Intensive Pore Treatment

Price:
$75 - 2 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Blemish/Acne Treatments > BHA
Last Updated:
1/29/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

Intensive Pore Treatment is, surprise, designed to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. It's also supposed to absorb and control excess oil, but ends up doing neither, and its ability to reduce pore size is limited at best (and for what this costs it should make your pore practically invisible). Its initially thick lotion texture is simply too emollient to control surface oil and it does not set to an absorbent finish.

The formula contains glycolic acid, and although the amount isn't specified, we suspect it's at least 5%. Although that can be helpful, the product's pH of 4.1 is borderline for exfoliation to occur. So, while glycolic acid's exfoliating action can help reduce enlarged pores, it cannot work as well as it would due to the limiting pH value. It's worth mentioning that for reducing enlarged pores, salicylic acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is preferred. That's because unlike glycolic acid, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, so it can penetrate to exfoliate inside the pore lining, where clogs (and blackheads) begin. Unclogging pores is a surefire way to make them smaller, but this product doesn't quite get it right.

Intensive Pore Treatment contains a novel ingredient known as betaine salicylate. This ingredient is somewhat similar to salicylic acid, but, like salicylic acid it is also pH-dependent, so its inclusion here isn't likely to be too helpful. Besides, the formula contains more fragrance than betaine salicylate, and several of the fragrance ingredients it contains are known irritants, which won't help anyone's skin (or pores). See More Info for details on using highly fragranced products like this.

Like most Perricone products, this contains dimethyl MEA. Also known as DMAE, this ingredient is controversial because research has shown conflicting results. It seems to offer an initial benefit that improves skin but these results are short-lived and eventually give way to destruction of substances in skin that help build healthy collagen (Sources: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, November-December 2007, pages 711–718; and American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Volume 6, 2005, pages 39–47). You'll see a difference within a month or so, but over time skin will stop improving.

Interestingly, there is a formulation challenge when using DMAE in skin-care products. In order to maintain efficacy and stability, the product's pH level needs to be at least 10. A pH of 10 is highly alkaline, which isn't good news for skin. A high pH like this can increase bacteria content in the pore and cause dryness and irritation. Moreover, since almost all moisturizers (including serums and eye creams) are formulated with a pH that closely matches that of human skin (generally 5.5–6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale), in all likelihood the DMAE used in skin-care products cannot have any prolonged functionality. (Source: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Supplement 72, 2008, pages S17–S22).

Pros:
  • Contains an impressive amount of the antioxidant thioctic acid (also known as alpha lipoic acid).
Cons:
  • Product's pH is borderline for the AHA to work as an exfoliant, which is essential to seeing smaller pores.
  • BHA (salicylic acid) is preferred for exfoliating clogged pores and oily skin.
  • BHA alternative betaine salicylate is also pH-dependent, so likely won't do much for skin.
  • Strongly fragranced.
  • Dimethyl MEA is a controversial skin care ingredient.
More Info:

Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).

This treatment is designed to effectively reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. Its helps to control and absorb excess oil, maintain skin’s elasticity and resilience while gently exfoliating to remove wax or dirt build-up that can clog and further enlarge pores.

Water, Thioctic Acid, Dimethyl MEA, Glycolic Acid, Isopropyl Palmitate, Tyrosine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Urea, Ceteareth-20, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Hydroxylated Lecithin, Fragrance/Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Betaine Salicylate, BHT, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Aspartate, Disodium EDTA, Pantethine, Zinc Sulfate, Allantoin, Bisabolol, Pyridoxine HCl, Mica, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbic Acid, Silica, Copper Gluconate, Linalool, Limonene, Amyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

This dermatologist-developed line is perhaps the best known in an increasingly crowded field. The frenzy began with Nicholas Perricone's first book, The Wrinkle Cure, and continued when he appeared on PBS to discuss his book and namesake products, all of which seemed incredibly legitimate to consumers worried about how to look younger longer. PBS reaped a financial windfall from his appearance, netting millions of dollars between 2001 and 2002 (Source: www.quackwatch.org). Originally all the fuss centered around vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid, but as his success continued, Perricone wrote half a dozen more books and expanded his product line to include other over-hyped ingredients, each with claims (and price tags) more inflated than the last round.

We sourced the Web site Quackwatch.org because they have an excellent, unbiased report on the Perricone phenomenon. This non-profit site is operated by consumer advocate Dr. Stephen Barrett, and, to quote the Quackwatch Mission Statement, their purpose is "to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct." That's where Perricone comes into play. According to Quackwatch, Perricone's books "contain many claims that are questionable, controversial, fanciful, unsupported by published evidence, or just plain wrong. Although he mentions standard skin-care treatments, sometimes favorably, his books provide little guidance about when they might be appropriate or sufficient. Although he provides long lists of references, practically none of them directly support what he promises." Those sentiments are exactly what we felt and wrote after reading The Wrinkle Cure.

