Perricone Cold Plasma Sub-D Review: Does It Really Work?

By Autumn Yates
HighYa Staff
Published on: Apr 16, 2014

In an era when facial wrinkles are more of a choice than an inevitability, some brave men and women forgo Botox injections and lifts in lieu of being able to actually move their faces. However, while they may nobly live on with the lines between their eyebrows, you’re hard-pressed to find an individual who embraces their notoriously-stubborn turkey waddle.

Enter Perricone Cold Plasma Sub-D, a treatment specifically designed to combat a falling chin and wavering jawline—potentially saving our generation from turtlenecks, high collars, and suffocating scarves.

Part of the Perricone MD skincare range, Cold Plasma was developed by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist made famous for spearheading the trend of medical experts creating and endorsing their own products.

Can Cold Plasma Sub-D really tighten and lift the area that some unaffectionately call “the drop zone,” or are we still damned to droop? We’ll take a look at Dr. Perricone’s neck rejuvenation treatment to find out.

What Does Cold Plasma Sub-D Claim To Do?

The key selling point of Cold Plasma Sub-D is that it reduces signs of a sagging neck and double chin. The product, which Perricone claims is the first of its kind, promises to sculpt loose skin so that you’re tightened and refreshed from jawline to décolleté.

By addressing visible signs of aging along the jawline, chin, and neck area, Cold Plasma Sub-D claims that consistent use will minimize the look of wrinkles and ring lines along the contours of the neck, imparting a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Purchasing Cold Plasma Sub-D

If you want to purchase Perricone’s Cold Plasma Sub-D through, you’re forced to purchase a skincare kit.

Not only does the brand’s official website strong-arm potential shoppers into choosing a multi-product kit, any purchase automatically signs you up for their auto-ship program.

What’s an Auto-Ship program?

Approximately four weeks after your first order is shipped, and then approximately every 12 weeks thereafter, you will be sent a new 90-day supply of Cold Plasma Sub-D. Each shipment will be charged to the card you provide at purchase.

That’s right, without any further action on your part, purchasing Cold Plasma Sub-D means that approximately every four weeks you’ll be charged $79.95, plus $3.99 for shipping and handling—unless you call 1-800-567-0287to cancel, that is.

Before you brush off the complication of being forced into an auto-ship program, understand that these commitments are more toxic than a cell phone contract: Sure, they deliver your goods on a regular basis. But, more often than not, you end up paying for way more than you use.

Ready to Place an Order?

Unfortunately, this section of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s website is downright painful. Seriously, what’s going on here? The home page looks like a glossy magazine. However, should you try to make a purchase, you’re forced to navigate text larger than a preschooler’s first attempt at the alphabet.

If you have the patience to navigate road sign-size text, you can choose between two purchasing options:

  • Face & Neck Firming Collection ($49.95): Includes Cold Plasma Sub-D and High Potency Amine Face Lift Treatment.

  • Cold Plasma Sub-D Face, Eye & Neck System ($79.95): Includes everything in the Face & Neck Firming Collection, with the addition of High Potency Eye Lift, Face Finishing Moisturizer, and High Potency Evening Repair.

Regardless of which kit you choose, each purchase includes free standard shipping. You’ll also receive a free, high-potency amine face lift treatment and the Blue Plasma Collection with each order.

In case you’re not impressed with the firming results delivered by Cold Plasma Sub-D, each purchase is protected by a 60-day money back guarantee, less shipping and handling charges.

If you’d prefer to purchase through a third-party retailer, avoiding Perricone MD’s auto-ship program altogether, Cold Plasma Sub-D is also available through Sephora, Ulta,, Nordstrom, QVC, and more.

How Does Cold Plasma Sub-D Supposedly Work?

Taken straight from the Cold Plasma Sub-D website:

“Cold Plasma Sub-D utilizes powerful ingredients suspended in Dr. Nicholas Perricone’s revolutionary delivery system and proprietary technology, including DMAE, to create a total neck rejuvenation treatment for the appearance of increased firmness to the jawline, chin and neck.”

Let’s get this straight: powerful ingredients, a revolutionary delivery system, and proprietary technology? So much for Perricone’s claims of revealing the “science behind Cold Plasma Sub-D.”

Notice the wording: Cold Plasma Sub-D is a “treatment for the appearance of increased firmness”—it’s the word “appearance” that should make you check any expectations of lasting improvement at the door.

But, before we apply research, logic, and FDA regulations to our assessment of Cold Plasma Sub-D, let’s list the anti-aging cream’s other gold-star ingredients:

  • Alpha lipoic acid, claimed to brighten and nourish
  • Concentrated levels of caffeine, claimed to impart a chiseled appearance

It should be noted that neither of those two are high up enough to make the top ten of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s list of ingredients (located at the bottom of the page)—indicating that the product doesn’t contain particularly potent levels of either.

