A complexion that glows – we all want it, but it often it eludes us. Perhaps you’re using a moisturizer that isn’t quite right, haven’t had time to stay hydrated, or not sleeping well. It happens to the best of us! Whatever the reason that your skin is looking a little dull – here are 10 tips to help you restore that oh-so-gorgeous glow:
1. Cleanse Purposefully
The first step to a face that glows is keeping your skin clean. Sudsing up and rinsing is second nature, but it’s important to do it the right way.
To maximize glow potential, keep these tips in mind:
Wash Your Face Like You Mean It
We’re all busy. And more often than not, we slap on a little cleanser, then give it a quick rub and a rinse. You’re not going to get rid of much gunk on your face that way. When you wash in a rush, it can be easy to miss spots and do an inadequate job of really getting to impurities. Think of your face as a piece of fine china that’s got some grease stuck to it. Since you don’t want to risk damaging it, scrub gently. But to really cleanse thoroughly without getting too vigorous – it’s going to take a bit of time.
Skip the Soap
Use a face wash that’s right for your skin. A good face wash will work as a preventive measure to protect your face’s skin barrier – which helps keep pollutants and bacteria at bay.1 A well-balanced face wash will cleanse gently, while restoring moisture to the face. And natural antioxidant ingredients can help your skin combat free radicals, which contribute to the signs of aging.
2. Moisturize Mindfully
The next skincare step to getting a great glow? A moisturizer that keeps your face properly hydrated to minimize dryness and help prevent the visible signs of aging can help.
Keep ingredients in mind when you’re looking for a moisturizer. The three most common types of ingredients are:
1. Occlusives soften the skin by creating a layer on top of your skin that traps in moisture.
2. Emollients are fatty acids that increase suppleness and work to repair skin.
3. Humectants bring out the moisture from the deeper layers of your skin, pulling it to the top.
Most moisturizers have a mix of all three types of ingredients, but if you have oily skin, it’s best to stay away from formulas that are heavy on occlusives – they can trap sebum on the face, leading to unnecessary breakouts.
Ingredients That Promote Glowing Skin
1. Ceramides: Ceramides are natural lipids that exist on the surface of the skin and help it regulate moisture. Topical applications of additional ceramides can aid the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
2. Vitamin C: This famous antioxidant brightens skin and helps fade sun spots by interfering with pigment overproduction. Its antioxidant properties also help the skin heal more quickly.2
3. Retinoids: With skin-firming benefits, retinol will help your skin reflect more light, making for a true and honest complexion that glows.3
Oil Your Skin!
Putting oil on your face sounds counter-intuitive, especially if you have greasy skin to begin with. But oil is an effective moisturizer that actually works to balance your natural oil production and deliver nutrients. And – surprise! It doesn’t clog pores! It’s also a shortcut to a glowing face if you add one or two drops of it to your moisturizer, serum or foundation.
- Jasmine oil: Restores moisture and shields from environmental damage.
- Rosehip oil: Helps correct dark spots and reduce fine lines.
- Vitamin E oil: Replenishes dry skin and fights scars.
- Chia oil: Fights inflammation and sun damage with omega fatty acids and antioxidants.
Dead skin cells are sloughed off naturally in a process called desquamation. But age, hormones, and vitamin deficiencies can slow the process down significantly. When dead skin cells pile up on top of each other, they can give the face a dull appearance – the opposite of the glow you’re looking for.4
Retinol–a natural exfoliant–does a lot to counteract this skin dullness. A derivative of vitamin A–retinol is a natural exfoliant that promotes cell turnover and brightens the skin. Not only that, retinol boosts the production of collagen and elastin–the proteins that keep skin looking firm and youthful. So, to encourage that glow, retinol will go a long way.
4. Wear a Face Mask!
Nothing says pampering yourself like relaxing with a good face mask. And they truly up your glow factor, restoring balance and instilling nutrients. Again – choose a face mask based on the results you want for your skin:
- Combination Skin: For a DIY mask, combine 2 tablespoons manuka honey with 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Manuka honey is a humectant that will moisturize the skin, while lemon juice lightens the skin and shrinks pore size.
