Neuropeptide Firming Moisturizer

by Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals  Neuropeptide
Price:
$280 - 2 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:
1/29/2013
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
No

Neuropeptide Firming Moisturizer proves Dr. Perricone is at it again, continuing the “if you thought that product of mine was good, wait until you try this one, but while you’re here, just keep buying all of them because you don’t seem to notice the redundant claims”, approach to launching new items.

Supposedly, Neuropeptide Firming Moisturizer was a secret Perricone kept hidden in his anti-aging vault (perhaps hidden along with all of the research he claims to have done but has never published or had peer-reviewed or shown to anyone). The good doctor is said to have developed this formula for his personal use (why wasn’t he using his other products all along is a question no one at his company has the answer to), and now he’s making it available publicly. So if you have deep pockets and are dealing with wrinkles and sagging facial contours, should you consider this product? Well, at its core, this is just an emollient, jar-packaged moisturizer for normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts.

A major ingredient in the product is the amino acid taurine. The most abundant source of taurine is human breast milk, but it also occurs in many foods, including meat and fish. Taurine can also be synthesized in the body from hypotaurine and cysteine, and works in the body to promote healthy brain, eye, and heart functions, among other duties. What does any of this have to do with wrinkles or lax skin? Taurine is considered a good antioxidant, but that in and of itself is no reason to seek products containing it. There is research showing that adequate levels of taurine in the body work to protect skin from UVB-induced changes, but it’s no substitute for sunscreen, and many other ingredients (most of them antioxidants such as green tea or ferulic acid) offer photoprotection as well.

Research has also shown (albeit in vitro) that topical application of taurine can reduce epidermal water loss and inflammation in the presence of topical irritants. It also appears to stimulate barrier repair substances such as cholesterol and ceramides, which can help skin repair itself. Moreover, animal research has shown that taurine plays a role in mitigating collagen destruction related to consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, though this research was more concerned with preventing collagen-induced skin changes in diabetics than examining its effect, if any, on wrinkles.

In short, taurine is indeed a beneficial ingredient for skin, but there is no published research proving it can lift skin or significantly improve wrinkles or is better then other ingredients that help skin in this manner. (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Journal of Immunology, September 2007, pages 3604–3612; Journal of Cosmetic Science, January/February 2006, pages 1–10; and Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, September/October 2005, pages 305–311).

L-tyrosine is also present in this product. It’s a nonessential amino acid, and there is research indicating its benefit for skin, but it’s effect in terms of anti-aging prowess is questionable, and it’s certainly not capable of making sagging skin a thing of the past (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com.) To sum up, none of the other scientific or pseudo-scientific ingredients in this outrageously expensive moisturizer can make aging skin look young again. Most of them have potential benefit, just not in a way that jibes with Perricone’s claims. For more information about substances such as phosphatidylcholine, dimethyl MEA, and peptides, please refer to our Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary.

The secret Dr. Perricone has kept in the anti-aging vault, until now....A formula Dr. Perricone developed for his own personal us and is making available for the very first time. It diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, binds moisture to and hydrates skin, improves facial contours as well as skin's tone and texture, and most exciting of all, it gives your skin an appearance of "lift". The result is luminous, vibrant, healthy looking skin.

Water, Isopropyl Palmitate, Taurine, Cetearyl Alcohol, L-Tyrosine, Phosphatidylcholine, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethyl MEA (DMAE), Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Pyridoxine Hcl, Disodium EDTA, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Tocotrienols, Sorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 (Neuropeptide), Fragrance

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

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

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

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  1. nennycakes
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 14, 2013
    • Results
      2 / 4
    • Value
      1 / 4
    • Recommend
      1 / 4
    Meh
    • I don't know. I got this as part of a kit that was a gift (thanks, dear brother - for insinuating that I need firming face products, you jerk). It did nothing for my face, other than make my pores larger. It did work a little bit on my neck, so I mainly used it up that way. It made my neck appear slightly less chinny. I would never buy it on my own - way to expensive and it smells fishy for the first 30 min after application. Plus, I am a Paula's Choice girl for life.

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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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