How to get glowing, dewy skin.
by Kate Grant
A year ago
Ask most women what their number one skin goal is, and they will likely tell you they want a healthy, lit-from-within glow. Sadly, we aren't all blessed with naturally radiant skin. The good news is that it's entirely possible to achieve your glow goals without having to slather on that shimmering highlighter.
While it is hard to define healthy, glowing skin, we believe that it all starts with a well-functioning moisture barrier (the natural oils/lipids found in the outer layers of the skin that help to retain moisture, and prohibit environmental aggressors from penetrating the skin).
There are a few quick fixes that will quickly help you on your way to glow-getter status. However, that healthy, long-term glow comes from making several small adjustments that ultimately reset your skin. No matter your age or where you're at in life, having a glowing complexion can be a huge confidence boost, and we're here to help you achieve it.
First, let's talk about what causes dull skin.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again; if you are not hydrating your skin from within, then no matter what moisturizer or hydrating serum you use, you will not fix the problem. Loss of hydration does not just affect the top layers of the skin. If your skin is deeply dehydrated in the lower levels of the dermis and epidermis, it decreases the skin's thickness, making wrinkles more pronounced and opens the door to damage of the protective moisture barrier.
The Buildup Of Dead Skin Cells
The skin regenerates itself approximately every 30 days. The newer cells start forming at the skin's bottom layers, and the dead skin cells build up on the surface. This renewal process starts to slow down with age and things like sun exposure or poor diet. Slower cellular turnover leads to skin looking dull, dry, flaky, and can clog or enlarge pores and create an uneven skin tone.
Everyday stressors are enough to throw your whole body out of whack, but it also plays a role in how dull or glowy your skin look. Essentially, stress puts your body into fight or flight mode, increasing cortisol levels and pulling blood to the most vital body parts (not your face). This physiologic reaction can leave your skin looking pale, lack-luster, and tired.
Yes, pollution is an issue even when indoors. Air pollution comes from human activities like manufacturing processes, refineries, exhaust from our cars, cigarette smoke, smog, and more. Air pollution creates a ripple effect of free radical damage that weakens the skin's protective barrier allowing for many other issues to arise, including sensitivity, inflammatory conditions, irritation, hyperpigmentation, acne, enlarged pores, and increases the signs of aging.
UV exposure causes free radical damage that ultimately changes your skin's DNA, leading to premature aging (photoaging) and skin cancer. This damage occurs even in the deepest layers of the skin, which is why it can take years for skin cancer to appear. However, immediate damage can appear as hyperpigmentation (dark spots), broken capillaries, and uneven texture. UV exposure also weakens collagen, leaving skin with more wrinkles.
Lack Of Vitamins And Minerals
With the overabundance of processed foods, combined with today's mass farming practices, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals without taking a multivitamin. These trace nutrients and minerals are imperative to helping your body produce the antioxidants needed for that healthy glow.
Our hormones change as we age, rising when we're children, peaking in our late teens, and declining in our 30s. Whether it's your monthly breakout, dull/dry patches, or melasma, it is clear that hormones ultimately rule our skin. Teens experience this as increased oil and acne, pregnant women struggle with skin darkening and melasma, and women entering menopause experience decreased oil production, dryness, and decreased firmness from collagen loss.
Let's dive into some easy things you can do to achieve that radiant, lit-from-within glow of your dreams.
The Three Minute Facial Massage
A quick facial massage will increase blood flow and help you look (and feel) more alert. We love doing this in the morning or at lunch for a quick pick-me-up. The technique is straightforward and doesn't require any tools (you can use your gua sha facial stone if you're feeling fancy). The trick is to massage in upward strokes. Start at the base of the neck and work your way up to the jawline, continue from the chin out towards the ears, and keep moving in this manner up your cheek. Circle the eyes and continue up in between the brows to the forehead.
Hang Your Head Upside Down
Simply bend at the waist, and let your head hang completely relaxed upside down for two to three minutes. This increases blood flow and brings nutrients and oxygen to the face. Be careful coming back up as you could get light-headed.
