NEW YORK – In his new book The Perricone Prescription, dermatologist Nicholas Perricone says salmon, blueberries and other sources of protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants will smooth the wrinkles, soften the bags and tighten the sags of aging.
But can diet really help reverse the aging process? Perricone says yes, provided those who try his method take vitamin supplements, exercise regularly -- and use his facial products.
Perricone insists anti-inflammatory foods help make the skin tauter, smoother and more radiant. One of the biggest inflammatory culprits, he says, is sugar -- and anything that converts to sugar, like pastas, breads, potatoes and other starches.
"Nobody has looked at inflammation as a cause of major diseases and beauty, or at treating and lowering inflammation through diet," he said in a phone interview.
His topical creams and cleansers are also anti-inflammatory. He says they can actually correct the sags and wrinkles of aging.
"That could only be achieved in the past via a plastic surgeon's scalpel," Perricone said. "I'm trying to give people non-invasive alternatives for looking younger."
But does it work?
Four Fox News employees volunteered to follow Perricone's three-day regimen -- which he suggests trying before embarking on the 28-day routine. All four said they saw some differences in their faces.
"I noticed the skin had a different glow to it and I was getting comments from people," said Mary Ellen Tasillo, 57, who lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. "I did see a difference in the clarity and moisture of the skin, and my lines have faded."
Ute Gunn, 49, of Centreville, Va., said she noticed a slight improvement in the eye area, but she wasn't persuaded the diet was responsible for the change.
"There was quite a change," she said. "I'm convinced it's the water."
Debra DeFrank, 35, of Ellicott City, Md., said the wrinkles around her mouth had improved.
"They were so much softer-looking than before," she said. "I see a difference in my face, but it was a small difference. My skin feels and looks better, definitely."
All three believe Perricone's skin products and the heavy water consumption, more than the strict diet, made them look younger.
"I don't think three days gives you enough time for the diet," DeFrank said. "I think that's got to be a way of life to really see a big difference."
But Elizabeth Rhodes, 37, of Washington, D.C., thought the food was key.
"The diet is solid, it makes sense, it's very healthy," she said. "The [facial] cream part of it I'm not sure about."
Perricone said his studies have shown that the diet -- including the water and vitamins -- has a bigger impact on the skin than his topical products.
"Diet is crucial," he said. "Beauty comes from the inside."
But a Dallas-based dermatologist said there are aspects of the Perricone plan that don't work well for everyone.
For one thing, said Forrest C. Brown, some people have adverse reactions to two of the main ingredients in the topical products -- alpha lipoic acid and DMAE.
"They're not generally used in skin care because they are both very irritating," said Brown, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology. "A lot of people have had problems."
Brown also thinks it's unlikely that people would stick to Perricone's diet for very long.
"There may be a few people who will be so conscientious that they will follow a regimen like the Perricone diet, but most people won't," he said. "That's why facelifts and other cosmetic procedures will always be here."
Gunn and DeFrank agreed, saying they felt the diet wasn't varied enough.
"It's just too boring for people to stick with it," Gunn said. "It's really important for people to eat healthily but you don't have to eat like this all the time."