Pillowy, plush, baby-like plumpness? Sign us up. Australian facialist to the stars Melanie Grant reveals her no-fail tricks for getting skin to bounce back.
Written ByMAUREEN CHOI
Photography ByGUY AROCH
It’s some of the most sobering beauty news ever: starting in our mid-twenties, we lose about one percent of our collagen—the structural protein that’s responsible for giving skin that youthful bounce and firmness—every year. Sad, yes. But not worth losing sleep over. We live in an age where science and innovation keep us from having to succumb to statistics—not now, not ever. We turned to celebrity esthetician Melanie Grant, the mastermind behind the youthful complexions of Victoria Beckham and Rose Byrne, for her tips to preserve, protect, and plump things up.
UP THE ANTE WITH ANTIOXIDANTS
The first rule of the Collagen Club is to retain, retain, retain. No matter how much damage has already been done, it’s never too late to start defending skin against the onslaught of daily environmental aggressors—pollutants, UV, chemicals, and the like. The easiest way to do that is to go hard on an antioxidant-spiked serum like Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, a French formula starring a protective molecule derived from grape skins. Vitamin C is also incredibly effective, says Grant, at “boosting collagen synthesis and skin immunity.” BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner is packed with a potent 20 percent encapsulated L-ascorbic acid, a pure and stable version of vitamin C. Use antioxidants in the morning and consider them your armor.
PUT YOUR SHIELDS UP
This one’s less of a suggestion and more of a command. “While some collagen loss happens naturally, it’s exacerbated by damaging UV rays,” says Grant. Wearing sunscreen every single day will, among other things like preventing skin cancer and hyperpigmentation, give you the best chance of maintaining that plump, youthful-looking glow. Opt for a broad spectrum SPF like Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, and you’ll be rewarded with less sagging, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, redness, burst capillaries, the list goes on.
REPAIR WITH RETINOL
You’ve heard us extol the transformative virtues of retinol before, and for good reason. The vitamin A-derivative is proven to help clear acne and boost cellular turnover, meaning dead skin cells are shed faster so that the surface looks brighter, fresher, and more even. Its chief job, though, is to stimulate new collagen production so skin feels firmer over time. “With regular use, retinol really works to build density, refine tone and texture, and improve the skin’s ability to regenerate,” adds Grant. The key is to find a formula that has both the right potency and delivery system without being irritating. Retinol rookies can ease into the game with a gentle version like Joanna Vargas Supernova Serum, which tackles fine lines and boosts radiance with palmitoyl oligopeptide, a less drying retinol alternative. A smart option for those looking to graduate to the prescription-strength stratosphere? Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution, which buffers redness with soothing licorice extract and wards off UV damage with cell-protecting antioxidants.
TURN ON THE LIGHTS
Solid topicals in your skin care routine are the baseline for bringing back the bounce. But add an at-home LED device and good lord will collagen production shoot through the roof. “Treatments such as LED light therapy and microneedling are proven to boost collagen within our skin beyond where traditional products can reach,” explains Grant, who favors red wavelengths specifically for their all-encompassing effects. Plus, she says “almost anyone can have these treatments, and there’s no downtime or risk.” Get started with the Dr. Dennis Gross DRX SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, a hands-free, chargeable LED mask designed to be worn three minutes a day. For some combination therapy, upgrade to the BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool, which blends healing red light with a superfine needle-studded rollerball to trigger fresh collagen via painless and undetectable micro-punctures to the skin. It also enhances the penetration of any topical actives you apply afterwards, making it especially effective when paired with the aforementioned retinol.
TAKE A SIP
Sorry to break it to you, but a diet filled with fried foods and refined carbohydrates does no favors for your face. Sugar in particular, says Grant, is especially dubious at “assaulting collagen reserves through a process called glycation, where sugar molecules break down the proteins that hold our skin taught and upright.” In addition to eating a ton of dark leafy greens as well as nuts and seeds, ingesting certain elasticity-enhancing peptides like those found in Dr. Barbara Sturm Skin Food, hydrolyzed collagen derived from fish sources, and organic bone broth can directly help improve skin quality, hair and nail growth, and joint mobility. Also, be mindful about coffee and alcohol consumption, warns Grant. “My philosophy is everything in moderation—I never say no to a glass of red wine and a couple of squares of dark chocolate.”
SHOP COLLAGEN BOOSTERS
Dr. Dennis Gross $88
Dr. Dennis Gross $435
Dr. Barbara Sturm $70
iS Clinical $155