A makeup artist who goes by @mercedesbenssz on Instagram used water bottles in an inventive way, though, that intrigued me. In a recent video she posted, Mercedes took two empty water bottles, squeezed them, then moved them around her face in an upward motion. In the caption she wrote, “How to tighten your skin and have clear skin. Drink up (water) pour up (water). Squeezing empty water bottles and moving upward motion to keeping blood flow circulating to tone and firm the skin.”
With at-home skin-firming devices starting around $150 — not to mention the even more expensive in-office treatments — I couldn’t help but want to know more about this clever way to recycle water bottles. Turns out, I might have gotten a little too excited over nothing.
Ted Lain, a board-certified dermatologist based in Austin, Texas, tells Allure that Mercedes used the water bottles and their slight suction to perform a lymphatic massage. “The lymph system is the body’s secondary waste system, and excess lymphatic fluid accumulation can cause swelling, especially of the cheeks and lower eyelids,” he explains. However, this kind of massage isn’t effective or even proven to firm skin. “‘Firming’ implies increasing the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis, the second layer of skin,” Lain says. “Unfortunately, massage or suction has not been shown to facilitate this.” Insert all the sad face emojis here. I really thought my girl @mercedesbenssz was onto something.
Alas, Lain recommends sticking to skin-care products formulated with retinol to help firm skin, as well as in-office procedures. If you don’t think your creams and serums are cutting it, you could try Ultherapy, which involves a device that heats the lower layers of skin. There’s also fractionated laser resurfacing and microneedling. Both induce a “controlled injury into the skin,” Lain says, “eliciting the body’s own repair mechanisms to produce collagen and elastin.” At-home microneedling devices are now widely available, so maybe reach for those instead of water bottles. It may hurt more than suctioning an empty plastic container to your face, but you’re sure to see results.