- Aging or Oily Skin: Clay masks draw out impurities from deep in the skin, helping prevent clogged pores that may lead to dullness. Clay also absorbs excess oil on the surface of the skin, making for a less shiny complexion. Kaolin and bentonite ingredients are particularly good for exfoliating and promoting the skin regeneration process, visibly reducing the appearance of fine lines. Speaking of clay, have you tried the new Beverly Hills MD clay mask yet? It’s been getting really good reviews!
- Dry Skin: For an at-home mask, mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and ½ an avocado, mashed, into a smooth paste. The olive oil and aloe vera are hydrating and anti-aging, while the avocado provides antioxidant benefits that protect your skin.
5. Put A Little Lemon On Your Face
Nothing dampens your glow like uneven skin tone. But there’s good news: lemon juice may help.
The citric acid in lemon is a deep cleanser that tightens the skin on the face, causing pores to push out blackheads. Dark spots and acne scars? The citric acid also helps reduce their appearance.
And the alpha-hydroxy found in lemon juice has been found to fight wrinkles, improve skin smoothness, and foster elasticity.5
The simplest way to reap the benefits of this vibrant, yellow citrus fruit is by diluting the lemon juice with a bit of water. If you like, you can add a few drops of honey for its humectant properties. Then, soak a cotton ball in the solution and swipe across your face. Wait until it dries – about five to 10 minutes – and rinse your face with cold water.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar As A Toner AND A Drink
Did you know our skin is naturally acidic? This acid helps skin protect itself from foreign invaders, like pollution and free radicals. But cleansing and exfoliating your face – which are great habits – sometimes have the unwanted side effect of stripping away our skin’s acidity, diminishing its ability to protect itself.
That’s where raw, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) comes in. It turns out, ACV has similar acid levels (pH) to our skin. So a topical application of ACV to your face may help restore your skin’s natural protective mechanism. This, in turn, will help your skin balance its own oil and dryness and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and boost glow.
Some other benefits? The beta-carotene in ACV will help prevent future skin damage, while the alpha-hydroxy and acetic acids will stimulate circulation and minimize pores. You’ll be walking away with tighter skin and a noticeable glow.
To use ACV as a toner, dilute it with water (it’s strong stuff). If you have sensitive skin, do a patch test on your wrist to make sure your skin reacts well. Then, soak a washcloth or cotton ball in the diluted vinegar and swab on the face. Don’t rinse. Do this three to four times a week.
Apple cider vinegar also works from the inside out. For skin that glows even more, add one tablespoon ACV to one cup of water and drink. Your skin will love it!
7. Sugar, Dairy, and Alcohol, Oh My!
Foods get digested and broken down into the essential elements that feed our body’s organs – and that includes our skin. But, if you’re feeding your skin food that it has to fight against – as opposed to food that nourishes it – your glow will diminish significantly. Limit these in your diet to get your best glow:
There’s nothing better than a good piece of chocolate cake.
But that rush of sugar to your bloodstream? It can kickstart a process called “glycation”. Glycation is when proteins and sugars hook up to form something called “AGEs” – advanced glycation end products. These AGEs naturally increase in the skin as we age, but sugar can prematurely increase them. And here’s the thing: They affect collagen and elastin fibers, making them less resilient and flexible – leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.6
Not to mention–sugar spikes can boost production of androgens. These androgens can make it easier for pimples to thrive on your face.
If you’re prone to acne, consider experimenting with a dairy-free diet. There may be a correlation between milk consumption and a tendency for breakouts. It seems that androgens and hormone levels found in milk – even organic milk without added hormones – may affect sebum production. And if sebum production is out of balance, it can contribute to an increase in acne.7
It’s nice to unwind with a glass of wine. But while you’re unwinding – the glow on your face could be dimming.
You see, alcohol makes it hard for your skin to retain water. It’s a diuretic – which flushes water out of the body. It also suppresses a hormone called “vasopressin,” which is what helps the skin reabsorb water. And we all know that night-after-one-too-many look: dull, sallow, skin and bags under your eyes the size of duffels.
