Reviewed by Emily

I am tempted to start Stop with some kind of cute pun…several come to mind (“Stop:  A No-Go”).  But let me be clear:  I really, really wanted my experiment with the Stop Tri-Pollar skin renewal device (www.stop-age.com) to work; I wanted amazing—or at least, noticeable—results; and I loved the idea of a clinical-quality treatment technology intended for home use.

It all started about eight weeks ago.  Marta produced a nifty box out of the Truth in Aging cache of tricks and treats, and asked me if I’d like to take Stop for a test drive.  She knows her customer:  I’ve had various dermatologist-office treatments (laser- and intense-light-based) in the past with good results, and I am always more than game to check out anything that might help my 54-year-old face look younger, firmer, fresher.  Marta’s only requirement was that I report back to TIA with my findings.  After diligently using the device for about seven weeks, at least two or three times a week for 12-15 minutes a session, as the product materials specify, I am reluctantly forced to conclude that it has done – well, nothing much, as far as I can tell.

Stop’s site says:  “STOP™ uses TriPollar™ Radio Frequency technology to gently heat the skin from inside. A warm, relaxing sensation is felt over the skin surface while the anti-ageing, therapeutic action is taking place in the deeper layers of the skin. This heat induces an increase in dermal activity resulting in the stimulation of collagen production and thickening of the dermis (the skin’s foundation) leading to visible skin tightening, firming and renewal.”  It further promises to “significantly reduce facial wrinkles and fine lines, providing you with improved skin texture and long lasting results.”

Specifically, Stop says, the poles on the working end of the Stop device deliver radio-frequency energy through the surface layer of the skin to both the deep and shallow dermis.  This heating effect causes collagen fibers to contract, and stimulates the further production of collagen.  Immediate effects, then, are said to be a tightening of the skin, and longer-term, the creation of a “thicker dermis layer that will provide better support to the skin while minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.”

Using Stop is no particular pleasure, but it’s certainly not brain surgery either—just boring, mostly.  The skin is first prepared by applying a layer of Stop’s (included) preparation gel.  The Stop wand, plugged in, is moved, repeatedly, in circular or elliptical motions over the entire face, section-by-section.  During this stage of treatment, an indicator light will flash; Stop says this means that the desired skin temperature has been reached.  After the 5-minute “warmup” stage, the indicator light should stay on; at that point one continues the treatment, still moving the device in circular or swooping motions over each section of the face, for another eight or ten minutes.  (I tried to pay particular attention to the trouble spots:  a couple of really deep horizontal lines on my forehead; the eye area; and those vertical lines running down from the nose.)  When time is up, rinse off the gel and apply the included after-treatment cream.

My verdict is that either the technology itself just doesn’t work (and I’m not capable of rendering judgment on the science), or that its implementation in a product meant for home use simply isn’t robust enough (maybe those pesky safety requirements?) to deliver the benefits of said science.  For starters, the power supply offers three power settings, and the instructions suggest beginning at the lowest setting.  I found that I didn’t feel any heat on my face without putting it on the highest setting.  Sometimes the device turned itself off—according to the instructions, this is a safety mechanism to avoid overheating a particular area—which I found extremely annoying when I finally noticed and had to turn it back on.  And the working end of the wand—the surface that moves over the face—is flat, with small protruding poles, which are meant to be in full contact with the face at all times.  But facial surfaces are irregular, and I wonder whether it just doesn’t really make effective contact.  Lastly, in my final few, frustrating attempts, the indicator, which previously had never stayed on consistently, simply never lit up at all (and how does it measure the temperature of the skin, rather than that of the device itself, anyway?) which made the process seem futile.

Whatever the answer—whether it’s over-hyped or merely under-powered—I can’t recommend Stop.  Even the most wishful squinting in the harsh light of my bathroom mirror doesn’t reveal any change in my skin.  Stop is now priced at 290 pounds, or about $465 at current exchange rates.  That wouldn’t be too high a price if it could replace even a few expensive doctor’s-office treatments.  But my experience suggests it doesn’t.

STOP™ Kit Includes:

STOP™ clinical skin renewal device – available in Classic Red, Elegant Black or Cool White, STOP™ Power Supply, STOP™ Electrical Outlet Adaptor, STOP™ Preparation Gel (50ml) - specifically formulated for use with the STOP™ device. While protecting the epidermis, the STOP™ Preparation Gel ensures delivery of the required energy into the deep layers of the skin  in order to heat the targeted area to the optimal treatment temperature whereby stimulating collagen production, STOP™ After Treatment Cream (50ml) - enriches your skin with the required nutrients and minerals that optimize and ensure long term results,  STOP™  User Manual and Instructional Movie, STOP™  Quick Reference Guide, STOP™  Warranty Policy; wherein the product is guaranteed for 2 years.