A Dermatologist Says That This Skin-Firming Serum Is Like Fraxel in a Bottle

Phot: Getty/jacoblund
Certain skin goals are quicker to achieve than others. A mere whitehead zit can lose its juice overnight if you cover it with a pimple patch, while building collagen to help support and firm skin. A Fraxel facial done by your dermatologist can be a major help in this area, but many of us would often rather turn to skin-care ingredients instead. One that dermatologists call "Fraxel in a bottle"? SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex ($179).

If you're not familiar with Fraxel, it's a potent in-office treatment that gives your skin a rejuvenated and brighter appearance. "Fraxel is a fractionated erbium laser that causes a little bit of damage under the skin to then stimulate collagen production," says Shirley Chi, MD, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist. "With repeated treatments, it will cause some collagen to grow under the skin, which helps with acne scars and fine lines." To mimic these skin-smoothing, dark spot-brightening effects in skin care, it's best to look for collagen-stimulating skin-care ingredients.

With the SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex—a cult-fave, medical-grade serum—growth factors help to improve skin radiance and skin tone. "Products with essential growth factors like the TNS Recovery Complex by SkinMedica trigger collagen and elastin production which are essential to the skin's matrix and help your skin build a good support structure," says David Shafer, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon. "The growth factors promote healing and building of the underlying skin matrix." That results in stronger skin with increased turnover to reveal more of an even glow.

Dr. Chi echoes that growth factors in skin care can help mimic the effects of a Fraxel treatment. "We think that there is cell to cell signaling with growth factors and the skin that can then cause increased fibroblast and collagen production, which would be how it can resemble Fraxel," she says. Besides the growth factors, the potent serum also contains antioxidants and amino acids to further strengthen the skin. "Antioxidants like vitamin C and ferulic acid stimulate collagen production, like a Fraxel treatment," says Dr. Chi. While at $179 the serum is certainly an investment, just think about it this way: You can slather it on every single day for months, making those baby-soft, brighter skin effects last longer than one Fraxel treatment would.

Another way to stimulate your skin's collagen production? Retinol—watch to learn more about the other superstar skin-care ingredient you should know about. 

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