The Newest Anti-Aging Treatments on the Block

Lax — oh fine, saggy — skin is a tough proposition. There are constantly new products and procedures that claim to firm skin, but they're often either ineffective or too invasive. Not these! We know because we tried them.

By The Plum Editors
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1. Serucell Serum with KFS Cellular Protein Complex

As we age, some of our skin cells opt for semi-retirement. They dial down productivity, scale back on cell-to-cell communication—and cause a dramatic dip in the production of skin-firming collagen and elastin. Their diminished effort also causes the skin to loosen its lock on something called the Rete Ridge, a little-known juncture between the upper and lower layers of our skin. When the skin isn’t securely bonded to this ridge, it begins to sag and wrinkle — which is where Serucell Serum ($225; serucell.com) comes in. This new skincare formula aims to revive intercellular communication, coax some of those retirees back into the workforce, restore collagen and elastin production and reinforce the skin’s connection to the Rete Ridge. Serucell’s star active is a blend called KFS (Keratinocyte Fibroblast Serum), which is made up of more than 1500 naturally-occurring skin proteins. KFS is the creation of Walter Neto, MD, a surgeon in Huntington, West Virginia, who was in his lab studying solutions for wounded skin when he stumbled upon communication between healthy, productive skin cells. He realized that by harnessing this intercellular code, he could reconnect damaged cells, as well as motivate aging cells to pick up their communication (and productivity) again. That code became what is now known as the KFS complex. When applied to the skin, KFS reminds semi-retired cells how to connect and work cooperatively again. The result, over time: firmer, plumper, smoother skin.

Tester comments: A little goes a long way; two pumps of Serucell Serum covers your whole face and most of your neck. The serum also absorbs very quickly so, while your skin feels soft, the finish isn’t tacky. I first noted a change in my skin about two weeks after I began using Serucell. My skin tone, which is prone to pink blotchiness, was more even and not as reactive. I also felt like my pores were less noticeable, and the skin around my eyes was less crepe-y. My skin also felt exceptionally well hydrated, despite Serucell’s very lightweight consistency. I’ve been using the serum for close to three months now, and in addition to maintaining all of the aforementioned benefits, my skin seems tighter—especially around my mouth, where I was sure I was developing jowls. The sagging is not completely gone, but it has noticeably improved.

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2. Emepelle

Have you ever heard of EDS? We hadn’t, but if you’re over 40, you almost certainly have it. It stands for estrogen-deficient skin, and it’s a primary cause of skin aging that occurs in women who are in perimenopause or menopause. Here’s the sad chain of events that leads to EDS. As we age, our estrogen levels naturally decline, which results in accelerated collagen loss (collagen being the substance that keeps skin plump and pillow-y). Within the first five years after menopause, in fact, we lose 30 percent of our collagen. (The good news is the decline slows after that.) And while women may receive hormone replacement therapies, topical estrogen, or phytoestrogens to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, none of them are specifically designed to help the look of your skin. 

Enter Emepelle (emepelle.com), a collection of two (just two!) products that feature something called MEP technology. MEP is NOT estrogen. But it has been proven to help restore the function of estrogen-deficient skin non-hormonally. The two products, a serum ($175) and a night cream ($195) are also packed with other time-tested anti-agers, including antioxidants, peptides, hyaluronic acid and (in the cream only) retinol. The serum can be used once or twice a day, but the cream should only be used at night. 

Tester comments: It feels “active” on your skin. As in, it tingles a bit. I happen to like that because I feel like it’s really working. I also like that it is hydrating without being greasy. Is it a facelift in a jar? No, but nothing is. It did, however, make my jaw look more defined with prolonged use.

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3. Silhouette Instalift

Take note if you're eating while reading, this one could gross you out. Silhouette Instalift (which some refer to as a “thread lift”) involves threading something that resembles fishing line underneath the surface of your skin (don’t worry, lidocaine is injected into your face first). Said fishing line is studded with tiny little cones, which are naturally derived and serve as a way to activate your skin’s collagen production as they are absorbed. They are positioned in the deepest layers of your skin where they anchor themselves into your tissue creating a kind of web that elevates your face from within. Basically, you’re creating an extra support system under the surface of your skin while stimulating the production of collagen, which also helps firm you up. The effects last about two years. (The cost varies by physician, from about $3500 to $5,000; visit instalift.com for more information.)

Tester comments: It truly didn’t hurt — I didn’t even take a single aspirin post-procedure. I was awake through the whole thing, and I had minimal bruising and puckering (which can occur when your saggy skin is getting re-draped). I’m pretty blown away by the results. I look taut but not pulled. And because the effects are long-lasting, and I won’t be needing/craving any injectables, the price seems justifiable. The only downside was that I felt the threads under my skin for about four weeks after the procedure, but the feeling subsided completely as they dissolved. See luxurgerynyc.com for befores and afters.

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