In the relentless and probably endless quest for the perfect lip plumper, providing instant gratification and long-term antiaging (the best I have found so far is Kaplan MD's Lip Treatment 20, $30 in the TIA shop), I recently alighted on Perricone MD's Lip Plumper ($35) and found it to be failing on the first count and dubious on the second.

The most convincing ingredient is a Dr Perricone favorite, Thioctic Acid, or alpha lipoic acid. This is an antioxidant that is readily transported through cellular membranes and helps to recycle other antioxidants, such as vitamin E or vitamin C. Thioctic Acid is also thought to serve as an anti-inflammatory by preventing the activation of NFk-B and cytokines from forming.

But there is also DMAE, Doc P's other signature and most controversial ingredient. A 2007 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology raised concerns about DMAE’s potential to damage skin cells. Dr. Guillaume Marceau, who co-presented the research, suggests that the anti-wrinkle effect of the compound may occur as a direct result of the damage suffered by the skin. When the cell becomes damaged, the skin thickens and appears "plumper". That's not really the lip plumper that I had in mind.

Tyramine HCI is perhaps included in the hope of it making the lips darker. It is an amine of the amino acid, tyrosine and is used in cosmetics and skin care products because of its ability to produce melanin, the chemical that produces color in the skin, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center. However, an animal study demonstrated that ingestion or topical application of tyrosine has no effect on melanogenesis [the creation of melanin], in part because the chemical pathway Tyrosine needs to function is complex and not accessed when this ingredient is applied topically.

In the same frenemy camp is pyridoxine HCl. This is the hydrochloride salt of Vitamin B6 and it seems to have a bit of a destructive streak. Studies showed reproductive effects when pyridoxine HCl was administered at very low doses, and brain and nervous system effects at low to moderate doses; cell mutation was caused in mammalian cells in vitro. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that it gave multiple patients allergic reactions.

Sorry Dr P, I just don't feel like kissing up to your lip plumper after all.

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Glyceryl Stearate, Urea, Sorbitol, Hexyl Laurate, PEG-20Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Tyramine HCl, Dimethyl MEA (DMAE), Oleic Acid, Thioctic Acid (Alpha Lipoic Acid), Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methylparaben (and) Propylparaben, Zinc Sulfate, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Ubiquinone, Pyridoxine HCl, Pantethine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Saccharide, Flavor