The site goes on to state: "Perricone's books are sprinkled with statements that his ideas are based on his own research. However, the extent and quality of this research is unclear. A PubMed search for his name brought up only six citations, of which only two appear to be original research, both on topical glycolic acid. His books describe situations in which he tested various ideas in a few patients, usually over a short period of time, but he provides few details and apparently published none of those findings in medical journals." Does that sound like the kind of products you'd like to spend (a lot of) your money on?

They go on to conclude (and we agree completely with the following text): "Dr. Perricone has mixed a pinch of science with a gallon of imagination to create an elaborate, time-consuming, expensive, prescription for a healthy life and younger skin. There is no reason to think his program is more effective than standard measures. Although some of his advice is standard, most of his recommendations are based on speculation and fanciful interpretation of selected medical literature. He makes lots of money by convincing patients and consumers, but he hasn't succeeded in convincing critical thinkers, doctors, scientists, or anyone who wants to see hard evidence. Perricone's prescription isn't science; it's creative salesmanship." And which ingredient is the answer for healthy skin? Perricone can't seem to make up his mind, because one group of products contains alpha lipoic acid, another group olive oil, another vitamin C, and still another neuropeptides. Come on, doctor, which is it?

One ingredient Perricone uses deserves some discussion because it is present in all of his products, and that's dimethyl MEA, also known as DMAE (chemically 2-dimethyl-aminoethanol). DMAE has been around for years as an oral supplement that's popularly believed to improve mental alertness, much like Ginkgo biloba and coenzyme Q10. However, the research about DMAE does not show the same positive results as the other two supplements. Because DMAE is chemically similar to choline, DMAE is thought to stimulate production of acetylcholine. And because acetylcholine is a brain neurotransmitter, it's easy to see how it could be associated with brain function. However, only a handful of studies have looked at DMAE for that purpose and they have not been conclusive in the least, while some have shown that DMAE may be problematic or not very effective (Sources: Mechanisms of Aging and Development, February 1988, pages 129–138; Neuropharmacology, June 1989, pages, 557–561; European Neurology, 1991, pages 423–425; and European Journal of Medical Research, May 2003, pages 183–191).

How does any of this translate into skin care, or, more to the point, suppressing the signs of aging? Perricone claims DMAE restores muscle tone to skin that has lost firmness and has begun to slacken, as well as conveying an antioxidant benefit. Johnson & Johnson uses DMAE in a few of their Neutrogena products, and a study they paid for appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (June 2005, pages 39–47). The conclusion was as follows: "the benefits of DMAE in dermatology include a potential anti-inflammatory effect and a documented increase in skin firmness with possible improvement in underlying facial muscle tone." The study examined topical application of 3% DMAE over a period of 16 weeks, but it was not done double-blind and was not placebo-controlled, which makes the results, at best, questionable. Moreover, the study didn't examine whether a 3% or lower concentration of other ingredients, such as green tea, glycolic acid, vitamin C, or myriad others (many of which Perricone has extolled in his other products, and the amount of DMAE he used varies widely from product to product), might have had the same or better results.

Is there any reason to get excited (and drain your pocketbook) for products with DMAE? Apparently not; a study published in The British Journal of Dermatology (May 2007) has shown contrary evidence that it may actually pose risks for the skin. In vitro tests of the pure substance, as well as creams that contained DMAE, demonstrated a fairly fast and significant increase in protective elements around the skin cell. However, a short time later the researchers observed an important reduction in cell growth and in some cases they found that it halted cell growth altogether. So, while you may initially experience a kind of swelling of the skin because of the expanding effect caused by topical application of DMAE, the long-term results appear to be far from desirable.

Interestingly, even though this ingredient is present throughout Perricone's line, he has yet to publish his own research discussing the claims and explaining how topical DMAE works. The bottom line is that as more research comes to light, DMAE may prove more problematic than helpful for aging skin. But in the meantime, Perricone is raking in lots of money by convincing consumers otherwise.

For more information about Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals call (888) 823-7837 or visit www.perriconemd.com.

Member Comments

Summary of Member Comments

  1. How would you rate the results? (4 = Best)

    1 / 4 Poor
  2. Was this product a good value? (4 = Best)

    2 / 4 Average
  3. Would you recommend this product? (4 = Best)

    1 / 4 Poor
Page of 1
  1. Elzee
    Reviewed on Monday, April 29, 2013
    • Results
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    • Value
      2 / 4
    Irritated my skin, made my pores look worse!
    • I was not surprised to find that Paula rated this poorly. I wish I'd found this site before I had purchased the product! I used the two Perricone pore minimizer products for almost 3 weeks, exactly as they instruct. Not only did my enlarged pores on my cheeks NOT get any smaller, I actually thought they were getting BIGGER and WORSE LOOKING! The toner was OK. The lotion stung a lot and irritated my skin (which is NOT usually sensitive). I returned both products and got my money back.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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