It happens to all of us: At some point -- usually in your 30s -- you start to notice that your skin isn't quite as radiant as it was in your younger years. "Skin loses its natural hydration in its outer layer, resulting in a buildup of dead skin cells," says Jeanette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist in Great Neck, NY. "Natural enzymes require hydration to release the dead skin," she explains. "When these enzymes can't work, the buildup occurs." So what can you do about it? Click through for simple ways to get rid of the buildup and other tricks to boost your glow instantly.
A facial scrub has a gritty consistency that buffs away dead skin cells. “The key is to go gently since mechanical scrubs, when used with too much pressure, can cause irritation,” Graf says. She suggests a formula that contains smooth beads -- not fruit pits, which can be too rough for facial skin. Try Garnier Invigorating Daily Scrub ($8; ulta.com) with jojoba beads.
Glycolic acid, a chemical exfoliant, works by dissolving the gluelike bonds that keep dead cells stuck on skin's surface. Graf suggests using a daily cleanser that contains the acid or a twice-weekly, at-home peel. Try Bliss That's Incredi-Peel ($49; ulta.com).
Battery-operated cleansing brushes don't just give skin a deep clean, they also aid in skin sloughing. The oscillating bristles gently loosen up dead skin cells, Graf says. Try Olay Professional Pro X Advanced Cleansing System ($25.49; ulta.com).
A spa facial is a surefire way to boost skin's brilliance. Can't get there? Make an at-home mask from ingredients found in your kitchen like this one from celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas.
6 teaspoons grape-seed oil
2 drops rose oil
1 teaspoon warmed honey
5 teaspoons ground almonds to form a paste
Apply to skin and rinse after 20 minutes.
Why it works: "The grape-seed oil is an awesome antioxidant, while the rose oil will restore that amazing glow we're all looking for," Vargas says. "The honey will hydrate skin and erase fine lines, and the ground almonds will gently exfoliate," she adds.
While you're in the kitchen, fix yourself a glow-enhancing snack. "Dietary imbalances can have a direct effect on our skin health," says celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson. One of the most common: a lack of essential fatty acids, which help skin retain its moisture so it doesn't get that dull, dehydrated look, she says. Get one serving a day of omega-3 fatty acids from a handful of walnuts, flax, or chia seeds, suggests Simpson.
Products infused with sea algae can rev up your radiance, Graf says. The marine extract stimulates skin's microcirculation, giving you a healthy flush, she explains. To make it even more effective, smooth on an algae-containing cream after exfoliating so it penetrates better, Graf says. Find it in Philosophy Miracle Worker Overnight ($68; sephora.com).
Get instant luminosity from liquid highlighter. Stila celebrity makeup artist Sarah Lucero suggests mixing a champagne shade into your foundation or moisturizer (blend in the palm of your hand) for an all-over glow. "It looks like you're walking around in the perfect lighting," Lucero says. Try Stila One Step Illuminate ($36; sephora.com).
A slight tweak to your hair color can take skin from blah to beaming. "Have your colorist add a few brighter ribbons of color around your face," says Laurie Daniel, a colorist at Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City. Go one to two shades lighter than your natural color, she suggests.
If splotches and spots are standing in the way of your glowing skin, consider a topical skin brightener, which delivers more even skin over time. Try Aveeno Positively Radiant Targeted Tone Corrector ($15; target.com), which contains soy and vitamin A to fade dark areas.