So, if you’re going to indulge – make sure you alternate your drinks with water to maintain some hydration.
8. More of These, Please
There are plenty of delicious nutrient options that can make you feel and look luminous. Get some of these in your diet:
You’ve probably heard a lot about antioxidants. They work to reduce and neutralize the presence of free radicals, which damage cells and contribute to the appearance of aging.8
Antioxidants are present in many vitamins (vitamins A and C, for example), but some foods are richer in antioxidants than others.
Eat these: berries, pecans, walnuts, kidney beans, and dark chocolate
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids work effectively to help protect the skin from sun damage, and its anti-inflammatory properties fight irritation which can lead to free radicals and aging.9
Eat these: salmon, eggs, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts
You now know the benefits of applying vitamin C directly to your skin, but make sure you’re getting it in your diet, too. Vitamin C is integral in the production of collagen. Collagen is the protein in your skin that keeps it smooth, plump, durable, and glowing.
Eat these: oranges, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli
Vitamin A fights wrinkles and helps fade brown spots by encouraging the production and growth of healthy skin cells that keep skin firm and youthful.
Eat these: sweet potatoes, bell peppers, dark, leafy greens, and cantaloupe
High in antioxidants and an effective defense against sun damage, vitamin E is great for protecting the top layers of your skin. And when these outer layers are healthy, it helps seal in moisture, keeping skin hydrated.
Eat These: almonds, spinach, olive oil, and avocados
Zinc is a trace element that helps in cell production and natural cell sloughing – both of which will keep your complexion from looking dull and tired.
Eat These: oysters, shrimp, spinach, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds
9. Sleep It Off
You want to watch just one more episode of your favorite show. Don’t do it! That extra hour of sleep can make a real difference to your skin.
You know how much better you feel after getting a full eight hours of shut-eye? Your skin feels the same way. After all, it’s just spent the entire day fending off bacteria, dealing with UV rays, sloughing off old skin cells, and producing new ones. It needs some time off. Just like you.
Sleep is when your skin’s repair mechanisms really go to work. It’s when the skin manufactures collagen and elastin – the connective tissue responsible for its resilience, elasticity, and firmness.10
Being sleep-deprived, on the other hand, reduces the amount of time your skin has to do repair work, slowing the cell turnover process. This, in turn, can lead to wrinkles and skin thickening
10. Get a Glowing Complexion… With Exercise
If you’ve ever said you don’t sweat — you “glow” — well, then, you might be onto something. Just like diet and sleep, exercise is a great lifestyle tweak you can use to take your complexion from dull to dynamic. Here are two favors exercise can do for your skin:
Increases blood flow: A good cardio workout will get your heart pumping and increase blood flow. This uptick in blood flow will deliver oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells and carry away any cellular debris or waste.11 You can think of it this way: an increase in blood flow works to cleanse your skin from the inside-out.
Eases stress: It’s not uncommon to break out when you’re feeling stressed.12 But did you also know that it’s not uncommon for your skin to age when you’re stressed? You see, chronic or elevated stress levels can actually alter your DNA and speed up the aging process.13 But scientific trials have shown that exercise cans significantly reduce feelings of stress.14 In other words, exercise won’t only make you feel more peaceful — it’ll make you look more peaceful as well.
So if you’re wondering how to have a glowing complexion? The answer is — with a good bit of sweating. (Or — “glowing”!)
BONUS TIP: Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Okay, so it might take a bit of time to incorporate all these skin care practices into your routine. And if you have a party you need to look glowing for tonight? Well then, fake it with under-eye corrector or highlighter!
- For oily skin: Use a powder formula, and dust it on your cheekbones, brow bones, chin, and the very tip of your nose.
- For dry skin: Use a cream formula, and dab it in the same places.
Glowing Complexion – Here You Come!
So if things have gotten a bit dull in the complexion department – shake up your skincare routine. Start putting things on your face that your skin loves, eat well, get plenty of sleep, and see just how far a good face wash and moisturizer can go for your skin.
Without a doubt, these glow-inducing skin care practices will set you on a more radiant path.
Article updated: March 27, 2018
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