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I have to confess that I have a fascination for anti-aging guru Dr Perricone. He seems to be a walking oxymoron: he has afternoon soap opera looks, yet manages to be goofy; he is marketed as a serious academic, yet gives interviews in which he seems openly cynical; he is making a boat load of money on the back of ideas that you'd think would be deeply unappealing to the average American consumer (like eating salmon for breakfast).
So what credence can we give to Dr Perricone's anti-aging theories?
Dr Perricone was an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. This was an unpaid position and his contract was not renewed in 2002. Perricone told the Washington Post that Yale had been critical of his public appearances and theories. The same article reported that he then became an adjunct professor at Michegan State University's College of Human Medicine where he pledged $5m to establish the Perricone Division of Dermatology.
The ever candid Perricone admitted to the New York Times in 2001: "promise them an unlined face, and you can sell them anything."
In that spirit, he advocates eating fresh wild salmon up to three times a day to beat wrinkles on the grounds that it is high in Omega-3 and rich in DMEA. Now, leaving aside the fact that DMEA is largely unproven as an anti-ager, there are only 2 grams of DMEA per whole salmon. Hence the need to eat so much of it. And then there's the little problem of mercury levels. So it's not surprising that Dr Perricone's eponymous line of creams and supplements start to look like an attractive alternative.
Whilst diet is clearly important - that is, eating plenty of vegetables, fruit and not too much red meat - the Perricone diet is plain silly. "Perricone's claims seem like others in a long line of absurd claims based on some truths," says Robert Polisky, spokesperson for American Academy of Dermatology.
Several years ago I tried, for about a year, Perricone's vitamin C-based Amine Complex Face Lift and the Advanced Face Firming Activator. I found both made my skin extremely dry.