Shoppers with sensitive skin may find that what Cold Plasma Sub-D is formulated without is of equal importance. The product doesn’t include any parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

However, for a brand whose tagline is “The Science of Aging Beautifully,” Perricone MD dishes out a pretty small serving of science to validate the mechanisms that make Cold Plasma Sub-D work. Nonetheless, we’ll take what’s given and examine Cold Plasma Sub-D’s claims of imparting a chiseled chin off the three listed ingredients: DMAE, alpha lipoic acid, and concentrated caffeine.

What Makes Neck Skin Sag

Before we dive into the effectiveness of Cold Plasma Sub-D’s ingredients, you should know that tightening an aging neck isn’t a simple process. In fact, the area presents a threefold problem.

First, you’ve got muscles that sag naturally with age, potentially bearing the burden of bulging fat. The skin on your neck is thinner than anywhere else on your body, save for your eyelids, making the area particularly prone to wrinkling and crepey-ing.

If those two weren’t enough, a veritable Bermuda Triangle of aging doom is created by your platysma. Oh yeah, the platysma—that thin, ropey muscle you can see splitting into a V-like formation of two cords. Did you know that it increasingly protrudes as they contract and release throughout your lifetime?

Basically, your neck was doomed from the get-go.

In fact, it’s those three factors—sagging muscles, thin skin, and ropey platysma—that make your neck one of the first places to show signs of aging. Combined, they also make the neck a particularly difficult area to treat. W Magazine describes trying to battle your sagging wattle with lotions and potions alone, like “waging a two-front war on a sheet of thin ice.”

Before we get suture-happy, let’s examine the ingredients in Cold Plasma Sub-D to determine if Perricone’s cream can effectively combat a sagging wattle.

The Science Behind Cold Plasma Sub-D

Cold Plasma Sub-D contains many of the same ingredients Perricone uses in his other products—including DMEA, which has its share of controversies.

DMAE: Is It Dangerous?

What kinds of controversies surround DMAE? This article by Smart Skincare does a fantastic job detailing the substance’s history and applications, so we’ll lean on their research to summarize the risks.

First, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between topical treatments that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and those that can affect sagging skin—as Cold Plasma Sub-D claims to do.

That’s because topicals with tretinoin (such as Retin-A) have been consistently shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in some people. But, as Smart Skincare states, no topical treatment has yet been proven to affect sagging skin.

So, how does DMAE, short for dimethylaminoethanol, fit into a facial regimen if no ingredient has been proved to sculpt the sag?

While the DMAE molecule can’t produce anything near the tightening achieved by a facelift, Perricone isn’t all hot air: DMAE may, indeed, be the first agent proven in a study to have at least some positive effect on facial sag.

Before you excessively protrude your platysma in excitement, know that DMAE’s effect on skin is far less researched than it’s other uses facilitating neurotransmitters. Basically, no one yet knows how DMAE firms the skin—much less if it does so consistently.

Research shows that even when DMAE does reduce sagging skin, the results are never dramatic. Additionally, DMAE can’t reverse existing sag, it’s only hypothesized to prevent future wattles—which puts a dent in Perricone’s promise to sculpt your jiggly jawline.

Cold Plasma Sub-D’s Other Ingredients

Lipoic acid has been shown to slow signs of aging some animal experiments; however, the micronutrient’s effects were measured when digested in the form of the leafy greens, from which it’s naturally found.

Science Daily reports that when consumed, either in its fresh farm-to-plate natural state or in a supplement, lipoic acid does appear to help restore a cellular "signaling" process that tends to break down in older blood vessels. Additionally, it can reduce mitochondrial decay in cells—a process which is closely linked to the symptoms of aging.

While lipoic acid might help halt the slow breakdown of cells as we age, caffeine is an established pick-me-up for more than your morning mood. From coffee grounds in cellulite lotions to firming under eye creams, caffeine is proven to provide a temporary boost to skin. However, just like your morning cup of coffee, the effects are short-lived—skin that’s been perked up will likely sag again by mid-afternoon.

Cold Plasma Sub-D: Advanced Science or Hype?

Despite having established that sagging neck skin is particularly difficult to treat—and that Perricone keeps many of the mechanisms which could support his claims of efficacy under wraps—the three Cold Plasma Sub-D ingredients listed are supported by anti-aging studies as at least potentially useful.

But, what does that mean for you, as a consumer? Will using Cold Plasma Sub-D allow you to throw out your turtleneck and scarf collections, much less make repeated neck motions with wild abandon?

