Is Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D Neck Cream a Scam?

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The wife gets excited

Pam watched the Perricone MD infomercial for Cold Plasma Sub-D neck firming cream. She was impressed. The word “scam” did not enter her mind.

It entered mine, though, the instant she told me she’d like to try some of this wonderful stuff.

We’ve not had what you’d call really great luck with products purchased after my redhead saw them on TV. Bottom line, most of them have turned out to be of inferior quality at inflated prices with superhuman attempts on the part of the marketing firm to hook us on AutoShip programs. The financial hits plus the amount of time and effort expended in extracting our credit cards from those automatic withdrawals resulted in permanent Draconian measures being instituted at the Border Fort a long time ago.

Essentially, those measures can be summarized as follows:

    1. Pam does not pick up her credit card, does not call the company to order, no matter how infatuated she is with the latest oversold doodad.

    2. Pam does come to me in high excitement, certain that this time it’s a great product with an ethical promoter, inventor, or whatever.

    3. I throw cold water all over everything, snap, snarl, and promise to research the item in question.

    4. If the company requires the customer to use AutoShip, red flags fly and we do not buy…at least not from company headquarters.

    5. If there are other online outlets (there usually are) and the product itself looks good, we may try a trial purchase from Amazon or some other online middleman.

    6. If it’s a product that comes in contact with the human body–either ingested or used as a cream or ointment–the ingredient list must be studied prior to purchase. Pam’s allergies are legion and not to be trifled with, no matter how awesome the product looks.

Screen shot of the website for Dr. Perricone's Cold Plasma Sub-D website. Note the page headings that include "The Science", "Clinical Results", and "The Proof".

Screen shot of the website for Dr. Perricone’s Cold Plasma Sub-D website. Note the page headings that include “The Science”, “Clinical Results”, and “The Proof”.

Ingredient list and AutoShip
My B.S. detector may have needed a slight tuneup or something. The Sub-D home page did not immediately trigger any red flags.

Wait a sec. Where’s the tab for “Ingredients”?

Uh-oh. There is none.

Well…maybe they included it on one of the other pages. You never know.

Nope. They didn’t. A quick scan of every page on the site, and…nothing. That’s not good. It means there might be something in the cream that would trigger one of my wife’s hundreds of allergies. Pretty much a deal killer, right there.

But beyond that, it’s a red flag. Reputable manufacturers and marketers of products like this always make the ingredient list available.

Score at this point: 1 RED FLAG. (No ingredient list)
Time to check out what happens if you go to the order page. Sure, we could read about the science and the clinical trials and the proof, but I want to know about compulsory AutoShip.

(*Sigh*) Yup. As suspected. Mandatory AutoShip all the way.

Score at this point: 2 RED FLAGS. (No ingredient list + mandatory AutoShip)

Order page showing the mandatory AutoShip setup in bold print. It does say you can "customize" the program by calling Customer Service....

Order page showing the mandatory AutoShip setup in bold print. It does say you can “customize” the program by calling Customer Service….

Phone service and Amazon reviews

At this point, there was no doubt in my mind that we were looking at a scam. However, more evidence would be a good idea in order to make it clear to my wife that Perricone’s Cold Plasma Sub-D really was a bad deal from any angle and not just a figment of my infomercial-hating imagination.

There’s a number listed on the website. Call that number to place an order over the phone, it says.

I called it.

The usual cheery computer voice greeted me and put me on hold with slightly upbeat elevator music. Every so often, another cheery computer voice came on to tell me how glad they were I called, how busy the operators were, and how they’d get to me at the first possible opportunity.

When the operator came on, I intended to ask just one question: Was it possible to place an order without any AutoShip commitment? If not, we were done. If it could be done, then maybe….

I needn’t have bothered to think that one through. No human ever interrupted Muzak Forever to talk to me. It’s highly likely they don’t ever have a human come on to talk to a customer. I called at around 10:30 p.m. and stayed on the line for a full 30 minutes.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Updating the score: 3 RED FLAGS. (No ingredient list + mandatory AutoShip + no human answering the phone.) Interesting.

