How Realistic Is The New Obsession With ‘Jello Skin’?

Photographed by Cottonbro.
From 'glass skin' (skin so dewy, it's almost reflective) to 'cloud skin' (matte with a touch of glow in all the right places), it's difficult to keep up with the many aesthetic trends that flood our FYP. This month, the beauty craze on the tip of everyone's tongue is 'jello skin'.
The trend went viral thanks to TikTok. In a TikTok video which has 1.5 million views, @glowwithava's facialist explained that if skin bounces right back when touched, that means it's firm, "like the perfect consistency of jello". According to the pro, that's when you know there's a "beautiful level of collagen" in the skin.
@glowwithava JELLO SKIN 💙 we want that bounce back people! #jelloskin #collagen #beautytipswithava #bouncy ♬ original sound - AVA
Lo and behold, jello skin was born. Since then, the #jelloskin hashtag has amassed an enormous 14.5 million views on TikTok, with skincare experts, TikTokers and even beauty brands getting on board — and a whole lot of face-pinching in the process. You're probably doing it right now. Aesthetician Alicia Lartey explains that the jello skin trend encapsulates three things: hydration, elasticity and suppleness of the skin. "Jello (or jelly) in particular has a distinct look and feel so the term can be used to comment on texture and deeper skin layers," she says.
Plump and radiant, there's no denying that jello skin looks great. "Omg collagen goals," said one, while another wrote: "Your skin is so beautiful." But a handful of TikTok comments prove that not everyone is sold. "Supplements can help a little but it's not worth negatively comparing yourself," said a TikToker underneath the video. Another observed: "Not even my 20y old skin is like this 💀."
So just how attainable is it? One big difference between jello skin and other skin trends like glass skin and cloud skin is that the latter two can be achieved with makeup: a dab of reflective highlighter here, a touch of liquid bronzer there. Jello skin, on the other hand, is more about your skin's internal structure.
According to the experts, not everyone might be able to achieve the jelly-like skin that's taking social media by storm — and that's okay. "While the jello skin trend is certainly an example of promoting hydration and elasticity in your skin, the youthful appearance of skin that gives it that 'bounce-back' factor is often reliant on genetic factors that are outside of your control," explains Dr Anna Chacon, dermatology advisor at Favor. She says studies show that as much as 60% of your skin's appearance (including how youthful it looks) has to do with genes.
Cosmetic doctor and skincare expert Dr Ana explains that the 'snap-back' test — currently trending with jello skin — is actually a tool which experts use in a clinical setting to assess for loss of collagen and elasticity in a more mature age group, for example those who are peri- and post-menopausal. "When the skin takes three seconds or longer to snap back, it signifies a loss of elasticity, thinning or dehydration of the skin," says Dr Ana. But she adds that expecting your skin to snap back immediately is unrealistic.
"It's an irrelevant and arbitrary measure that could contribute to insecurities and unhealthy beauty ideals," she says, adding that some skincare trends born on social media may encourage viewers to hyper-focus on certain characteristics that don't actually have any particular significance to their skin health. Bouncy, pinch-worthy cheeks may be a fun beauty craze but Dr Ana argues that from a professional point of view, there isn't really such a thing as jello skin. "We shouldn't be comparing a living organ to anything but," she says.

Contrary to popular belief, there is very limited data to support the use of topical collagen in skincare, rendering a lot of trending serums and moisturisers essentially useless.

Alicia is wary that the discussion around bouncy skin trends has not left much room for ageing skin, which may be less supple or feature fine lines and wrinkles. You don't need us to tell you that all of these things are inevitable and entirely normal. But social media often perpetuates the notion that smooth, flawless faces are the ideal — and that can have an effect on self-esteem.
With that in mind, Alicia believes that the jello skin trend can be positively tweaked to be inclusive of everyone. "Ageing is a beautiful thing that not everyone is lucky enough to experience," she says, "but you can absolutely have hydrated skin, no matter the age." Dr Chacon agrees that while there are ways to improve skin elasticity and plumpness, embracing your skin as it is — especially during the ageing process — is equally important.
"One way that I recommend people work to embrace their skin is by keeping it hydrated," Dr Chacon explains, for example by drinking plenty of water. "I also recommend exfoliating skin often. This promotes healthy, bright skin." Influencer Ava recommends facial massage using tools like gua sha and adding hyaluronic acid into a skincare routine.