Let’s examine the evidence:

The chemists at The Beauty Brains, an online resource dedicated to answering consumer’s questions, were asked point-blank if expensive skin-tightening lotions really worked—with the reader specifically mentioning Dr. Perricone’s brands.

Their response?

“Skin tightening lotions are a scam. The best performance you can expect from this kind of product is a temporary tightening feel if the product contains film forming agents. And even this marginal effect is not very long lasting.”

In fact, The Beauty Brains has called out Perricone’s brands in three other separate episodes of their podcast, calling the brand’s products overpriced, over-promised, and ineffective.

The Cosmetics Cop at Paula’s Choice is equally dismissive of Perricone’s claims in her response to a reader’s question:

“I actually don't know where to begin when discussing the nature of Perricone's work. In many ways this embodies some of the worst elements of what is taking place in the world of dermatology (starting with Dr. Murad of infomercial fame), namely using the cloak of medical expertise to promote the sale of skin-care products. The physician allure attributes medical connotations to products that end up not being different in any significant way from other skin-care products being sold from many lines without a doctor's endorsement.”

Both The Beauty Brains and the Cosmetics Cop criticize Perricone for selling products that are over-priced. How overpriced?

According to Smart Skincare’s report on DMAE:

“A number of skin care companies sell DMAE creams, most costing upward of $25 for a small jar. The prices reflect the hype and relative lack of competition from "supermarket" brands.

DMAE itself is a rather simple substance, no more costly than alpha hydroxy acids or aspirin. Besides, DMAE does not need special stabilization like vitamin C, and it is easy to disperse in a topical vehicle. Based on purely economic and manufacturing considerations, a DMAE cream should cost well under $10.”

And if the realization that Cold Plasma Sub-D is being sold for seven times its approximate worth doesn’t turn you off of purchasing, the Cosmetics Cop brings hits one final nail in this product’s coffin: The jar Cold Plasma Sub-D is packaged in? According to the experts at Paula’s Choice, it can’t even keep the cream’s anti-aging ingredients stable for long after you’ve opened it.

“That’s a shame but especially so for a moisturizer that costs this much. In the end, Cold Plasma Sub-D isn’t worth your time or money. If you’re tempted by Perricone’s claims, remember his classic quote from the doctor as seen in a November 18, 2001 New York Times article: ‘If you promise them an unlined face, you can sell them anything!’.”

Our Bottom Line on Cold Plasma Sub-D

Whether or not Cold Plasma Sub-D is “worth it” is subjective: Perhaps you don’t mind dropping over $50 on a cream just to try or maybe its consistency and ingredients compliment your complexion.

However, if one were to judge Perricone’s product simply by how well it delivers on promises, the evidence leaves giving this cream the cold shoulder.

» See Also: 19 Proven Ways to Reduce Wrinkles

Read 11 Perricone Cold Plasma Sub-D Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 1.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 1 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  9
Bottom Line: 18% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 11
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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Nasty reaction.

    • By Disne F.,
    • Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada,
    • Mar 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I purchased my products from the Shopping Channel. I have had many products from Perricone and I like them, they are very smooth and feel really nice on the skin (I have not seen much results from anything yet, just the same). But there are two products "cold plasma sub D" and "High potency face firming activator." These two products have a strong smell and after using these a couple of times, I started getting very itchy and my skin turns red like it has been burnt. I have found this very disappointing, since the products are not cheap and after 30 days with the Shopping Channel, you cannot send it back. The strange thing is, I did not react the first few times, so when I started having the reaction, it was too late to send it back. I figured there was nothing else I could do, so I have waited several months and I decided last night to try the face firming activator again. That one had given me the least amount of trouble. I put it on my jawline and up as far as my ears and went to sleep. I awakened scratching myself, and when I got up the area was itchy, red, and looked like I had a first-degree burn. I really don’t know what is causing this and I’ve only used about a quarter of each of these products. I also use cold plasma, neuropeptide firming moisturizer, face finishing moisturizer, and firming eye cream with no problems. I would love to hear if anyone else has had this sort of reaction. I am not a person, that normally has any kind of reaction to anything.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • By Marcia M.,
    • Guilderland, NY,
    • Mar 11, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After one application my skin turned bright red and it burned. This is months later and my skin still hasn't healed. It feels like sandpaper. Trying to contact Perricone is impossible. Emails are never answered.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Good results

    • By Diane P.,
    • Ohio,
    • Feb 19, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I am a skeptic when it comes to creams and potions. I am, however, surprised at the results of the Plasma Sub-D; not dramatic, but enough to make me go "hmmmm." Received the Sub-D as a sample, used it up, started to feel like my neck wrinkles were minimized, and bought a pot of it. Again - not dramatic results, but I don't necessarily want to look 30 (I'm 50), just want to take the edge off. For me, a former Botox junkie, this product is good enough.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Love it

