By  on July 20, 2007

Dr. Perricone has added a fourth tier to his prescription for beauty.

Next week the dermatologist will add spa treatments to the N.V. Perricone M.D. flagship on Madison Avenue, where he promotes his program of an anti-inflammatory diet, nutritional supplements and skin care.

The limited service menu is tailored to strengthen facial muscles with electrostim — weak alternating electrical currents — and is designed to achieve a fuller, more youthful-looking face.

"Probably one of the biggest aspects of aging is the loss of tissue, and of course wrinkling and sagging," said Perricone, adding that facial contours give away one's age. To maintain muscle mass in the body, one can lift weights. Electrostim serves a similar purpose for facial muscles, said Perricone, adding that services are in keeping with his noninvasive and nonsurgical approach to beauty and skin health.

The services will include Electro-Stim Lifting Facial, a 60-minute treatment for $250 that includes ultrasonic exfoliation, LED light therapy and microcurrent probes; Rejuvenating Oxygen Facial, another 60-minute treatment for $200, and Electro-Stim Advanced Anti-Aging Eye Lift, a 30-minute treatment for $150. Three 15-minute add-on treatments are also available for $50 each: Ultrasonic Exfoliation, Advanced LED Healing Treatment and Therapeutic Oxygen Infusion.

Perricone is taking a different approach to developing the business. Usually spas and clinics build their business on a base of offering services and then graduate into marketing products. Perricone is doing the opposite and is offering services almost as a benefit to his clientele, since services are not considered as profitable as product. In a spa retail environment, the universal markup for products is generally two times a manufacturer's wholesale price, while treatment margins are approximately 30 percent, said industry sources.

Kella England, director of the flagship, said that the treatments are a response to consumer demand. "At least four or five times a week, people would open the door and ask, 'Do you do any services here?' It was so often that we had to take note." She recalled that when she broached the concept with Perricone, he asked that she track down Estella Gilboe, an aesthetician whom he had meet some years earlier while researching electrostim. Gilboe left her post at Louis Licari's Manhattan salon to serve as director of the Skin Salon at the N.V. Perricone M.D. flagship. With Gilboe on board, the company expects to perform about five treatments a day. The flagship will use Visia Skin Analysis, a device that takes detailed photographs of the skin's service to measure the effectiveness of the treatments over time.The treatments are recommended as a replacement for Botox, which Perricone does not favor. In his view, Botox, a diluted form of botulinum toxin that is used to smooth wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing the muscles beneath them, causes loss of facial muscle mass, which in turn accelerates aging.

"You may not have a line on your face, but you will certainly not look younger," cautioned Perricone, referring to Botox injections. The dermatologist, who abstains from performing cosmetic procedures in his practice, also shuns plastic surgery, which often involves cutting muscle and pulling it back from the face.

Perricone developed his own electrostim device, a glove designed for home use, that is currently pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Services fit my philosophy," said Perricone, who hinted he has more plans in the pipeline to promote a youthful, healthy face sans surgery. "One day, there won't be a need for cosmetic procedures."

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