The no-knife facelift: How one doctor claims he can reverse the ageing process without surgery or needles

By Claire Coleman
Last updated at 4:03 PM on 29th September 2008

It’s the issue that has been plaguing us for centuries. Now one doctor claims he can reverse the ageing process without surgery or needles…

When it comes to top-of-the-range skincare and a straight-talking, holistic approach to looking and feeling younger, Dr Nicholas Perricone is the man for a host of Park Avenue princesses and Hollywood’s leading ladies.

But while most dermatologists accept that their job is to try to minimise the effects of ageing, Dr Perricone’s turns traditional thinking on its head.

Far from seeing wrinkles and sagging skin as an inevitable result of getting older, he argues that ageing is actually a disease.

Unconventional: Dr Nicholas Perricone argues that ageing is a disease

‘As controversial as that might sound, I truly believe ageing is a progressive inflammatory disease that occurs at a cellular level and, as such, you can fight it,’ he says.

He’s not claiming to hold the secret of eternal life, but he does believe that the physical degeneration associated with ageing is largely preventable – and he’s managed to convince some influential ladies that he has a point.

With a celebrity fan base said to include Cate Blanchett, Kim Cattrall, Uma Thurman and Julia Roberts, the Perricone brand is big business.

He first hit the headlines in the early Noughties with his books The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription, which claimed that a diet rich in salmon and berries could help you look younger within as little as three days.

This anti-inflammatory diet, rich in lean proteins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, is just one of the keystones of the Perricone approach. The other two are potent antioxidant supplements and the doctor’s range of anti-inflammatory topical skincare.

Despite eight more books and a constantly expanding range of products, Perricone isn’t resting on his laurels. Over the past few years, he has been analysing what makes people look young, and conversely what makes them look old.

‘What really gives the appearance of age is loss of convexity on the face,’ he says. ‘When you’re looking at a youthful face, what you see is curves and volume – the forehead curves out, the mouth protrudes, there’s volume in the cheeks and in the temples.

‘With age, we lose muscle mass and subcutaneous fat so those convexities flatten and eventually become concave. We’ve realised that ageing is less about lines and wrinkles and more about tissue loss.’

Perricone is not the only skincare expert to recognise this – more and more surgeons and dermatologists have started incorporating volume-boosting fillers into their procedures.

But the rapid growth in the popularity of Botox and fillers in recent years concerns him.

‘I’m worried about the constant procedures, whether they’re injectables or surgical,’ he says.

‘They all cause inflammation and trauma and I’m not sure this is the best strategy for maintaining a youthful face.

‘The problem with science is that there’s a flavour of the month and people get excited, and a lot of it is driven by economics.

Wrinkles and sagging skin are not an inevitable result of getting older, says Dr Perricone

‘If you’re a dermatologist, you make money by doing procedures, so you’re injecting fillers of various kinds, doing various surgical procedures and injecting toxins that paralyse muscles. I think people have to use some common sense.

‘Look at someone who is paraplegic and has no muscle tone – their legs are like twigs, they waste away. The same thing happens to the muscles of the face when you inject them with a neurotoxin, so that’s a bad strategy – you’re flattening the face, which is the opposite of what you want to do. You won’t have any lines, but you won’t actually look any younger.’

If Perricone is to be believed, by the end of next year there will be a viable alternative to the hugely popular injectables.

His latest master plan is a four-step, noninvasive approach that he claims can give you the sort of results you can get from Botox and fillers, but without needles or knives.

Perricone claims that someone following his programme for eight to 12 weeks would genuinely look ten years younger at the end of it.

It sounds too good to be true and you won’t be able to put his claims to the test until his new product line launches, but if you want an exclusive preview of what the future of anti-ageing holds, and a practical guide to how you can start to reverse the signs of ageing right now, read on.


No surprise that diet is one of the founding principles of Perricone’s latest plan.

‘Good underlying bone structure and muscle mass are the foundations of a youthful face,’ says Perricone.

‘Loss of muscle mass is the result of inflammation, so an anti-inflammatory diet that helps maintain muscle mass and prevent osteopenia (a weakening of the bones) is essential.’