    • By Sarah Brown,
    • Indiana,
    • Aug 17, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I actually love the Cold Plasma Sub-D. It works for me even if it is just the appearance, but isn't that what we all want? And the price for my jar of Sub-D plus my free mask and eyelid serum was $29.95. I just order it when I need it, and it lasts a long time. My neck looks better since I have been using it. I smell no fishy smell. Try it for yourself. I have used a few jars and love it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 25 out 25 people found this review helpful

    Be cautious

    • By Colleen,
    • California,
    • Feb 22, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I ordered the Cold Plasma Sub-D (in a kit). After receiving it, I tried a couple of the other products, and they were fine, including the mask. Two nights ago I applied the Sub-D and woke up the next morning with a red, puffy neck that burned. I haven't put anything on my neck since, and this morning when I woke up my neck is not quite so red or puffy but it still burns, and the skin feels rough and stiff. Not exactly the results I was going for.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 26 out 28 people found this review helpful

    Doesn't do a thing

    • By Wanda,
    • Jacksonville, FL,
    • Jan 13, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Three weeks into the Cold Plasma Sub-D and the full kit, and nothing. I have been religiously taking it as directed, but nothing. For this price I could have had ten units of Botox, which would have actually helped.

    Do not waste your time and money. My Mom is 87 years old and has used plain Ponds for 50 years, and that's our best bet.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 25 out 26 people found this review helpful

    Not happy, no results.

    • By Tina Holly,
    • OH,
    • Dec 27, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have not seen ANY RESULTS, I believe it is a scam like all the others. All the women they use in the commercial look good before the treatment. And if it is as great and wonderful with FANTASTIC results, why does Dr. Pericone have such wrinkled skin? He also wears a very high collar to hide his neck.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 30 out 31 people found this review helpful

    Unethical sales tactics

    • By Zuzana Windle,
    • Leeds, England, United Kingdom,
    • May 17, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer

    I bought the Perricone Cold Plasma neck cream after I saw it advertised on TV. I believed that I was buying the cream from Perricone MD as a one an off purchase. To my utter horror, I received a parcel with more Perricone products a month later from a company called Guthy Renker who also took money from my account. Apparently I was put into a continuous supply scheme by Guthy Renker and they would have continued supplying me with products which I did not order and take money from my bank account. Perricone MD is aware of Guthy Renker and told me that they were their sister company.

    I have blocked Guthy Renker from taking any more money from my bank account and have reported both companies to the Trading Standards and the ASA. If the products are good why use such sales tactics? The cream seems OK but I would never buy another Perricone product.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 36 out 36 people found this review helpful

    Don't ever purchase from this company or a Perricone Product

    • By Jan Ely,
    • Oregon,
    • Jul 11, 2015

    Package arrived, used Cold Plasma D and other products. Smelled like fish and made me itch. Learned my lesson and will never order or use this product again. Well, a few weeks later they send another package, didn't ask for one, so found out this was an every month shipment. Called the company to return it and had to take a lengthy survey. Received Return Label and returned product. Guess what, never got a credit and now they say they didn't get the product back. Credit card fought this fight for me. Husband didn't keep UPS receipt, so we can't prove anything. So here I am, sit with a $158.00 charge, no product and pissed off. Do not ever do business with Perricone or Guthy Renker. It's a scam.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 33 out 34 people found this review helpful

    Lies upon Lies

    • By G. Young,
    • British Columbia, Canada,
    • Jun 8, 2015

    This all started for me about a year and a half ago. I purchased the full range of cold plasma products from ( Luckily for me they have an excellent return policy because back then the cold plasma smelled like rotten fish. I emailed the shopping channel saying that the online presenter should talk about the scent.

    The next time they were on, the scent was described as having a ''slight'' earthy odor. So not true. I did some research into Nicholas Perricone, the presenter, and he said that he breezed through Harvard Medical School in 3 years. Well actually I couldn't come across any record of him being there, interesting. Now the presenter says there is no added fragrance in any Perricone product. So once again I went on to to check the ingredients of about a dozen products. 7 out of the 12 I checked had added fragrance.

    So I think they just make this up as they go along not thinking anyone would check. Lies and more lies, or maybe they're just brain dead from all that ''DMAE''. If you want a great skincare company, check out where you can design your own product or buy premade products where every ingredient is explained. Thanks

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 22 out 23 people found this review helpful

    Cold Plasma Sub-D

    • By Trudi,
    • Southern California,
    • Aug 14, 2014

    Keep your money! An expensive product that does not work. The product has a funny odor and texture. Could just be my skin and expectations. Their customer service, however, is very professional and courteous.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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