Author: MMM Team
16 Nov 2021
Earlier this year a friend reached out to me and asked if I had heard about the Software Skin System. Although I like to think I am on the pulse of all that is happening in the beauty and skincare world, I surprisingly had never heard of them.
She told me how the company organises a video call with a doctor who will prescribe a tailored and unique lotion to treat your specific skin concerns. The lotion is compounded at a pharmacy before being mailed to you once every two months at a charge of $44 a month. If you run out earlier, you can simply get the script filled sooner. As arguably the world's laziest person alive, the idea of not having to run to the shops to buy more skincare when I run out is appealing - it is sent to me without me needing to even think about it.
As a rosacea sufferer who definitely does not drink enough water, I thought this could be a solution to my redness and dry skin so I was eager to give it a go. I uploaded the photos and listed my skin concerns and waited for the doctor to reach out to me for the video call – but that never happened. Via email only the assigned doctor looked at my photos and written concerns and prescribed me a formula of 20% Azelaic Acid and 5% Niacinamide – go to ingredients for rosacea sufferers and people with fine lines. I wondered if the lack of a video call aligned with a huge push in marketing from the Software team – were the doctors too inundated to talk to everyone? Even if I had to wait a bit longer, I would have loved to have a live consultation with the doctor to talk about my skin.
To emphasise the personalised touch of the company, there is a Software Insiders Facebook group where customers can show their progress, discuss the best sunscreen options, or bemoan the lack of results. Although the Facebook group was created by Software, a lot of the posts are about skincare and beauty in general. It’s a small community where people can be honest and vulnerable about their skin conditions and discuss their favourite products (whether or not they are from Software).
Many of my fellow customers complained about the pump not working on their bottles, however I didn’t have that issue myself. My main complaint regarding the bottle is that it is impossible to tell when it is nearing empty – how is anyone to know whether they need to ask for their script to be refilled early?
Another common complaint in the Facebook group was that the bottle size had shrunk from 30ml to 24ml – with no reduction in price. The rationale from the company was that having leftover and expired cream caused 35% of all subscription cancellations so they wanted to make the bottle more likely to last two months exactly with no leftover product. Pricing is a complicated issue, especially for young companies – as companies grow a whole host of new costs and fulfilment issues can arise. While I am happy to give Software a break on this issue, if you do decide to try a subscription for yourself keep an eye on the pricing and the amount you’re receiving.
So, did it work for me? Yes, with a few big buts. 20% Azelaic Acid is not a prescription only ingredient, and I can buy lotions like Azclear (also with 20% Azelaic Acid) at local drug stores which work just as effectively. My skin did improve in my three months of using my prescribed cream however I also made sure to moisturise my skin daily and wore SPF every day to maximise the results (and yes – I know I should be doing this anyway). So, while I believe Azelaic Acid is a great ingredient to help rosacea sufferers, I don’t believe Software is worth the price when I can find equivalent products for much cheaper and without a prescription.
From looking at the results in Software Insiders and speaking with my friend who is using the system, I think customers benefit most if they need Tretinoin – often used to treat acne and fine lines. Unlike its often confused with cousin Retinol, which is available over the counter, Tretinoin is a pure concentration of retinoic acid and can only be bought with a prescription.
Overall, I would say the Software Skin System does work and the online community is a breath of fresh air, but it may not be worth the price. Do your research with your prescribed formula – you may be able to head down to your local drugstore and get an effective and more affordable equivalent. While I cancelled my subscription it might be worthwhile for acne sufferers to give a Tretinoin formulation a go.