Plastic surgeons know a thing or two about aging—not all of which involve going under the knife. Every year, new skin-plumping products hit the market and make great strides. We spoke with plastic surgeon David Shafer, MD, to learn about which are the best.
"Skin-plumping products cause a temporary, localized swelling in the area to help boost the tissue and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles," says Shafer. To get the most out of your skin-plumping routine, be sure to apply products daily (along with sunscreen), stay hydrated, and maintain a balanced diet. And don't forget to pay attention to a room's humidity level. "Using a humidifier is a great way to help ensure your skin does not dry out while you sleep in the winter," Shafer says.
What to Look For in a Skin-Plumping Product
Hyaluronic acid will decrease the appearance of dryness as it locks in moisture—the vital component of healthy-looking skin—while antioxidants "help prevent damage to the skin and improve overall skin health," Shafer notes. While Shafer does say that "conservative" lip and wrinkle injections boost the goal for smoother skin, there's no need to go that far if you'd rather stick to topical ingredients.
Ceramides are a specific type of fat or lipids. Dermatologists recommend applying products with them twice daily, in the morning and at night, for best results. They can restore the skin barrier, lock in moisture, reduce signs of aging, and even appease inflammation. Shafer notes that "one product, HA5 Smooth and Plump Lip System ($58) from SkinMedica, contains dimethicone to help hold in moisture, glycerine to help smooth and shine lips, and hyaluronic acid to help attract and retain moisture."
You may know this word in relation to collagen, and for good reason: Peptides are known as collagen boosters that also help to preserve your body's supply of this needed protein. "Peptides tell your cells to produce more collagen, one of the major building blocks of the skin," Erin Gilbert, MD, FAAD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist and neuroscientist told us. "So by applying them directly to your skin, you're telling your body it needs to make more collagen."
We asked Shafer for his advice on the skin-plumping products to use daily, and he gave us nine that range from $180 down to $7.
SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
Full of hyaluronic acids
If budget isn't an issue, try SkinMedica's HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator. "This has five different types of hyaluronic acid to immediately plump skin and keeps it plump over time," Shafer says.
Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Plankton Extract | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 1 and 2 oz | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex
Has more than 380 highly-concentrated growth factors
Encourages cell growth
Targets blood vessels
The HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator isn't the only solid option from SkinMedica. "This incorporates the highest concentration of a patented growth factor blend, at 93.6 percent," Shafer says. "The tissue nutrient solution has more than 380 growth factors and cytokines."
Active Ingredients: Cytokines, Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 1 oz | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing Hydragel Complex
Improves tone, texture, and clarity
Might be drying for some
If you take one thing away, it's that hyaluronic acid should be your hero ingredient to plump fine lines. This product by Elizabeth Arden incorporates it into a gel formula. "This contains hyaluronic acid to smooth skin and minimize the look of lines and wrinkles," Shafer notes.
Active Ingredients: Tree Mushroom Extract, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic Acid | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 2.6 oz | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum
Penetrates the skin
Reduces wrinkles up to 45 percent
If you notice your skin is starting to need more plumping, it might be time to upgrade your serum to something formulated for anti-aging. "This is a peptide-rich serum that penetrates the skin to reduce the visible signs of aging and keep it looking healthy," Shafer explains. "Matrixyl 3000 is a highly effective peptide that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 45 percent."
Active Ingredients: Green Tea, Omega-3 Fatty Acids | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 2 oz | Cruelty Free: N/A | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream with Hyaluronic Acid
Gentle enough for sensitive skin
Sticky on the skin
Get more bang for your buck with Cetaphil's Hydrating Night Cream. "This cream is formulated with hyaluronic acid, a powerful moisturizing agent known for its ability to retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water," Shafer says. "It also has a pro-vitamin complex and olive extract."
Active Ingredients: Hydrogenated Polydecene, Glycerin | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Revlon Youth FX Fill + Blur Foundation
Infused with SPF 20 for UV protection
Comes in 12 shades
Provides foundation while plumping
Consistency could use some tweaks
Kill two birds with one stone by using a foundation that's infused with skin-plumping properties. "This foundation works to fill in and blur lines and wrinkles with micro-filters and optical diffusers," Shafer says.
Active Ingredients: SPF 20 | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: Fair to Deep | Size: 1 oz | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: N/A
Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Can plump while also preventing stretch marks
Evens out tone
Promotes new collagen production
You may know of Bio-Oil as a product that can help prevent stretch marks during pregnancy, but did you know that it can also be applied to your face? "Bio-Oil is another good trick," Shafer says. "Applying Bio-Oil can keep your skin's barriers hydrated and thereby plump up your skin cells. Wrinkles appear less obvious on moisturized skin."
Active Ingredients: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Lavender Oil | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 2, 4.2, and 6.7 oz | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Revision Skincare D.E.J. Face Cream
Evens out tone
Full of antioxidants
Promotes a healthy microbiome
Double up on your skin plumping by first using a concentrated serum and then using a moisturizer formulated to fill lines, like this one. "This contains a proprietary ceramide blend, specialized herbal extracts, and a unique peptide combination to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," Shafer explains. "It also provides intense moisture for a smoother skin texture."
Active Ingredients: Jojoba Esters, Ceramides | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Senté ATP Reset Moisturizer
Restores the lipid barrier
If your moisture levels are high, your skin will look plumper, so reach for ultra-hydrating products like this moisturizer. "This contains sunflower and soy phospholipids to restore the lipid barrier, as well as cross-linked hyaluronic acid to improve moisture," Shafer explains.
Active Ingredients: Sunflower, Soy Phospholipids, Hyaluronic Acid | Finish: N/A | Shade Range: N/A | Size: 1.7 oz | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
How do you get plump skin?
Choosing a product with skim plumping qualities is the perfect start on the quest for plumper skin. In addition to plumping products, you can exfoliate more often so that you don't have dead skin sitting atop your face exacerbating fine lines and wrinkles.
What does "plump your skin" mean?
The term "plump your skin" refers to the act of helping your skin appear smoother, with fewer lines and visible wrinkles. The word "plump" applies because it denotes high smoothness and minimal lines.
How can you tell if your skin is plump?
Plump skin should have considerable elasticity, with an overall look that is glowy, smooth, and full. The overall look of skin that is not plump may be tired, dull, or hollow.
Meet the Expert
David Shafer, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Plastic Surgery and Laser Center.
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