Your skin might not bounce back like jelly but that doesn't mean you can't preserve the collagen your skin already has — and on a budget, too.

TikTokers promoting trends like glass skin and jello skin often feature pricy serums or talk about layering multiple skincare products throughout the day. Not everyone has the money for three moisturisers but Dr Chacon says that there are less expensive ways to achieve similar results. Sure, your skin might not bounce back like literal jelly but that doesn't mean you can't preserve the collagen your skin already has — and on a budget, too.
Maintaining collagen in your skin is down to a handful of lifestyle factors, says Ava, such as being safe in the sun, avoiding smoking and eating a balanced diet. When it comes to skincare, you might want to look into using a vitamin C serum in the morning, says Dr Chacon. "This is a great way to promote hydration but vitamin C is well-known for promoting the structure of collagen, too." It does this by protecting skin from collagen-zapping environmental factors like UV and pollution.
If you don't want to spend too much, try Bondi Sands Gold'n Hour Vitamin C Serum, £9.99, or Revolution Skincare 3% Vitamin C Serum, £8, both of which are effective and hydrating. If you have more to spend, R29 rates Temple Spa Let's Concentrate Skin Glowing Serum, £50, which uses a gentle version of vitamin C called ascorbyl glucoside to make skin gleam.
If your skin doesn't get on well with vitamin C, Dr Chacon has a different suggestion. "Some other methods of encouraging hydration and increasing collagen production include using argireline," she says. TikTokers especially are extolling its virtues, saying that the ingredient is like Botox in a bottle. Try The Ordinary's Argireline Solution 10%, £7.30, which can be used morning and night and layered under moisturiser.
All experts featured in this article agreed on one other collagen-preserving skincare product: a high factor sunscreen applied daily. Dr Chacon explains that sun exposure decreases collagen production so SPF is also a good way to increase hydration and collagen in the skin. Wearing an SPF 30 to 50 every single day throughout the year, as well as practising safe sun habits, like seeking shade and covering up, will achieve the bulk of the job of preventing loss of plumpness with the years, says Dr Ana.
K-Beauty obsessives love Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50, £18, which sinks in quickly, moisturises perfectly and doesn't leave even a trace of a white cast. If you'd rather spend less, try Garnier Ambre Solaire Super UV Anti Dark Spots & Anti Pollution Face Fluid SPF50+, £8, or Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ for Face Fragrance Free, £6.99, both of which are top-rated by beauty editors. To really iron-clad your skin against collagen depletion, layer SPF over your chosen vitamin C or hydrating serum.
So what about actual collagen? Contrary to popular belief, there is very limited data to support the use of topical collagen in skincare, says Dr Ana, rendering a lot of trending serums and moisturisers essentially useless save for some hydrating benefits. "I don't recommend topical collagen to my patients," adds Dr Ana. "There are some studies that have shown that collagen peptide supplements such as Skinade may have a benefit to collagen levels, although due to the relatively high cost this is something that I think of as an optional addition only after skincare, lifestyle and safe sun habits."
Finally, in terms of nighttime skincare, using retinoids (such as retinol or retinal, which works 11 times faster than traditional retinol) is a good way to increase the production of collagen in your skin over time. Dr Ana recommends using a retinoid two to four times a week, while Dr Chacon suggests combining your chosen retinoid serum with something containing polyglutamic acid to maximise the hydrating, plumping effect. Try Boots Ingredients Polyglutamic Acid Serum, £7, or The Inkey List's Polyglutamic Acid Serum, £14.49. As retinoids make skin sensitive to sunlight, it's always a good idea to apply a high factor SPF in the daytime.
Most of TikTok's skincare movements — including jello skin — are exciting to try and pretty harmless on the surface. But as the comments underneath the multiple trending videos show, it can be hard not to get sucked into believing that skin is only 'healthy' if it appears or moves a certain way. That is simply not true. Dr Ana tells all of her patients who are grappling with skin insecurities that there really is no positive outcome of so closely inspecting your face. "Normal skin is not perfect skin," she concludes. That's certainly something to hold on to in a world where a shiny new skincare trend is born every minute.
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