Enough to share my findings with Pam?

Mmm…no. Not quite yet. How be we take a looksee at a few Amazon reviews, presuming there are any?

Oh wow. It’s on Amazon, all right–with the worst set of reviews I’ve ever seen listed for any product, ever. A few people like it, but the rest…wow.

Some of the complaints:

Strong fishy smell…reeks…gave me a rash…no noticeable results…gave my Mom chicken skin…

Perhaps the “best” review of all was by “Deuces” of Oklahoma City, who said:

“I almost never rate anything, but after putting this on, I had to rush to the computer and warn anyone who wants to spend money on it: IT SMELLS LIKE SOMETHING DIED. It may give great results in the end. I do not know because I couldn’t stand the smell and washed it off!!”

Guess that means we’re up to 4 RED FLAGS. (No ingredient list + mandatory AutoShip + no human answering the phone + horrible Amazon reviews)
Now it was time to call Pam over, show her what we had.

The disappointment in her eyes was harsh. Heartbroken, she was, feeling betrayed. “How could he?” She asked, referring to snake oil salesman Nicholas Perricone, the Board Certified dermatologist and rather obvious ripoff artist. “Giving people hope like that….” She trailed off.

I wanted to smack somebody. Somebody specific. However, we settled for avoiding the scam and let it go at that.

Ah. Except for one thing. Those three “official” looking website page headings? We took a quick look at them. There was no science. No clinical trials. Not one bit of proof. It was all hype, all watch-my-left-hand stuff.

You got it. 5 RED FLAGS. (No ingredient list + mandatory AutoShip + no human answering the phone + horrible Amazon reviews + menu headings that lie when they refer to science, clinical trials, and proof)

Is Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D neck cream a scam?

We believe so. We really do.

The Sub-D "Science" page contains no mention of real science whatsoever. It simply lists 3 "results you can expect to see" and talks about "maximum nutrient uptake". Nothing else.

The Sub-D “Science” page contains no mention of real science whatsoever. It simply lists 3 “results you can expect to see” and talks about “maximum nutrient uptake”. Nothing else.


The "Clinical Results" heading is clearly designed to fool the average consumer's brain into missing the fact that NO Clinical TRIALS are referenced--only a few percentages, meaningless because they do NOT say, "Percentages of WHAT?"

The “Clinical Results” heading is clearly designed to fool the average consumer’s brain into missing the fact that NO Clinical TRIALS are referenced–only a few percentages, meaningless because they do NOT say, “Percentages of WHAT?”


The Cold Plasma Sub-D "Proof" page is nothing of the sort, consisting of nothing but two fishy smelling testimonials and a "Before and After" video anybody with a cell phone could fake.

The Cold Plasma Sub-D “Proof” page is nothing of the sort, consisting of nothing but two fishy smelling testimonials and a “Before and After” video anybody with a cell phone could fake.

In closing

A couple of final notes about that “Clinical Results” page.

Note the second line on the page where it says, “Extraordinary results after 45 days of application.”

Canny marketing trick right there. If the purchaser is conditioned up front to expect nothing for the first 45 days, she (I’m guessing not many men buy this stuff, though I could be wrong) is going to be easier to suck into that 2nd month’s supply of Cold Plasma Sub-D product. (Can you spell AutoShip?)

Moving on to the percentages (all in the 80′s and all, most likely, made up out of thin air)…percentages of what?

We think we know. We think positive results “were obtained by 87% of the people who got paid to say that”.

Then again, we could be biased. Scams like this do tend to make sceptics out of the truest of believers.

P.S. Did we mention that Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D is really, really expensive? No, that’s not a red flag. We just thought you’d like to know.

42 thoughts on “Is Perricone MD Cold Plasma Sub-D Neck Cream a Scam?

