In an era when facial wrinkles are more of a choice than an inevitability, some brave men and women forgo Botox injections and lifts in lieu of being able to actually move their faces. However, while they may nobly live on with the lines between their eyebrows, you’re hard-pressed to find an individual who embraces their notoriously-stubborn turkey waddle.
Enter Cold Plasma Sub-D by Perricone, a treatment specifically designed to combat a falling chin and wavering jawline—potentially saving our generation from turtlenecks, high collars, and suffocating scarves.
Part of the Perricone MD skincare range, Cold Plasma was developed by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist made famous for spearheading the trend of medical experts creating and endorsing their own products.
Can Cold Plasma Sub-D really tighten and lift the area that some unaffectionately call “the drop zone,” or are we still damned to droop? We’ll take a look at Dr. Perricone’s neck rejuvenation treatment to find out.
What Does Cold Plasma Sub-D Claim To Do?
The key selling point of Cold Plasma Sub-D is that it reduces signs of a sagging neck and double chin. The product, which Perricone claims is the first of its kind, promises to sculpt loose skin so that you’re tightened and refreshed from jawline to décolleté.
By addressing visible signs of aging along the jawline, chin, and neck area, Cold Plasma Sub-D claims that consistent use will minimize the look of wrinkles and ring lines along the contours of the neck, imparting a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Purchasing Cold Plasma Sub-D
If you want to purchase Perricone’s Cold Plasma Sub-D through SubD.com, you’re forced to purchase a skincare kit.
Not only does the brand’s official website strong-arm potential shoppers into choosing a multi-product kit, any purchase automatically signs you up for their auto-ship program.
What’s an auto-ship program?
Approximately four weeks after your first order is shipped, and then approximately every 12 weeks thereafter, you will be sent a new 90-day supply of Cold Plasma Sub-D. Each shipment will be charged to the card you provide at purchase.
That’s right, without any further action on your part, purchasing Cold Plasma Sub-D means that approximately every four weeks you’ll be charged $79.95, plus $3.99 for shipping and handling—unless you call 1-800-567-0287to cancel, that is.
Before you brush off the complication of being forced into an auto-ship program, understand that these commitments are more toxic than a cell phone contract: Sure, they deliver your goods on a regular basis. But, more often than not, you end up paying for way more than you use.
Ready to place an order?
Unfortunately, this section of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s website is downright painful. Seriously, what’s going on here? The home page looks like a glossy magazine. However, should you try to make a purchase, you’re forced to navigate text larger than a preschooler’s first attempt at the alphabet.
If you have the patience to navigate road sign-size text, you can choose between two purchasing options:
- Face & Neck Firming Collection ($49.95): Includes Cold Plasma Sub-D and High Potency Amine Face Lift Treatment
- Cold Plasma Sub-D Face, Eye & Neck System ($79.95): Includes everything in the Face & Neck Firming Collection, with the addition of High Potency Eye Lift, Face Finishing Moisturizer, and High Potency Evening Repair
Regardless of which kit you choose, each purchase includes free standard shipping. You’ll also receive a free, high-potency amine face lift treatment and the Blue Plasma Collection with each order.
In case you’re not impressed with the firming results delivered by Cold Plasma Sub-D, each purchase is protected by a 60-day money back guarantee, less shipping and handling charges.
If you’d prefer to purchase through a third-party retailer, avoiding Perricone MD’s auto-ship program altogether, Cold Plasma Sub-D is also available through Sephora, Ulta, Amazon.com, Nordstrom, QVC, and more.
How Does Cold Plasma Sub-D Supposedly Work?
Ripped straight from the Cold Plasma Sub-D website:
“Cold Plasma Sub-D utilizes powerful ingredients suspended in Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s revolutionary delivery system and proprietary technology, including DMAE, to create a total neck rejuvenation treatment for the appearance of increased firmness to the jawline, chin and neck.”
Let’s get this straight: powerful ingredients, a revolutionary delivery system, and proprietary technology? So much for Perricone’s claims of revealing the “science behind Cold Plasma Sub-D.”
