. He tested his line against more expensive OTC lines and prescription therapies, with favorable results. Be prepared to make recommendations to match your patients' needs aesthetically and economically.


With 25 years in practice, Dr. Zelickson sees an uptick in demand for procedures among men, but “the male market is still much smaller than the female market for procedures.” Men are interested in less invasive procedures, in general, and skincare can be a good starting point or adjunct for the man making an initial entrée into cosmetic services. Services like progressive peels offer improvement to the skin with little downtime and no obvious signs of “having work.”