  1. Thanks so much for this review. I was watching the infomercial this morning & was considering buying the products, they seemed amazing. Thought I would Google “Sub D scam” just to see if anything would come up. Sure enough, your article popped up. Guess I won’t be buying that stuff, thanks for the red flags! And thanks for saving me the $50 plus the countless hours of wait time to try to reach customer service to cancel the auto ship.

  2. You’re very welcome, Rebecca, and thanks for commenting. It’s readers who let us know their thoughts on the articles that keep me writing. :)

  3. Thanks for a really great analysis of Dr. Perricone Cold Plasma Sub-D Neck Cream. He’s really playing with the heart’s of all women that are searching for the answer with a ‘magic’ formula for anti-aging in the neck area. It’s so disappointing, but with your review you’re probably preventing many from becoming victim to an obvious scam.

  4. And thanks to you for checking in, Kate. You’re right; he’s playing with hearts, and he’s not playing nice. We continue to get views of this page daily, so I do have hopes that you’re right about the article helping more than a few.

  5. Thank you for your incredible fact finding. I will do this research any time I am leary with to purchase.

  6. Thank you for posting this review. I was considering this, too. I am glad that I found your “flags”.

  7. Thank you for your time and thorough research! Your wife may not like the bad news but she is a lucky woman to have you doing the detective work. Your red flags all rang true. I have been a victim of auto ship for other products and when I tried to contact the firm to discontinue shipments, I either got disconnected on the phone or my cancelation was never “processed” and the charges continued. These scam artsts are getting rich from vulnerable ladies looking for a miracle.

  8. Thanks, Maria. We agree wholeheartedly; scam artists always prey on the vulnerable, and this is certainly an egregious example of the practice. We’ve had some companies that were quite difficult to get rid of after getting sucked into AutoShip. In extreme cases, I’ve even had to sit down with our banker have the bank get involved to get it done.

  9. Thanks for that very comprehensive and clear appraisal of all the red flags associated with this product. I was watching the infomercial this morning, fascinated with the before and after photos. I always research such products for reviews on line as well as active ingredients. It appears you did the work for me!
    At 58, a forerunner in my belief that a combination of non invasive as well as surgical solutions will achieve subtle & natural improvements to fight aging, I have
    done many of the procedures available to ward off the sagging and wrinkled skin
    so may women of my generation are now experiencing. My neck looks great.
    Save your money ladies!
    If you have waited until your 50′s 60′s or 70′s to start addressing this problem, it will take more than a creme. The first thing you need to do is cover your neck as often as possible anytime you are in the sun. Especially at the beach or poolside. Even sunscreen is not enough. Exercise and eat healthy.
    With all the real science behind the latest skin cremes on the market you can definitely achieve improvement in skin texture. There are websites where you can buy medical grade solutions and peels that will improve the skin texture and fine lines. Lists of ingredients are readily available.
    Find a good dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Research laser treatments, ulthera, derma pen to tighten skin and stimulate collagen production or very subtle surgical procedures that only require a small incision under the chin, implementing a combination of ultrasound and micro liposuction to reduce jowls and tighten skin from inside. For extreme cases, unfortunately, the real truth is only a neck lift will achieve dramatic results. There is no one solution for everyone.

  10. I’m an Esthetician and love to look after people’s skin, and not in an expensive way either. I like to help people and choose products that I have tried on myself first. I won’t use acetone based products, I try and keep it all as natural as possible, but even I was taken in by this product. I’m so grateful to read an honest review from a man who clearly cares enough about his wife wo check it out for her first. Thank you

  11. Carla: Great comment, right up to and including the last line: “There is no one solution for everyone.” I couldn’t agree more.
    —————————–
    M: You’re in good company; a lot of people have been taken in by this product. I was, too, at first–that is, my B.S. detector did not go off immediately, though of course it did as the red flags started adding up. And you (and Carla, plus anyone else who’s benefited from this post) are most definitely welcome.