Notice the wording: Cold Plasma Sub-D is a “treatment for the appearance of increased firmness”—it’s the word “appearance” that should make you check any expectations of lasting improvement at the door.
But, before we apply research, logic, and FDA regulations to our assessment of Cold Plasma Sub-D, let’s list the anti-aging cream’s other gold-star ingredients:
- Alpha lipoic acid, claimed to brighten and nourish
- Concentrated levels of caffeine, claimed to impart a chiseled appearance
It should be noted that neither of those two are high up enough to make the top ten of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s list of ingredients (located at the bottom of the page)—indicating that the product doesn’t contain particularly potent levels of either.
Shoppers with sensitive skin may find that what Cold Plasma Sub-D is formulated without is of equal importance. The product doesn’t include any parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.
However, for a brand who’s tagline is “The Science of Aging Beautifully,” Perricone MD dishes out a pretty small serving of science to validate the mechanisms that make Cold Plasma Sub-D work. Nonetheless, we’ll take what’s given and examine Cold Plasma Sub-D’s claims of imparting a chiseled chin off the three listed ingredients: DMAE, alpha lipoic acid, and concentrated caffeine.
First, What Makes A Wattle Sag
Before we dive into the effectiveness of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s ingredients, you should know that tightening an aging neck isn’t a simple process. In fact, the area presents a threefold problem.
First, you’ve got muscles that sag naturally with age, potentially bearing the burden of bulging fat. The skin on your neck is thinner than anywhere else on your body, save for your eyelids, making the area particularly prone to wrinkling and crepe-ing.
If those two weren’t enough, a veritable Bermuda Triangle of aging doom is created by your platysma. Oh yeah, the platysma—that thin, ropey muscle you can see splitting into a V-like formation of two cords. Did you know that it increasingly protrudes as they contract and release throughout your lifetime?
Basically, your neck was doomed from the get go.
In fact, it’s those three factors—sagging muscles, thin skin, and ropey platysma—that make your neck one of the first places to show signs of aging. Combined, they also make the neck a particularly difficult area to treat. W Magazine describes trying to battle your sagging wattle with lotions and potions alone, like “waging a two-front war on a sheet of thin ice.”
Before we get suture-happy, let’s examine the ingredients in Cold Plasma Sub-D to determine if Perricone’s cream can effectively combat a sagging wattle.
The Science Behind Cold Plasma Sub-D
Cold Plasma Sub-D contains many of the same ingredients Perricone uses in his other products—including DMEA, which has its share of controversies.
DMAE: Is It Dangerous?
What kinds of controversies surround DMAE? This article by Smart Skincare does a fantastic job detailing the substance’s history and applications, so we’ll lean on their research to summarize the risks.
First, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between topical treatments that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and those that can affect sagging skin—as Cold Plasma Sub-D claims to do.
That’s because topicals with tretinoin (such as Retin-A) have been consistently shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in some people. But, as Smart Skincare states, no topical treatment has yet been proven to affect sagging skin.
So, how does DMAE, short for dimethylaminoethanol, fit into a facial regimen if no ingredient has been proved to sculpt the sag?
While the DMAE molecule can’t produce anything near the tightening achieved by a facelift, Perricone isn’t all hot air: DMAE may, indeed, be the first agent proven in a study to have at least some positive effect on facial sag.
Before you excessively protrude your platysma in excitement, know that DMAE’s effect on skin is far less researched than it’s other uses facilitating neurotransmitters. Basically, no one yet knows how DMAE firms the skin—much less if it does so consistently.
Research shows that even when DMAE does reduce sagging skin, the results are never dramatic. Additionally, DMAE can’t reverse existing sag, it’s only hypothesized to prevent future wattles—which puts a dent in Perricone’s promise to sculpt your jiggly jawline.
Cold Plasma Sub-D’s Other Ingredients
Lipoic acid has been shown to slow signs of aging some animal experiments; however, the micronutrient’s effects were measured when digested in the form of the leafy greens, from which it’s naturally found.
