DOCTOR’S ORDERS: M.D. SKINCARE

Byline: Alev Aktar

NEW YORK — For many consumers, doctor-recommended skin care has instant credibility. After all, long years of medical training and clinical observation give dermatologists a dose of added expertise.
These days, derm lines such as Brandt, DDF Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, Murad, N.V. Perricone, and Z. Bigatti are crowding the shelves of department and specialty stores. Their no-nonsense packaging and medical approach help position the products as serious skin care.
Joining the ranks of specialized treatment is M.D. Skincare, created by Dr. Dennis Gross.
Gross, a board-certified dermatologist who graduated from the New York University Medical Center, has a wide patient following in Manhattan that includes celebrities and beauty editors. It’s the editors, in fact, who swear by his office alpha/beta acid peels. They take only minutes to administer and leave the skin smooth and only slightly flushed. “The industry relies heavily on glycolic acid, but the fact is that it’s irritating, and I was never satisfied with the results,” said Gross from his midtown office. “I have done thousands and thousands of alpha/beta peels in my practice, and they work better. The blend has a synergistic effect and doesn’t cause irritation.”
According to Gross, the alpha/beta combo gives skin a healthy glow, diminishes the appearance of fine lines and imperfections, reduces pore size and incidence of breakouts, and improves firmness, tone and texture.
To prolong the benefits of the office peel, Gross developed a two-step home-use kit that is the star of his eight-product line. He started selling it at his practice in 1996 and has since widened the distribution.
Called Alpha Beta Home Facial System, it features the same chemistry as the office version, but is less concentrated. Here’s how it works: The user wipes her face with a Step 1 pad soaked in a cocktail of citric, glycolic, lactic, malic and salicylic acids. She waits three minutes, then wipes her face with a Step 2 neutralizing pad.
The line also features All-In-One Facial Cleanser, Auto-Balance Moisture With Sunscreen, All-in-One Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, Anti-Aging Vitamin C Gel, Firming Eye Gel with vitamin C, Waterproof Sunscreen with vitamin C in SPF 15 or 30, and Firming Body Lotion with vitamin C. Prices range from $20 for the cleanser to $60 for the Alpha Beta kit, which holds a 30-day supply of pads.
The products are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and fragrance free.
The products are sold via 888-830-SKIN, mdskincare.com, beautyjungle.com and about 100 salons around the country, including Salon AKS and the Paul Labreque in Manhattan. Jane Terker, Gross’s business adviser, is targeting a wholesale volume of $2 million in 2000.