  12. So… just for snitz and giggles, do you happen to know of anyone that has tried this product? I was interested…but I always check out the scams first…..the results are photo cropped? Damn….I wanted so bad for a miracle cure….lol….sucks getting old…..

  13. I don’t know anyone personally who has tried it. Couple of close calls, but no actual purchase and/or application.

    Yeah, I always check for scams first, too. Being a guy, I suffer less than my wife–but if there was a for-real way to get rid of the permanent bags under my eyes…:)

  14. Thank you for all your hard work on the review of this product. It did look/ sound promising. Like the old saying..” if it sounds to good to be true…..it usually is!”

  15. You’re welcome, Robin. Pam and I’ve seen a few miracles pop up here and there over the years, but so far, a Fountain of Youth skin cream hasn’t been one of them.

  16. Thank you. I looked up the cream on the Internet and found nothing about the ingredients .it is really comforting to know there are people out there that care about others to share. I don’t buy creams that don’t have an ingredient list. You saved me $$$$ thanks!!

  17. You’re welcome, Linda. Saving $$$$ is a good thing.

    Note: I still haven’t come across any sort of ingredient list for this product, although some of the reviews make dead fish sound like a possibility….

  18. To our readers: This post has apparently come to the attention of Perricone marketers, or at least one such. A commenter with the user name of “TaTa98″ has been marked as a spammer for attempting B.S. sales tactics here. First, the question was asked if the “60 day money back guarantee” didn’t prove the worth of the product? My reply was:

    =============================

    Of course not.

    A 60 day money back guarantee means virtually nothing by itself. Even if the company were to be prompt in refunding money when requested (and we’ve seen nothing in Amazon or other reviews to indicate that they are), most people will not return a product even if disappointed. They hate the process (as I personally do) or are jammed for time with the pressures of daily life, etc. Thus, a company can–and many do–put out inferior products, building enough profit margin into the average sale to allow for a certain percentage of returns. And with this particular product being exorbitantly expensive, it’s quite possible that percentage could be astronomically high.

    ==================================

    So, though it was pretty obvious that “TaTa98″ was a Perricone promoter, I let that one go and treated it as a legitimate question. However, when that didn’t work, the same user politely said he (or she) had found an ingredient list, provided a link, and asked if that would satisfy me.

    Which it did not. The link went to a standard Perricone sales site with NO ingredient list. Oh, it said “what it had in it”–but the paragraph was mere hype, not an actual list of ingredients.

    That was enough. “TaTa98″ has been tagged as a spammer. Our spam catcher will automatically toss his (or her) future submissions in the trash. I won’t even see them.

    Now, a quick note to “TaTa98″ and any similar user: From this point forward, any comment that smells even slightly of an attempt to derail this review will be marked as spam and summarily ignored without further ado.

  19. The infomercial for Sub-D is playing on TV as I write this comment. I’m so glad I decided to click on your link to check to see if this product was, as I suspected, too good to be true! I’m 59 and after years of summers during my teens and 20′s being spent tanning with little or no protective lotions, I’m beginning to see the onset of a “turkey neck” from all of the sun damage. Although I would like to think there is a quick fix, I’m realistic enough to know that I’ll be seeing my dermatologist and possibly a good plastic surgeon!

    Thanks for your article and giving us such a detailed evaluation of why this product is a scam. Also, thanks to all of the ladies who have commented here. As the anonymous commenter stated…it sucks to get old. Lol!! Word to the wise, take care of your skin while you are young before the damage is done!

    Thanks again Ghost32. Keep researching and posting!! :-)

  20. Thanks for the comment, Teresa; you summed it up rather well.:)

    And yes, I will definitely keep researching and posting.

  21. I would like to thank yup for doing this review. My husband and I are with a company that makes everything transparent for safety issues. It would have been terrible for people to have had any allergic issues because they were not informed. That is why I am glad we are with who we are with! Thanks again .

  22. You’re welcome, Dawn, and thanks for commenting. My wife and I appreciate what you had to say about allergic issues–she was once tested for response to 300 allergens and turned up positive to 273 of them.