Science Daily reports that when consumed, either in its fresh farm-to-plate natural state or in a supplement, lipoic acid does appear to help restore a cellular "signaling" process that tends to break down in older blood vessels. Additionally, it can reduce mitochondrial decay in cells—a process which is closely linked to the symptoms of aging.
While lipoic acid might help halt the slow breakdown of cells as we age, caffeine is an established pick-me-up for more than your morning mood. From coffee grounds in cellulite lotions to firming under eye creams, caffeine is proven to provide a temporary boost to skin. However, just like your morning cup of coffee, the effects are short-lived—skin that’s been perked up will likely sag again by mid-afternoon.
Cold Plasma Sub-D: Advanced Science Or Scam?
Despite having established that sagging neck skin is particularly difficult to treat—and that Perricone keeps many of the mechanisms which could support his claims of efficacy under wraps—the three Cold Plasma Sub-D ingredients listed are supported by anti-aging studies as at least potentially useful.
But, what does that mean for you, as a consumer? Will using Cold Plasma Sub-D allow you to throw out your turtleneck and scarf collections, much less make repeated neck motions with wild abandon?
Let’s examine the evidence:
The chemists at The Beauty Brains, an online resource dedicated to answering consumer’s questions, were asked point-blank if expensive skin-tightening lotions really worked—with the reader specifically mentioning Dr. Perricone’s brands.
“Skin tightening lotions are a scam. The best performance you can expect from this kind of product is a temporary tightening feel if the product contains film forming agents. And even this marginal effect is not very long lasting.”
In fact, The Beauty Brains has called out Perricone’s brands in three other separate episodes of their podcast, calling the brand’s products overpriced, over-promised, and ineffective.
The Cosmetics Cop at Paula’s Choice is equally dismissive of Perricone’s claims in her response to a reader’s question:
“I actually don't know where to begin when discussing the nature of Perricone's work. In many ways this embodies some of the worst elements of what is taking place in the world of dermatology (starting with Dr. Murad of infomercial fame), namely using the cloak of medical expertise to promote the sale of skin-care products. The physician allure attributes medical connotations to products that end up not being different in any significant way from other skin-care products being sold from many lines without a doctor's endorsement.”
Both The Beauty Brains and the Cosmetics Cop criticize Perricone for selling products that are over-priced. How overpriced?
According to Smart Skincare’s report on DMAE:
“A number of skin care companies sell DMAE creams, most costing upward of $25 for a small jar. The prices reflect the hype and relative lack of competition from "supermarket" brands.
DMAE itself is a rather simple substance, no more costly than alpha hydroxy acids or aspirin. Besides, DMAE does not need special stabilization like vitamin C, and it is easy to disperse in a topical vehicle. Based on purely economic and manufacturing considerations, a DMAE cream should cost well under $10.”
And if the realization that Cold Plasma Sub-D is being sold for seven times its approximate worth doesn’t turn you off of purchasing, the Cosmetics Cop brings hits one final nail in this product’s coffin: The jar Cold Plasma Sub-D is packaged in? According to the experts at Paula’s Choice, it can’t even keep the cream’s anti-aging ingredients stable for long after you’ve opened it.
That’s a shame but especially so for a moisturizer that costs this much. In the end, Cold Plasma Sub-D isn’t worth your time or money. If you’re tempted by Perricone’s claims, remember his classic quote from the doctor as seen in a November 18, 2001 New York Times article: ‘If you promise them an unlined face, you can sell them anything!’.
Bottom Line On Cold Plasma Sub-D
Whether or not Cold Plasma Sub-D is “worth it” is subjective: Perhaps you don’t mind dropping over $50 on a cream just to try or maybe its consistency and ingredients compliment your complexion.
However, if one were to judge Perricone’s product simply by how well it delivers on promises, the evidence leaves giving this cream the cold shoulder.
Have you tried Dr. Perricone’s Cold Plasma Sub-D? Share your experience in the comments below!