However, one of the other issues with age is that the subcutaneous fat that plumps out the skin is lost, so the diet also has to include nutrients that will help maintain, and promote, these fat levels.

Based on the Perricone Prescription, this means lots of high quality protein, (wild Alaskan salmon, free-range chicken, shellfish and tofu) essential for cellular repair and the building blocks of muscle tissue.

Julia Roberts

The Perricone brand: Dr Perricone’s fan base is said to include Julia Roberts, pictured here attending the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ last year

Low glycemic index fruit and veg ( blueberries, broccoli, spinach) keep blood sugar levels stable and supply the antioxidants that neutralise the free radicals that cause cellular damage, and essential fatty acids (found in fish, nuts and seeds) provide fuel for cellular energy.

In addition, Perricone suggests antioxidant supplements, such as alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, pycnogenol, co-enzyme Q10 and astraxanthin, as well as nutrients that help redensify bones, such as calcium, magnesium, boron, silica and vitamin K2.


Perricone is convinced that the key to youth and beauty lies in muscle mass – while the rest of the world is intent on paralysing facial muscles, he wants to build them up.

‘When I started to work with a lot of celebrities, I was fascinated by what made them look so glamorous. Were they just genetically different to the rest of us?

‘I realised that what made the difference was the muscle mass in their faces, the soft tissue on their cheeks and chin.

‘If you look at someone like Angelina Jolie, she has these beautiful apples in her cheeks – they’re the result of the muscles in the face.’

And, according to Perricone, you, too, could look like her. In the same way that you can make sagging, flat pectorals look pert, firm and curved by doing lots of bench presses, you can exercise the muscles of the face to create Angelina-style cheeks.

However, exercising your face muscles effectively requires electro-stimulation – essentially running a micro-current to the facial muscles which causes them to contract, firming the muscles and consequently making them bigger.

‘Using electro-stimulation, I can give anyone this sort of a look,’ says Perricone.

‘And, if someone is slightly lopsided, as many people are, I can balance them out by building up one side of their face more than the other.’

If you can’t wait for a treatment from the man himself (and you’re about as likely to be able to get a highly sought-after appointment with him as you are to find him eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal), he believes that a CACI Ultra (from £75 for 75 minutes) salon treatment once a month is a step in the right direction.

If you’re more of a DIY type, you might want to have a look at the Tua Viso (RRP £199), a handheld gadget developed in Italy. It’s not endorsed by Perricone, but it works in a similar way to CACI and has had positive reviews.


The third weapon in Dr Perricone’s antiageing arsenal is light. He’s been waxing lyrical about the benefits of light therapy and its ability to reverse the signs of ageing for years, but his latest trick is to develop a unit for home use.

Light Renewal, a handheld device, has just gone on sale in the U.S. (retailing at around £180), and there are plans to bring it to Britain before the end of the year.

‘This light isn’t laser light, it’s red light [much less intense than a laser], at various frequencies, which has been shown to help rejuvenate the structures of the skin,’ he says.

Light therapy

Light therapy: Pure beams of cold light and colours may help regenerate the skins cells

‘Free radicals and inflammation damage the collagen and elastin in the skin, causing it to look saggy and uneven, but the light we use stimulates the fibroblasts to produce more elastin and collagen.

‘This works to thicken the skin and as a result you get rid of fine lines, begin plumping up the skin and see knock-on effects, such as eyelids being lifted and skin losing that crepey look.’

He recommends using the Light Renewal device for 20 minutes a day for four days a week and claims that patients will start to see a visible difference within three to seven weeks.


Lastly, and perhaps most excitingly, Perricone is in the process of bringing a number of creams to the market that he claims will help tone muscles and build subcutaneous fat.

His line already includes products that contain DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), a naturally occurring substance that is found in human nerve tissue and in certain types of seafood.

When applied topically, it is said to improve muscle tone and diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Set to hit the market next year are new products which Perricone claims will be able to increase the levels of subcutaneous fat in the skin by transporting the necessary nutrients directly to the fat cells, encouraging renewal and growth.

