A new split-face study suggests that a mass marketed skin care system can hold its own against two prescription skin care regimens when it comes to improving photoaged skin.

The new findings, which compared MD Complete with two professionally dispensed prescription skin care systems, found that MD Complete produces similar clinical improvements in photoaged skin and the majority of participants preferred the mass-marketed system, which is significantly less expensive. The study appears in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology

In the study of 27 individuals with moderate photodamaged facial skin,  each used the mass market anti-aging system (Treatment A/MD Complete) to one side of the face and the prescription anti-aging system (Treatment B or Treatment C) to the other side of the face. Treatment B contained 13 subjects whom did not use 0.025% Retinol cream. Treatment C contained 14 subjects who used a 0.025% Retinol Cream.

Subjects had four visits over 12 weeks for digital photography and surveys. Photographs were evaluated by blinded physicians. 

Physician objective analysis showed all three systems produced a statistically significant clinical improvement in photoaged skin in as little as four weeks of use, the study found.

Participant’s surveys rated the mass-market system higher than both of the professional systems for visible skin changes, ease of use, and likelihood to recommend to a friend. Twelve of twenty-seven subjects preferred the mass market system for overall improvement while twelve thought each system gave the same improvement, the study showed.

Still, subjects did note that MD Complete was slightly more irritating than the professional system without tretinoin, while the professional system with the prescription tretinoin correlated to a higher degree of subject reported irritation than the other two systems.

This study demonstrates that a mass marketed skin care system can give similar clinical improvements in photoaged skin as a professionally dispensed prescription system and the majority of participants preferred the mass-marketed system,” conclude researchers led by Brian Zelickson MD, a dermatologist in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Zelickson has an equity ownership in MD Complete’s parent company.

The mass-market system available for retail costs less than one0third of the current professional prescription antiaging skin care system, according to information cited in the new study. “The reduction in cost, superiority of subject approval, along with the availability of the product, gives consumers an effective and affordable option with the tested mass-market system.”