Exfoliate Your Skin
The skin's renewal process starts to slow down with age and things like sun exposure or poor diet. Slower cellular turnover leads to skin looking dull, dry, flaky, and can clog or enlarge pores and create an uneven skin tone. Exfoliation is a quick way to break up dead skin cells and get your healthy glow back.
There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators involve a rough ingredient that physically scrubs the top layer of skin, buffing away dead skin cells for instantly brighter and smoother skin. Chemical exfoliators (or exfoliating acids) are acids that work by breaking the bonds between skin cells, so the dead cells are easily sluffed off to reveal brighter, healthier-looking skin. However, if you don't use the right formula for your skin type, or if you over-do it, you can damage your skin's moisture barrier, leading to more dryness and flaking.
In our Flash Forward Thermal Enzymatic Exfoliation Treatment, we combine the best of both worlds with 10% lactic acid, exfoliating fruit enzymes, and gentle jojoba beads for the ultimate at-home facial treatment. Learn more about exfoliating HERE.
It's All About The Barrier
Yes, exfoliating treatments are an essential step to glowing skin. However, there is such a thing as too much of something good. Over-exfoliation (from physical exfoliators, chemical exfoliators, or retinol) can damage your skin's moisture barrier, inhibiting its ability to protect the skin from environmental aggressors and prevent trans-epidermal water loss – leading to dryness, irritation, and sensitivity.
Slather On The Ceramides
Ceramides are essential for healthy skin barrier function. They are the fatty lipids that help the skin retain moisture and prevent dehydration. While the body produces ceramides naturally, they can become depleted as we age and tend to be affected by seasonal weather or external aggressors like over-exfoliation.
We formulated Lightspeed Hydra Glow C Serum with Squalane (the hydrogenated compound of the fatty lipid squalene, which makes up about 13% of our skin barrier) to help replenish the moisture barrier, along with 2% active Sunflower Seed Oil because it's rich in barrier building linoleic acid, which is an essential building block of ceramides.
Rehydrate Before Serums Or Moisturizers
Whether you use a toner or not, it is best to apply your water-based serums and moisturizers to slightly damp skin. This helps to lock in the hydration and get the most out of your products. After you wet your face, you have less than a minute before moisture loss will occur. We recommend using a hydrating toner or gentle facial mist before applying your serums or moisturizers.
Say YES To Hyaluronic Acid Serums
There is a face serum for everything, whether you have dull, dry skin, acne-prone skin, redness, hyperpigmentation, you name it. One of the most popular ingredients in serums is Hyaluronic Acid. This serum works for nearly any skin type. The hyaluronic acid molecules are super soakers when it comes to holding on to moisture. They draw in 1000x their weight in water, leaving you with plump, hydrated skin.
Be sure to rehydrate your skin with a little water or hydrating face mist before applying this serum. If applied to dry skin, it can actually cause further dryness by pulling the moisture from the deeper layers of the skin.
Vitamin C Is A Must
Known as the glow holy grail, vitamin C is renowned for its brightening and skin tone evening abilities. We would be hard-pressed to find an ingredient that performs better when it comes to brightening, resolving hyperpigmentation, or helping to protect against free radical damage. Traditional vitamin C products use L-Ascorbic Acid at 20-30%, which can be irritating for sensitive skin people, and tends to be extremely unstable – meaning that it quickly oxidizes (turning that orange-ish brown color) and can actually cause more harm than good.
We formulated our Lightspeed Hydra Glow C Serum with BV-OSC Vitamin C (Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate), an extremely stable form of vitamin C that penetrates deeper than L-Ascorbic Acid without the risk of irritation. With 10% BV-OSC Vitamin C, you get more collagen building and brightening power than 20-30% L-Ascorbic Acid, with zero risk of the product oxidizing, or causing irritation. Lightspeed combines the best of both worlds, barrier building Squalane with brightening BV-OSC Vitamin C.
Incorporate stimulating ingredients
As we mentioned above, increasing blood flow will bring more oxygen and nutrients to the skin's outer layers. Look for stimulating ingredients like peppermint, vitamin B12, niacinamide, ginseng root, and any warming ingredients like cinnamon or the Thermal Warming Complex found in our Flash Forward Thermal Enzymatic Exfoliation Treatment. These ingredients increase vasodilation, which allows for more blood flow, bringing vital nutrients to the skin.
