Two things I've been unabashedly devoted to for quite some time are medical-grade skincare and Kacey Musgraves. Sure, trendy, beautifully-packaged skincare is fun in the moment, but I want the products that I put on my face and body to have clinical trials and dermatologists behind them (as for the latter, just listen to the entire Golden Hour album once and you'll understand.) So when both worlds collided and I found out that Musgraves said professional skincare brand Biopelle's Tensage Anti-Aging Skin Serum was "one of the best skincare products [she's] ever tried," I couldn't wait to bring it home and give it a go it myself (likely while playing "Slow Burn" in the background).
How Does It Work?
The magic science behind the serum lies in a component called SCA Biorepair Technology, which contains growth factors, glycoproteins, and antioxidants to help repair the skin, especially following in-office treatments like microneedling. For those just looking to give their skin a boost, the serum helps repair and regenerate tissue and boosts collagen, thus reducing fine lines and rendering skin plumper and firmer. A recent study found that using the ingredient for 90 days significantly improves skin's moisture levels and softness while also reducing fine lines and wrinkles. And, unsurprisingly, dermatologists love it too.
"I actually use the Biopelle ampoules oftenI recommend it and find them to be a useful addition to many skincare regimens and, more commonly, post-procedure," says dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian. "These ampoules are derived from snail secretions and contain a natural growth factor that improves wound healing, which is also useful for collagen production and anti-aging (hence why so many dermatologists love it!). It shortens the time it takes to recover from procedures like lasers, ablative treatments for scars, and microneedling."
Ted Lain, M.D. echos these sentiments, saying, "In skincare, repairing the skin with growth factors includes post-procedural healing, but also, when used on a daily basis, instigates the growth of new skin cells leading to a healthier, younger-appearing complexion." He also notes the power of the antioxidants, which fend off free-radicals in the skin responsible for premature aging and, in extreme cases, skin cancer.
Meet the Expert
Rachel Nazarian, M.D., F.A.A.D., is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Manhattan and specializes in general and cosmetic dermatology as well as skin cancer. She is a faculty member at Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology.
Who Can Use the Ampoules?
According to Lain, luckily most all skin types can reap the benefits of the serum. He adds, "Since it contains ingredients to help protect and repair, SCA is appropriate for all ages as well." He does advise, however, to apply the serum to a small test patch of skin first if you have especially sensitive skin as a precaution.
Meet the Expert
Ted Lain, M.D. is board-certified dermatologist and chief medical officer specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the hair, skin and nails. He is also well-versed in cosmedic and laser procedures.
How Do You Apply It?
The application process is half the fun. In the box, you'll find 10 ampoules capped in cardboard sleeves (seven are to be applied nightly while the last three are to be spread out once per week for the remaining three weeks). The directions say to leave the cardboard sleeve on the vial while you "crush gently between thumb and forefinger," but I found that by taking the sleeve off, I was better able to manipulate the plastic tube. Essentially, there's a smaller vial suspended within the larger contraption that's holding the liquid and can be easily crushed and cracked on contact, which then releases the liquid and allows it to flow up into the cotton tip. Just be sure not to crush the vial while holding it upside-down or else you could have a bit of a mess on your hands. (See the crushing in action below.)
To dispense the serum, you need to squeeze the vial quite hard with your fingers until the inner vial bursts (sort of like activating a glow stick). Then, you tip the vial cotton-side down using the padded tip as an applicator to make sweeping motions along your face and neck. (Truth be told, I'm not too precious about the process and just squeeze droplets of serum onto my skin before rubbing it all in.) The liquid is quite viscous, like an oil-serum hybrid, but without the greasiness or undesirable after effects. It's also so intensely moisturizing that I could forgo moisturizer altogether (but since I'm a beauty editor and love my products, I still apply a ceramide-rich cream afterward just to lock in all the goodness).
The brand claims you'll see results in just 24 hours, which is quite a weighted claim, but I can say with 100% sincerity that when I woke up the next morning, I was pretty shocked at the overall improved tone, texture, and clarity staring back at me in the mirror. With continued use, I felt my skin even looked a bit lifted and more taut, a welcomed result as I enter my 30s and fear the effects of skin degradation and gravity weighing on my once-supple skin. The most shocking change, however, was that the fine line running horizontally along the top of my forehead had diminished significantly, to the point where I had to step closer to the mirror and squint to confirm whether or not it was still there.
My only gripe with the product is that the packaging isn't exactly sustainable and I wish it were all packaged in one bottle (Biopelle does, however, sell a variety of serums in 1-ounce containers.) The reason for this, the brand tells me, is more intuitive than just a marketing tactic: Each monodose ensures that the product is sterile and delivered in the most hygienic means possible, especially for those with compromised skin post-procedure. By squeezing the serum up into a swab, your fingers never have to actually touch your skin (so perhaps I should rethink my personal application tactic). Also, while it's quite expensive and certainly a privilege to be able to use, considering its incredible results and the clinical studies behind it, I can justify forking over more money than I normally would, especially because the investment is dramatically changing the state of my skin before my eyes.
Next up: the best serums for every skin type.
Singh, Preeti, and D.k. Singh. Binary Combination of Carbohydrates and Amino Acids as Snail Attractant in Pellets Containing Molluscicides against the Snail Lymnaea Acuminata. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, vol. 92, no. 3, 2008, pp. 120–124., doi:10.1016/j.pestbp.2008.07.002