  23. I’ve developed a sensitivity to it and have a recurring rash. I turned 50 recently, so I bought the promo package with Cold Plasma Sub-D this winter after seeing the commercial late at night (can you say “vulnerable sleepy people”?). It tingles a bit for a minute after I put it on, & has an acidic smell. I did NOT notice a significant difference despite AM & PM usage. Last month I developed a décolleté/upper chest/throat rash. Since I use various products, I had to discontinue all creams and start again to find which one was the irritant. I had to pay my doctor’s co-pay & was prescribed a 0.1% steroidal cream, Triaminolone Acetonide, using 2-3 x/day. Eventually it went away BUT 2 days ago I tried Cold Plasma (alone) again just to check reactivity, and now my rash is BACK!! Itchy as ever :-( Aveeno excema cream helps a tiny bit, but Cortisone-10 didn’t. I doubt they’ll accept a return of opened bottle, but I have a sealed one + “High Potency Amine Face Lift” elixir. Anyone want to buy it from me? Ingredients are NOT on containers; I threw boxes away. **scratch, scratch, ow! stop that!**

  24. CinCin, you have our sympathy. Rashes that don’t respond to prescription creams (and only a tiny bit to Aveeno) are no fun whatsoever. Thanks for sharing the grim details–and for mentioning that the ingredients are NOT on the containers. I suspect there’s really only one ingredient: “100% Essence of Scam.”

  25. Thank you for saving me some hard earned dollars! I think I’ll save my money for some laser tightening instead!

  26. Thanks for your thoroughness! I recently saw infomercial and proceeded to order it.
    In the middle of ordering we get disconnected. I call back to customer service and they can’t tell if my order went thru for 72 hrs. I couldn’t believe with our instant society that it would take that long. It was a blessing for me though…I waited a few days and nothing was on my credit card. Then I looked up the product online and found your review! I won’t be ordering this product ever.

  27. Thanks for commenting! I’ve had miracles like that happen, something “going wrong” that in the end turned out to be spiritual protection from harm–in this case, financial harm. It’s always remarkable when one realizes that’s what has happened.

  28. Thank you so much for your review of the SubD … was about to order and again be “sucked” in by a possible scam, but due to you I did not follow through. It was a late night when I saw Dr. P’s offer and thought “this is just what I need”.
    again, thank you for your insight.

  29. I actually placed the order and was on the line with the operator. She would NOT let me off the phone, constantly asking me to upgrade with other and more expensive products. I asked if my information would be shared and for the phone number I would need to cancel autoship. The operator completely evaded my questions and continued to bombard me with the sales pitch. I finally said I didn’t want the product at all and to cancel my order.. That’s when she went into high gear. I asked to speak the supervisor.I hung up! Now I’m afraid I will receive the product. And I don’t have any number to call if I do. Thanks for the heads up!

  30. Adelyn, you’re welcome–but if I were you, if the operator got your credit or debit card number, I’d be seriously considering contacting the bank (or credit card company) to cancel your card and issue a new one. I know that’s a hassle. Been there done that, not with Perricone obviously, but in other problematic situations…and the hassle is worth it. The most recent event was about a year ago when my debit card got skimmed at a by-the-side-of-the-freeway gas station in southern California. It also doesn’t hurt to let the banker (or credit card company rep) know that if the (Perricone) transaction does show up, it’s fraud and not to be honored. They’ll catch it for you if you can, and the quicker you bring your card provider into the loop, the better.