‘We’re waiting to get clearance from the FDA (the U.S. body that regulates the cosmetics industry) to use the active ingredients we want to use, as they have not been used in cosmetics before,’ he says.

‘We’ve done some initial tests on the products and, using ultrasound to measure the levels of subcutaneous fat before and after, we’ve been able to see that it does work in the way that we hoped it would.’

Anti aging center uses Microcurrent to treat aging skin

Baby boomers concerned about those inevitable lines and wrinkles that come with age now have another local treatment option.

Sharon Hladik, a licensed esthetician, has opened The Anti-Aging Skin Clinique at 40 Woodstock Avenue.

Unlike Botox treatments that require needle injections, Hladik offers non-invasive, alternative treatments to help reduce signs of aging.

Hladik uses various natural methods for body cleansing or detoxification, which includes the removal of stored toxic products from the blood, bowel, liver, kidneys and a significant amount stored in body fat.

The non-evasive treatment starts with what’s called micro-current therapy. Hladik said it’s a natural treatment that involves the delivery of micro current to the face and body using conducting wands that are applied to acupuncture points.

She said the method eliminates toxins in the skin, helping to speed cellular metabolism and increase the body chemical that fuels cells by as much as 500 percent and reconstituting the two major proteins in the skin, collagen and elastin.

Hladik said that her treatment is especially desirable for people who want to avoid the evasive procedure that accompanies Botox treatments. But unlike botox, she said her micro-current treatment isn’t a quick fix. “It’s just that it takes longer over time but is safe and effective,” said Hladik, a graduate of the Artistic Academy of Hair & Aesthetics in Morris Plains, N.J.

She said her clients typically undergo 10 to 15 weekly sessions. That’s followed by booster sessions every six to eight weeks.

Clients also have to do their part through diet and exercise, she said.

Hladik said most of her clients are part of the baby boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964.

“Men and women are concerned about their looks,” she said. “We live in a very vain world.”

The Anti-Aging Skin Clinque offers a foot cleanse with micro-current ionic stimulation. It’s a half-hour foot bath that helps release toxins from the body. Hladik also provides nutritional assessments, facials, body waxing, eyelash and brow tinting, massage and reflexology.

Fat burning Microcurrent used in weight loss

With the holidays quickly approaching, some of us may be thinking of ways to look great for social gatherings that may come up.  For women there’s Spanks, Shape FX and many other body contouring items to help us look great in our clothing.

Unfortunately there’s nothing really for men.  But that can possibly change. 

This 26-year-old juggles being a wife, mom, and full-time college student.  On the brink of a new career, she’s taking on an attempt at a new body transformation.

“I’ve considered plastic surgery in the past but didn’t know when I could ever have it done.”

But what she’s on the verge of trying is different.  You see the Transformation Clinic claims to melt away your fat anywhere on your body, from the knees up.  It requires no downtime due to the use of micro-current technology.

How does it work?

Don Shanklin of the Transformation Clinic said, “The first part of the procedure is to liquefy the fat and the contents go thru a cell wall of the body.  Then you excrete it through the natural process.”

The second part of the session tones muscle.  And after one hour doctors say it’s almost like you just left the gym.

“You’ll have done the equivalent of 1000 sit ups.”

What about pain and discomfort?  It varies among the sexes.

“He didn’t like the first part.  I think with women being the ones to bear the babies we can take the pain,” said specialist Linda Shanklin.

“It wasn’t painful,” said this male client.

And after nine sessions of body contouring the results, “Girlfriend, you have lost 17 and a half inches.  Oh my gosh.”

The client lost eight inches off her upper waist, nine around her waist and a half of an inch around her lower.

“I’m very happy with it.  I don’t have the rectangle body.  I have an hour glass.  I can tell there is a major difference.”

She did reshape her body, but only lost five pounds.  What’s more important?  You decide.

