Life & Beauty Weekly: Hair & Beauty
By Holly Crawford for Life & Beauty Weekly
Remember that marvellously glowing skin we used to have as teenagers? Save for the occasional blemish, it all seemed pretty perfect.
But for adults, skin behaves differently. As a teen, the skin’s top layer of cells turns over every 28 days. That means the dull cells slough off, uncovering healthy, radiant cells underneath. Now that you’re a grown-up, this process lags, and the dull skin cells stick around longer.
The good news: you can reclaim your natural glow with these skin-saving dermatologist tricks. You’ll boost your skin’s brightness in a big way.
1. Make sunscreen a daily habit
“Wearing sunscreen is tip no. 1, 2 and 3,” says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a dermatologist in Boston. UV rays from the sun penetrate skin—even when it’s cloudy—causing damage that can lead to the disastrous D’s: dullness, discoloration and dryness, all of which rob you of a glow, not to mention lead to wrinkles.
“People think sunscreen is only for sunny days, but the sun’s UV rays can damage skin any time it’s light out, not only when the sun is shining,” explains Dr. Hirsch. What’s more, even in small doses—a trip to the store, walking your kids to school—sun exposure can add up to serious damage. So if your daily moisturizer doesn’t also contain an SPF of at least 15, hit the skin care aisle to stock up. For days when you’ll be outdoors, grab an even higher SPF (think 30 or 45).
2. Help your skin act younger
Just because skin isn’t shedding dull cells quickly on its own doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them. Check out these two reliable exfoliating ingredients that you can use regularly — one for sensitive skin and the other for normal skin.
- Glycolic acid If you have sensitive skin, look for glycolic acid in a cleansing gel or foam. Unlike grainy scrubs, which can irritate skin, glycolic acid gently loosens sebum, which acts like glue fusing dead cells together to your face. Once the sebum dissolves, the cells slough off. Spend at least a minute massaging it in, and then follow with a moisturizer.
- Retinoids If your skin can tolerate a stronger treatment, look for a night cream with retinol or ask your dermatologist about a prescription-strength cream such as Renova, which also trains skin to turn over faster. Apply only at night, since the ingredients can make skin sun-sensitive, says Dr. Hirsch.
3. Up your skin’s oxygen intake
“Oxygen brings nutrients to skin and increases blood flow,” says Dr. Hirsch. One of the easiest ways to do it: take a walk or go for a bike ride. Any physical activity gets the oxygen in your blood moving, which instantly delivers a rosy radiance and helps improve your complexion over time.
4. Try a gradual tanner
Tanning outdoors may seem like a quick way to get a glow, but you’re also setting yourself up for sun spots, wrinkles and skin diseases. Self-tanners, on the other hand, add sun-kissed radiance safely, says Dr. Hirsch. If you’re worried about looking streaky or orange, look for gradual self-tanning products, which contain just a small amount of the skin-tinting ingredient and are available for both face and body.
5. Live healthy
“If you are healthy, your skin will usually look healthy too,” says Dr. Hirsch. So take the advice you give your kids: eat your fruits and veggies, get enough sleep and drink enough water. Also cut back on sugar and saturated fats, and instead load up on anti-inflammatory omega fatty acids — healthy unsaturated fats found in salmon, avocados and almonds. Dr. Hirsch’s eating advice: “If it’s good for your heart, it’s likely good for your skin too.”
is a freelance writer and editor who has written for such publications as
Glamour, Elle, InStyle, ShopSmart, Allure, Shape and
Houston Modern Luxury. She was the beauty director at
First and on the editorial staff of
Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan and