“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

Skin Care Review: Perricone MD Advanced Face Firming Activator

I've been reviewing an assortment of Perricone, MD products lately, and those of you who've been reading this blog for the last few weeks may have noted that I haven't been all that impressed (see here and here and here). It's not that the products are bad...they haven't made me break out, there's been no allergic reaction, I haven't seen the quality of my skin decline while using them, but for the price point, I've just found them completely underwhelming. The line boasts some pretty lofty claims, and thus far I haven't seen the results I've been promised. 

One of the products I decided to try is the Advanced Face Firming Activator, a serum that promises to give you firm, glowing skin with decreased lines and wrinkles. If you believe the folks at Perricone (as well as the reviews on the web site, you'd think this stuff was just the end-all and be-all of skin care products. I read all of the information, including the reviews, and took the plunge. Sadly, I found that as with the other Perricone MD products I've tried so far, it's just not all that. 

Before getting into my review, I'm going to tell you about Perricone MD and Dr. Perricone. A board certified clinical and research dermatologist, Perricone takes a holistic approach to skin care. As a pioneer in the field of the inflammation theory of aging, in which microscopic inflammation is thought to be the primary reason for premature aging. He takes a 3-pronged approach which includes diet, neutraceutical supplements, and skin care to tackle the issue. According to Dr. Perricone, following his antioxidant and DMAE-rich program will decrease inflammation, return skin to its healthy state, and diminish and prevent signs of aging. 

One thing to note is that the Perricone line relies very, very heavily on the use of DMAE, a firming compound found in fish oil. Thus, his approach advocates eating a lot of fish, particularly salmon, as well as taking fish oil capsules and using his DMAE-rich topical products. The issue at hand here is that DMAE is a controversial product. Although its ability to firm skin goes back to the 1990's, a recent (2007) study showed the potential for DMAE to actually cause skin cell damage. Essentially, short-term use of DMAE was deemed beneficial, whereas long-term use had the potential to result in even worse skin problems. Nonetheless, Perricone stands behind his love for DMAE, as do his followers, touting it as the end-all and be-all of skin care ingredients. 

Advanced Face Firming Activator is also rich in DMAE. The claim is that it will "transform skin to appear firm, toned, and absolutely glowing." Alas, I achieved none of these results. I don't really have a lot of sagging, but there are areas that could use a bit of lift. Plus, I'm always on the lookout for a good glow, sans sun! So I was really excited to try this product, imagining smooth, youthful, perfected skin. What I got, after a full 6 weeks of use, was my skin...the same as it had always been. Don't get me wrong...nothing had gotten any worse, but nothing had really improved, either. In fact, Advanced Face Firming Activator seemed to have no effect on my skin whatsoever. Nothing. It is good under makeup, but that's not enough to justify the insane $120 price tag!

Bottom Line: Although it claims to be the answer to your prayers, Advanced Face Firming Activator is pretty much a dud. Even with its impressive ingredient list (glycolic acid, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE), it failed to do me any good. Furthermore, DMAE is such a controversial ingredient that I'm at the point where I'm not even certain I want it on my skin. If you're in the market for a skin-perfecting firming treatment, look elsewhere. 


Karen Stauss said... .

I have been using several Perricone products since Thanksgiving and find myself completely underwhelmed with them. I'm using Cold Plasma Face, Cold Plasma Eye, Acyl-Glutathione, Vitamin C Esther Eye Serum, Serum Prep, Intensive Pore Minimizer and alternating High Potency Evening Repair with Concentrated Restorative Treatment. Aside from the pores on my nose virtually disappearing, I've seen absolutely no changes and this, as we both know, is a pricey line!

I'll use up what I have since I invested a pretty penny but no way would I repurchase.

January 8, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Shannon (Lipstick Musings) said... .

Karen, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I know you can't ACTUALLY expect miracles from a skin care product, but seriously--one would expect products that expensive and overhyped to do more than the average cream. Maybe we should chuck the Perricone stuff and just start eating more salmon...it'd be a lot cheaper! :)

January 9, 2012 at 10:10 AM

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