Four Seasons Resorts Hawaii offers NuFace Microcurrent Facial Toning & Anti Aging Treatments

HONOLULU, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ — Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i made a clean sweep in taking the top four spots in the Conde Nast Traveler “Readers’ Choice Awards” (November 2008 issue.) Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele and Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay placed respectively numbers one through four in the Hawai’i category of the prestigious reader’s poll. Maui, Hualalai and The Lodge at Koele also respectively placed as numbers 12, 38 and 94 in the “Best of the Best” category, highlighting the top 100 hotels and resorts in the world.To celebrate this accolade, Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i highlights new spa experiences and special promotional offers. As confirmed by Conde Nast Traveler readers, Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i are among the world’s most beautiful resorts, renowned for their stunning locations and attentive service. Each resort also offers extraordinary spa experiences to pamper and rejuvenate.

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea: Senior Spa Director Pat Makozak recommends guests experience the recently introduced NuFace Facial Toning Treatment, a new addition to the popular “Poolside Tapas Spa Treatment Menu” which utilizes a compact micro-current hand-held device that safely and effectively lifts, and tones the facial muscles and skin producing immediate anti-aging results. The NuFace Facial Toning Treatment increases collagen, elastin, and circulation; all in the comfort of your poolside chaise lounge, complete with unparalleled view. This newly renovated resort offers its 5th Night Free promotion through December 18, 2008, followed by its 6th Night Free promotion from January 4, 2009 through March 19, 2009, with nightly room rates from $640.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu: In mid December 2008, a new spa experience, grounded in island healing practices, will be revealed at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Kupuna (island elders) and wellness practitioners shared their wisdom to give the spa experience a genuine sense of place. When the spa is completed, signature treatments will use native plant and mineral resources; there will be an apothecary to custom-blend oils; complimentary pre-treatment spa rituals in the new Waiea (Water of Life) Garden; new relaxation areas for men and women; and a Couples treatment hale with its own plunge pool. The resort’s Bed & Breakfast package is offered through December 18, 2008; and again from January 5, 2009, with night room rates from $725.

Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele: Spa Manager Teresa Blackwell invites guests to experience the new Banyan Spa Suite, opened in September. The exclusive use suite captures the essence of The Lodge at Koele, offering the couple or individual a true private spa experience. The private treatment room features a relaxation room, double massage beds and a private bathroom with a rain shower. An 80-minute Hot Lava Shell Massage or traditional Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage are favorites of those seeking deep muscle therapy, combined with the art and tradition of Hawaiian massage. The Lodge is offering its 4th Night Free promotion through March 19th, 2009, with nightly room rates from $345.

Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay: Spa Manager Teresa Blackwell suggests guests spend part of their extra day in The Spa with the new custom blended perfume experience. During the session, the guest is presented a series of olfactory “tastings,” in which preferences for scents are recognized. These organic and wild-crafted ingredients from around the world are then custom-blended to create a private and unique perfume for the guest. This scent can also be blended into oils and lotions to be used in the guest’s spa treatments to continue the harmonious and relaxing experience. The Resort is offering its 4th Night Free promotion now through March 19th, 2009, with nightly room rates from $445.

“The spas at our resorts are elemental to the guest experience. Especially now, the opportunity to further escape from the ‘real world’ is something our guests are enjoying more and more,” said Thomas Steinhauer, regional vice president of Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i. “The selection of treatments offered at our spas ranges from pampering to therapeutic, cosmetic to holistic – all of them giving our guests another beautiful memory of their stay with us.”

Complimentary night offers must be used in conjunction with initial stay of consecutive paid nights, cannot be combined with any other offer, package or promotion and does not apply to groups. A minimum night stay is required as implied in the property promotion, and room categories are subject to availability. All reservations must be made in advance and certain blackout periods apply and may vary by property. Rates are subject to change and are per room; per night and rate exclude taxes and gratuities.


Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i, with locations on the islands of Hawai’i, Lana’i and Maui are four of the world’s most beautiful resorts, and the finest collection of luxury resorts in the Hawaiian Islands. Many guests travel between the resorts, as each offers unique experiences. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu offers the essence of Hawai’i’s golden age; Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele defines a sophisticated upcountry lodge experience; Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay offers the private island beach experience and Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea presents chic, sophisticated Hawai’i. The resorts work with guests to encourage “island-hopping” to experience the best Hawai’i has to offer, at Four Seasons Resorts Hawai’i.