Reach For A Mid-Day Refresh
Our skin can get dehydrated after hours in front of a computer or running about town. We recommend a quick pick-me-up spritz of a hydrating face mist. Look for face mists that include hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to help keep you glowing through the afternoon.
Check out this article from Allure on the best hydrating face mists.
Netflix & Chill….With A Mask
Hydrating masks are a great way of dialing up the glow and plumping the skin. This is probably the most effortless thing you can do to help soothe dry, dehydrated skin, and the best part is you can do it while sitting on your couch watching reruns of Sex and the City. We recommend using your favorite moisturizing mask or opting for an environmentally friendly sheet mask. Traditional sheet masks are just as bad as plastic bags and straws in terms of major waste. We encourage you to do your research before throwing that sheet mask in your shopping cart.
Here are our favorite environmentally friendly sheet masks:
Orgaid organic compostable and recyclable sheet masks. These are 100% compostable masks, made with mostly organic ingredients and packed in a recyclable cardboard. If you throw this mask in the compost bin, it will complete the composting cycle within a week.
We love this reusable silicone sheet mask from Honest Beauty. It lets you turn your favorite serums and moisturizers into an at-home treatment.
Do A Microcurrent Treatment
We love our NuFace Trinity Facial Toning device (keep an eye out for another blog post about our favorite at-home facial devices). After a ten-minute treatment, you will see a more vibrant and gently lifted complexion. The long-term benefits are where the real payoff is – with two months of regular use, you will have a firmer, more contoured face, fuller lips, and improved texture. It's expensive but worth the investment. They also have refurbished devices at a discounted rate.
Try Red Light Facial Therapy
Red Light Therapy involves exposing the skin to low wavelength red light and has been reported to help with skin issues such as acne, scarring, wrinkles and minimizes the look of UV-related sun damage. Red light therapy uses very low levels of heat and doesn't hurt or burn the skin. It's not the same type of light used in tanning booths, and it doesn't expose your skin to damaging UV rays. According to a study in the journal Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, the red light can penetrate deep into the skin, where the skin cells' mitochondria can absorb the light particles. This can help the cells produce more adenosine triphosphate, which is the energy source for all cells. With this extra energy, the cells may be able to respond better to damage and rejuvenate themselves.
There are many at-home red light therapy devices. One is the NuFace Trinity mentioned above, or you could opt for a full-face version like the Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLight™ FaceWare Pro facial mask.
We encourage you to stick with the professionals on this one. Microneedling can perform mini-miracles when it comes to acne scarring, fine lines, and dullness. It leaves your skin plump and glowing after just one session and produces dramatic results with multiple sessions. Ranging from $300 - $600, it is an investment worth saving up for if you struggle with rough skin or acne scarring. There are at-home options available, but we caution you, as they often end up damaging your skin.
Laser treatments are another in-office treatment that can work wonders for your overall glow, clearing up acne, softening fine lines and wrinkles, reducing hyperpigmentation and sun damage. If you can squeeze a laser treatment into your quarterly or yearly budget, we highly recommend it. There are many different types of lasers that target various concerns ranging from acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, redness, wrinkles, sun damage, etc. Discuss your options with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Take It To The Toes
Don't neglect the rest of your body. Healthy, glowing skin is not just for the face. Turn your shower or bath into a spa treatment. Incorporate dry brushing into your morning routine (more on that HERE). Use an exfoliating body scrub that combines physical and chemical exfoliation from AHAs and sugar like Skinfix Glycolic Scrub and always (yes always) apply a moisturizer immediately after the shower or bath. We like to keep a thick ceramide cream on the nightstand in winter to help combat dry hands and feet.
We are bombarded with external and internal stressors that are continually trying to dampen our glow. However, we are not without our defenses. Whether you want to invest your empire into achieving glow-getter status or just want some quick and easy fixes to dial up the radiance, there are easy at-home techniques and in-office treatments that can help you reach your ultimate glow.
Find out which exfoliating acid is best for your skin type HERE.
Learn the correct way to layer your products HERE.
Does your skin need hydration or moisture? Find out HERE.