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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Byline: LAUREN BECKHAM FALCONE

Furrowed foreheads, relax. A new trend is surfacing in skin care, much to the delight of the wrinkled yet squeamish, who swoon at the thought of getting toxins injected into their face just to look smoother:

Just say no. To needles.

"I think women my age (52) and younger have seen so many people who have that look of surgery or Botox and they hate it," said Dr. Gregory Bays Brown, author of "About Face: A Plastic Surgeon's Four-Step Non-Surgical Program for Younger, Beautiful Skin (Ballantine Books, $24.95). "When you want to say to someone `My, you've had a face lift!,' that's not a compliment. And women in my generation and younger don't want that."

And companies are delivering.

At www.sephora.com, there's a whole marketing movement afoot:

** "Lipfusion: No needles. No waiting. No kidding."

** "Protox Wrinkle Treatment: No needles. No surgery. No acid peels."

** "Bye-bye Botox. OHT Peptide-3."

Bliss Spa is offering No-Motion Lotion, which promises a "painless, nonprescription wrinkle-reducing alternative to the dreaded needle."

Freeze 24.7's tagline is "Nature. Not Needles."

"I think all of us fall into two camps," said Eden Grimaldi, spokeswoman for Freeze 24.7. "There are those who will do anything and risk anything to look younger. And then there are the rest of us, who are looking for an alternative."

Freeze 24.7's Anti Wrinkle Cream is one. It claims to work immediately, relaxing wrinkled zones with its Gamma Aminobutyric Acid, which is produced in the body as a natural muscle relaxant, much like melatonin works as a natural sleep agent.

"The reason it's so popular is that it works on contact, so once you try it in the store, you know you're going to get results," Grimaldi said.

If the Botox and topical creams have anything in common, it's the price. A few shots might cost you $500, an ounce of Freeze 24.7's Anti-Wrinkle Cream will put you back $115.

Dr. Brown, who also has a line of skin-care products, said the skin-care industry is much different than it was a decade ago.

"Until AHAs came out in the '80s, every wrinkle cream was essentially a moisturizer," he said. "But since then, there have been a lot of advances in skin care and people want it. I think people are also turned off by the over-the-top marketing and advertising. It's truly not health care anymore. It's product. Which has changed the face of . The pendulum is swinging back."

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