While you're hyper-focused on ironing out wrinkles with creams and injectables, there may be another skin issue trying to steal your youthful glow. Dullness -- a result of dead skin cell build-up -- is a common complexion woe. But, it doesn't have to be! Combat a lackluster look with these simple steps.
As we age, skin cell turnover gets slower…and slower. Speed up the process with an at-home peel. You can whip up your own with mashed papaya. The fruit is packed with an enzyme that boosts skin cell turnover.
Or, buy a prepackaged peel like Neova Serious Glypeel Peel-Off Mask ($56) that contains glycolic acid, which works by breaking down the gunk that bonds dead skin cells just below the top layer of skin.
Turns out "beauty sleep" isn't just a myth. Researchers from Case Western Reserve University found that sleep quality affects the glow and luminosity of skin. Women who got a good amount of zzz's recovered more efficiently from stressors to the skin, like sunburn. Most experts suggest that adults get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for optimum rest.
If you want glowing skin, it is more important than you think to have a good diet. "I find that the best skin diet is one that involves eating veggies of different colors for every meal and drinking a green juice every day," says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas.
Eat a bit of avocado every morning, or throw a half of one into your morning smoothie. "By snacking on avocado, you're supplying the skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients to hydrate from the inside out and bring back your glow," Vargas says.
Don't like avocado? Sip liquid chlorophyll instead; it tastes like mint, oxygenates the skin, and works from the inside out to quickly oxygenate skin and boost luminosity.
Want to really smooth skin while you moisturize? Look at your lotion’s label for “galactoarabinan,” a natural ingredient that causes cell turnover similar to common exfoliating ingredients such as lactic or glycolic acid. What makes it different is that it’s anti-inflammatory and rarely leads to skin irritation. One to try: Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer ($100).
When you feel like your skin needs a radiance boost, hit the kitchen to whip up a homemade face mask. Vargas swears by using a mask made with yogurt (2 tablespoons), almond powder (1 tablespoon), and honey (1 tablespoon) once a week. The lactic acid in the yogurt helps smooth and exfoliate skin. Meanwhile, honey has natural antibacterial properties and almond powder helps lift dead skin cells.
When it comes to sloughing off dead skin with a scrub, less is actually more. "That dead skin layer keeps the moisture in, so over-exfoliating the skin can cause it to become extra dry," says Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. Use facial scrubs no more than three times a week, and if dryness occurs, cut back even more.
Fruits and veggies aren’t just good for your health. All skin types can benefit from adding a cream or serum containing antioxidants (think: Vitamin C from citrus fruits) into their regimen.
Sun-seekers, who are prone to spots and discoloration, can benefit most from products containing lycopene to help brighten and even out complexion. Everyone else should look for products rich in natural antioxidants and lightening agents such as grape, papaya, rose extracts, licorice, and mushrooms.
Unless you're diligent, manual face washing -- with hands or a cloth -- can leave behind skin-dulling dirt and grime. Try using a facial cleansing brush, like the Clarisonic Mia 2 ($150), which mimics the clean you'd get from a spa esthetician at home. "Skin care brushes are generally foolproof," Frank says.
But there are a couple of secrets to getting the job done like a pro. For starters, skip the grainy exfoliating cleansers with these brushes -- it's not needed. Also, use the brush for more than one minute and less than two minutes. You want to get the most out of your clean, but you don't want to overdo it.