The name for this fragrance-free product is strange because, essentially, it is a very good concealer with sunscreen. It provides light coverage and offers the benefit of gentle sun protection with its mineral-based active ingredients. The formula dispenses somewhat thick, but softens to a light cream that’s easy to blend, although you’ll notice some opacity right away due to the amount of mineral active ingredients. Combined with the soft peach tint (only one shade is offered and it’s best for light to medium skin tones) and the soft matte finish, you absolutely get some coverage, negating the “no concealer” portion of the name.
In addition to coverage and broad-spectrum sun protection, this concealer is laced with several anti-aging ingredients, including peptides, skin-repairing ingredients, and antioxidant vitamins. Because this product provides sun protection, the inactive ingredients are listed in alphabetical rather than descending order (which is permissible per FDA regulations because SPF-rated products are regulated as over-the-counter drugs). Unfortunately, the alphabetical listing makes it difficult to tell how much of the anti-aging ingredients you’re getting—and given this product’s cost, you want to know if they’re present in a meaningful amount or if they’re just window dressing.
As for the neuropeptides this contains, they theoretically have cell-communicating ability for skin, but there is no research showing they improve sagging skin around the eyes or are capable of erasing wrinkles in any way. Not even Perricone has published research on what these peptides can do; instead, he just makes the claims and perhaps assumes women will trust him because he’s a doctor.
This contains the controversial ingredient DMAE (listed as dimethyl MEA). For more information about this ingredient, please refer to the Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary on the Home page of this site. DMAE is not the anti-aging wonder lots of companies make it out to be, and it may, in fact, do more harm than good. The inclusion of DMAE keeps this concealer from earning a higher rating, though its strong points make it worth a look because there are so few good concealers with sunscreen.
- Provides light coverage and gentle, broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Contains a good selection of anti-aging ingredients.
- Contains the controversial skin-care ingredient DMAE (as do most of Perricone’s products).
- Only one shade is offered, and it’s not “universal” as claimed.
Instantly camouflages imperfections and dark circles, softens fine lines and delivers powerful anti-aging benefits with Neuropeptides and Vitamin C ester, Great primer for eye make-up; helps with makeup wear and longevity, crease proof, non-drying with one universal shade for all skin tones.
Active: Zinc Oxide 5.88% Titanium Dioxide 4.80%, Other: Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ceramide 2, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Chrysin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclotetrasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethyl MEA, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Glycerin, Hexyl Laurate, Hexylene Glycol, Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Hydroxysuccinamide, Iron Oxides, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Mica, Nylon-12, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Silica, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium PCA, Sorbitan Olivate, Steareth-20, Stearic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tribehenin, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Triethoxylsilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Water
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.