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Product Review: The New Dr. Perricone Cold Plasma Moisturizer

Posted Jan 11 2010 11:17am

By futurederm Monday January 11, 2010

With temperatures rather frigid in the northeast, you would think any possible benefits of cold for the skin would be said and done, but Perricone Cold Plasma ($149.99, is attempting to “freeze” ten signs of aging with its power of “biochemical individuality.”  So what is this cream, and does it work?  FutureDerm investigates…

If this cream has one thing going for it, the high concentration of tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (a relatively new form of vitamin C with high stability) is probably first on the list.  According to the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, vitamin C has many favorable aspects for the skin, including:

While many new creams contain tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, I have not found one with a concentration as high as in Perricone Cold Plasma before.  If I had to estimate, I would put the vitamin C content in this cream in the 10-15% range, which is high enough to be shown to elicit the aforementioned benefits for the skin.   One comment, however:  I don’t understand why Perricone Cold Plasma is packaged in a jar rather than an airtight pump or in capsules.  Although the vitamin C in the cream is more stable than traditional L-ascorbic acid, any antioxidant (including “more stable” ones) can lose its potency over time when exposed to air.    As such, if you choose to buy this product, open and close it quickly!

Peptides (oligopeptide-17 and palmitoyl oligoopeptide) are included in Perricone Cold Plasma because they have been shown in independent research studies to increase collagen production in fibroblasts.  Palmitoyl oligopeptide is a sequence of six amino acids that reads valine-glycine-valine-alanine-proline-glycine combined with a palmitic acid in order to increase penetration through the epidermis. A 2007 study in Dermatologic Therapy suggests that palmitoyl oligopeptide significantly stimulates human skin collagen production in fibroblasts, which may slow the degradation of collagen over time. On the other hand, palmitoyl oligopeptide has been found to down-regulate elastin expression, but considering that the elastin network naturally becomes faster-growing and less organized with age, this cannot be considered a negative.  

According to the Textbook of Cosmetic Dermatology, DMAE is a simple amino base and a synthetic analog of the B vitamin choline. In skin care products, DMAE is commonly used partially as a pH buffer, with a basic pH of approximately 10 in the unneutralized state. It has been shown in varied research studies to slightly reduce the appearance of wrinkles, to increase the firmness of the jawline, cheekbones, and undereye areas, and to plump the lips.  Despite a bad online reputation, DMAE seems to have a good safety profile, as the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology found no correlation between DMAE use and the incidence of erythema, peeling, dryness, itching, burning, or stinging, and the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology reports that DMAE has a good safety profile.

Phosphatidylcholines are a group of phospholipids that include choline as a headgroup.  In plain English, phosphatidylcholine is part of what makes up your cells.  For this reason, many dermatologists, including renowned derm Dr. Howard Murad, M.D., have proposed taking phosphatidylcholine in supplement form.  Some derms have used phosphatidylcholine injectables in place of lower lid blepharoplasty to reduce swelling, and there is talk of using the injectable in place of liposuction to reduce fat in tissues.  Yet there is limited research supporting phosphatidylcholine use in skin care, and its central use for now seems to be to increase the penetration of other ingredients.  However, a rather old study from Dermatological Research in 1979 has shown that topical phosphatidylcholine application can make the skin more photosensitive (i.e., more susceptible to sun damage), although this effect was noted to be removed by use of antioxidant vitamin E.  Therefore, considering the high concentration of antioxidant vitamin C and vitamin E (tocotrienols) in this product, it is highly unlikely that Perricone Cold Plasma makes the skin more susceptible to sun damage.  It is, however, worth noting for the future that other products containing phosphatidylcholine should not be used without accompanying antioxidants, at least until further research is done.

Biochemical individuality is a concept developed by the late world-renowned biochemist Roger Williams, Ph.D.  In short, the concept states that there are differing nutritional needs for optimal function among different people.  In a recent interview with Vanity Fair (amongst other sources), Dr. Perricone claims that Perricone Cold Plasma exhibits biochemical individuality, as the formula’s ionic suspension enables the skin cells to “select and utilize only those nutrients needed.”  Fair enough, but with all due respect to Dr. Perricone, I do not see how Perricone Cold Plasma has the ability to exhibit biochemical individuality more than any other nutrient-rich ionic suspension on the market today, unless he is referring to the high concentration of phosphatidylcholine, which increases absorption of ingredients into the skin.  

Biochemical individuality or not – and I guess it wouldn’t be a Perricone product if it didn’t have a fancy scientific marketing term attached to it – Perricone Cold Plasma is a solid product, with one of the highest concentrations of a stable form of vitamin C out there, and a high concentration of phosphatidylcholine to make sure gets to where it needs to go, slightly deeper in your skin.  Add in lower concentrations of peptides, DMAE, retinyl palmitate, and glycolic acid, and you have yourself one potent product.  If it had sunscreen and a lower price tag, this one would be a 10/10.  Product Rating:  7/10  (High concentration of proven-effective ingredients:  3/3.  Value for the money: 1.5/3.  New technology or unique formulation: 2.5/3.  Sunscreen: 0/1).  

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Phosphatidylcholine, Isopropyl Palmitate, L-Tyrosine, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Oligopeptide-17, Ceteareth-20, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Dimethyl MEA (DMAE), Docosahexaenoic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Saccaromyces Ferment, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Tocotrienols, Copper Gluconate, Polysorbate 20, Sorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Astaxanthin, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3

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