The term was popularized by a TikTok user, referencing the gelatin dessert Jell-O, after her aesthetician told her that her skin was so bouncy because of the amount of collagen it had in it. Other TikTok users flocked to the comments section to find out how she was able to get her skin to peak performance — so we asked dermatologists for the scoop.
What is 'jello skin'?
Jello skin refers to the desired state of your complexion after the use of skin care products.
"Jello skin is basically your skin at its healthiest — you want good elastic, you want it to be firm, you don't want it to be in a lax state, you also want it to be hydrated and dewy," Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, said. "Having jello skin is a great sign that the skin is full of collagen, elastin and moisture."
To determine this elasticity, dermatologists perform a "snap back" test, Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, told Shop TODAY via email. "The longer it takes the skin to snap back translates to a loss of structural proteins like collagen and elastin, thinning of the skin, and dehydration," she said.
How do you get jello skin?
In order to get to that state, Henry continued, you have to follow a good maintenance regimen, which involves the use of products that exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
"Skin care products that all aim to rejuvenate the skin and add moisture to the surface can create the jello skin effect," she said. Exfoliating with AHAs or salicylic acid and applying ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and peptides can help.
Though jello skin involves having a healthy amount of collagen in your skin, both Henry says your skin won't absorb it if it is applied topically since it is a large molecule, which is why she recommends applying collagen peptides, which can be absorbed more easily by the skin.
Kanchanapoomi Levin suggests opting for methods that can help preserve and build collagen in your skin, such as using vitamin C serums and a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen or higher, since sun exposure can contribute to a loss of collagen and elastin.
"The gold standard to building collagen is using vitamin A derivatives such as retinoids and retinols nightly as well as other known and proven ingredients such as certain peptides, growth factors, and antioxidants," she added.
Can everyone get jello skin?
While everyone may want a plump and dewy complexion, genetics, environmental factors and the integrity of your skin barrier play a large part in it, according to the experts. If you have drier skin, sensitive skin or inflamed skin, it might be more difficult to get a plumped appearance, since it is harder for the skin to retain and hold on to moisture. The diminishing production of collagen and elastin as we age, can also affect whether you can attain the jello skin appearance, Henry said.
"It's not that jello skin isn't for everyone but rather is not something that is achievable for everyone through skin care as this is more of a structural and genetic condition," as Kanchanapoomi Levin put it.
Dermatologist-approved products for jello skin
If you want to try for the jello skin look, or are just looking for a plumper, dewier complexion, there are a few products you can use to help.
Henry says this liquid exfoliator can remove dead skin cells and sebum, which helps rejuvenate the skin. Like the jello skin trend, this product also went viral on TikTok.
New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick recommends using this moisturizer if you want to plump the skin without the greasy or sticky feeling some moisturizers leave behind. "The collagen peptide works to support collagen production while the niacinamide helps to retain moisture and soothe the skin," she told us via email.
Henry says this serum from The Ordinary "can add the uber-hydration we want for achieving jello skin." The affordable formula is suitable for all skin types, according to the brand, and packed with pure hyaluronic acid designed to deliver hydration.
This tinted moisturizer does double-duty, according to Garshick. It can help you achieve jello skin and protect your skin from UV damage, which contributes to collagen loss, she said. Another plus is that it is formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid.
Henry also recommends this moisturizing gel for both dry and oily skin types. Sticking with the theme of hydration, it is also packed with hyaluronic acid.
"Retinoids are key when it comes to boosting collagen production and this drugstore favorite is a great option as works to regulate skin cell turnover, improving the appearance of tone and texture, without leading to irritation of the skin," Garshick said.
Garshick also recommends using this serum in conjunction with a moisturizer to help plump and hydrate the skin. She says it is easy to apply and can be used twice a day.
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