I have a grudging admiration for someone who decides to brand himself as 'the fish doctor' in the land of beef jerky. Given that the person in question also looks somewhat on the goofy side, this would seem to be a strategy doomed to failure. Not so. Nicholas Perricone MD has a successful cosmetic line and a small publishing industry-worth of books to his name. He may not have converted many Americans to eating salmon for breakfast every day, but he has a devoted following, including Copley's mom and now, after a month-long stint of trying Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy, me.

Well, I still wouldn't call myself a devotee, but I can report an extremely positive experience with his neck cream (which is just as well since it costs over $90). Almost from day one (which made me suspect that the effects might be the short-lived result of some silicones), my neck was smoother and silkier, with a much more even tone. After a month or so, my skin seems to be firmer, perhaps thicker.

As Copley pointed out the other day, Dr P has a handful of signature ingredients: alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C ester, DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), coenzyme q-10, L-carnitine fumerate, N-acetyl carnitine, neuropeptide, phosphatidyl-E, pycnogenol, omega-3, and astaxanthin.

Firming Neck Therapy is surprisingly bereft of most of these. In the case of DMAE, I am rather relieved by its absence since a British scientist claims it kills cells. And I am not very convinced by phosphatidyl-E, which only seems to exist in Perricone-land. The neck cream does have phosphatidylcholin and, if this is one and the same, then it is an ingredient that is supposed to break down fat cells. However, it is more commmonly used as an emulsifier. I haven't found out anything about it (other than words uttered by Perricone) that would make it an anti-aging standout.

Still, there are some very good ingredients, such as astaxanthin, which shouldn't be surprising as its the thing that makes Dr P's favorite fish pink. It is also an antioxidant as demonstrated by a Japanese study that concluded that protects against oxidative stress.  (although numerous claims that it is XX times more powerful than anything else known to human kind have yet to be verified, as far as I can tell). According to another Japanese study, it is a potent antioxidant.

Most everything else in Firming Neck Therapy is not on Dr P's hit-list. Nevertheless, there are some that perhaps should be. One of these taurine is an amino acid that loses its charm when you discover it is the main constituent of bile. Still, Wikipedia points to several studies that confirm its antioxidant potency.

Carnosine is one of the ingredients that I find most interesting. It is a combination of two amino acids (alanine and histidine) and it is supposed to extend the Hayflick Limit, allowing cells to reproduce for longer before they finally croak.

A new (for me) and notable is pyridoxamine dihydrochloride. This is in the vitamin B family and it inhibits the formation of advanced glycation end products (or AGE). Thank goodness. AGEs are particularly nasty things that can do bad things to people with diabetes. They are also responsible for aging and age-related diseases.

I won't be tucking into anything fishy for breakfast tomorrow, but I am now intrigued enough to order one of the books from Dr P's ever-expanding oeuvre.

Aqua (Water), Taurine, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phosphatidylcholine, Palmitoyl Carnosine, Ceteareth-20, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Pyridoxamine Dihydrochloride, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Resveratrol, Disodium EDTA, Pantethine, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Tocotrienols, Sorbic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Astaxanthin, Parfum (Fragrance