  31. Thanks so much. Now instead of sad because I can’t afford it, I am happy I saved so much money. The new business model. Get a card number, never answer or return a call. And your bank may or may not be a help. If you just close your bank account, the bank may (probably will) allow transactions to go through with a zero balance and then charge you for overdraft. We owned a small fitness business. We have people cancel bank accounts or cards with or without letting us know. One of our long time customers was switching banks and shut down his old account. He forgot to let us know and our system billed his account its normal amount. It was a month after he had closed his account and the bank processed the transaction. Then charged a total of $80 for his $30 membership. I went up to the bank and asked them why, their responses was don’t you want to protect your business from people just shutting down their accounts to keep from paying you? I said no, I don’t do business like that and had to credit him 3 months of service to make up for it. Even though it was his fault for not telling us sooner, his business was important and it was our bank screwing him over. Make sure if you need to go to that extreme to stop payments that you go to the bank first. The really tricky part is that the one payment lingering is enough to keep your account open, then when you pay the fees and cover the charge, you shut your account down again, and the 30 days of lingering half open half closed starts over, at which time the next payment for the business goes through, causing your account to reopen and overdraft charges to go though again. and…..

  32. Thanks, Deborah. That’s good info regarding what can happen when you close an account to cut off payments–which I’ve not done, but I hear what you’re saying.

    We bank with Wells Fargo and have had extremely good luck with them when it comes to fraudulently processed transactions. Any time I have a hint of suspicion about such, I stop in at our local branch to speak with a banker. He or she is invariably helpful and will cut off existing cards (that look like they might get hit) and reorder new ones on the spot without the slightest hesitation. Further, the banker is also willing to call the vendor hitting the account if that seems advisable, right while I’m sitting there.

    Not saying every bank does that well on these issues, but ours does, at least so far.

  33. Great article. I just finished watching that “infomercial” and felt a little net research was in order…..I suffer from turkey neck and would LOVE to find a magic bullet. I’m pretty immune to these scams, but my neck is my Achilles heel, so to speak. I really should have known better.
    I find it amazing that in these days of shared multi-media, televised sales pitches have not risen even slightly to the test to improve their marketing strategies. They can all go suck an egg– they won’t be getting THIS girl’s hard-earned money.
    Your writing style is comprehensive and dryly witty…thanks for the fun read!

  34. Tree, thanks for commenting. I’m pretty sure you don’t much resemble the Tree we already know–the primary protagonist in one of my novels, short for Treemin, a six foot two African American cowboy and welding business entrepreneur. He’s still in his twenties, too, so is not likely to worry about turkey neck for a while yet.

    You’re absolutely right; the TV ads haven’t elevated their pitches one bit.

  35. Wow! Just wow and thank you! You are a real person! (First of all) and so helpful! I was watching the ‘mercial and was like hmmm this can’t be good (but like your wife, i secretly wanted it to be) and coming across your article helped me with a nice reaffirming double check. I’m good at writing these types of ‘mercials off but like you said this one seemed so nice…but yes too good to ne true… lol! thank you again and please take care :)

  36. If anyone wants to try it order from QVC. You don’t have to sign up for auto-ship and can return for you money back (minus shipping) w/i 30 days no questions asked.

    Might actually be more fair than saying it’s a scam w/o trying.

    And no I don’t work for QVC nor have I tried it. Don’t need it, yet.

  37. val: Thanks; your comment made my day. :)
    ———————–
    Becky: That it can be ordered from QVC without AutoShip is good to know, though I’m not a fan of QVC either. My wife got addicted to both QVC and HSN some years back and hurt our financial situation significantly before she managed to get hold of herself.

    Your remark that it “might actually be more fair, etc.”, though, is in my opinion a bit off base. My research was relatively thorough and included studying many horrifying reviews (on Amazon in particular) from people who HAD actually tried it and reported the nasty results. I think it’s fair to say a Mojave green rattlesnake is venomous without subjecting myself to its bite, that a desert wash in flash flood will swallow my truck without driving into it to find out, and so forth. Learning from other people’s experience is anything but “unfair”.

    Happy to hear you don’t need it (Perricone) yet. That’s a good thing.

  38. Just sat through the informercial and Googled “Perricone Scam” which landed me here, so thanks for all of your research! For anyone who’s interested, the ingredients are on Sephora’s website (Salmon Egg Oil? No wonder it stinks!)

    Thanks again!

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