Or rather, read, digest and possibly nip to the shops. You won’t be the only one cruising the aisles for luminosity boosters, as according to the NPD Group the prestige brightening product sector experienced double digit growth between 2013-2014, having been valued at £25.5 million last year. Radiance is clearly on our radar, and no matter what our skin tone, we want to sidestep dullness, pigmentation, scars and blotchiness. It’s a big ask, but there are a number of ways to achieve ‘lit from within skin’, the main mantra being ‘give it time’.
Cigarettes are the saboteurs of sparkling skin. If you’re a smoker, try to quit if you can . Your skin can recover and perhaps even spring back to its former glory, as ELEMIS co-founder and director of product development Noella Gabriel emphasises:
“Bringing nicotine in with the inhale breath, which is our cleansing breath and only way of transporting oxygen into the body, we have interchanges of oxygen and toxins which takes place with every exhale breath we have. If we do this with nicotine, the skin cells reduce in shape and size so ageing speeds up and the skin becomes depleted and looks tired and dull. With sun and alcohol this is one of the three deadly sins.”
“As we inhale nicotine it is then distributed directly to the skin cells which in turn, lose their shape and plumpness, and the result is more like a shrivelled dried up raisin – dramatic you may say but having analysed smokers’ skins for many, many years the result is always the same. The ‘good news’ however is that the skin responds very quickly to any changes made to your lifestyle. Once you make the decision to give up smoking the skin will begin to restore and repair at a very rapid pace; it should be visibly noticeable within 21 days.”
Luminosity and healthier lungs? It’s worth a shot…
Assess your city life
Pollution, the daily grind and a desk bound lifestyle can all eclipse your skin’s light, without you even realising it, as Noella highlights:
“Our skin can change dramatically once we start living in the city. Statistics show that we run on a much higher stress level as a side effect of city life. As a result the skin gets very depleted – tired, dull and lifeless. This increased level of stress can also dictate how we eat and what we eat, for example lunch on the run, breakfast in a bag at your desk and a greater absence of fresh food. Thirdly, the water that comes through the tap today is not as pure as it once was (we just look inside our kettles for proof– higher levels of limescale). City related changes in the skin can include more incidences of acne for mature women and higher levels of dehydration for girls in early 20s.”
Conquer the dermatological detractors of city life by keeping an eye on your lifestyle and escaping to a green space whenever you can. From meditation to running to simply reading a book under a tree, do what you need to offset stress. From a nutrition aspect set aside a little time at the weekend to plan a week’s worth of healthy lunches , or if that’s impossible seek out a fresh food vendor near you, and preferably somewhere calm and non-corporate to eat said food. Buying a water filter won’t go amiss either. Bright skin will likely be a pleasant side effect of all of the above, as feeling at the top of your game in the urban jungle will be the main draw.
Blast build up
Exfoliation phobe? According to Noella that’s likely where you’re going wrong…
“All skin types need to exfoliate to reduce the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface. This will aid a glowing radiant complexion, also allowing it to function better. Another key benefit of exfoliation is that the products that we use afterwards will absorb more easily into the skin. As we age, the rate at which we produce new skin cells slows down and this can lead to a dull, tired looking complexion. Regular exfoliation will help reduce this lifeless appearance. Look for ingredients that will give a gentle polish and have a nourishing effect on the skin, avoid harsh ingredients that will drag, scratch or irritate the skin.”
On that subject, choose your method wisely…
Be picky when polishing
Skincare is rarely ever ‘one size fits all’, but this is especially true when it comes to exfoliation. Choose a formula that makes you radiant, not red in the face, with a little help from Noella:
“The amount of times you exfoliate per week is dictated by skin type and the type of exfoliation used, for instance granular, cream or enzyme. For sensitive skin I’d recommend gently exfoliating once a week, for oily and combination skins try 2-3 times a week with an enzyme or granular exfoliator.”
“There are many different exfoliating ingredients that can be used, however it is always important to use ingredients that will not have a harsh effect on the skin. When selecting a granular exfoliator, ingredients that are spherical are best as they can roll over the skin, picking up the dirt and grime as they move and gently polishing the skin ridding it of dead skin cells.”
“Jojoba beads work fantastically for the more fragile, sensitive and mature skins as they have a gentle exfoliating effect yet also leave a layer of jojoba oil on the skin. For an even more brightening effect use fruit enzymes an alternative to the more traditional exfoliators.”
I can vouch for the sheer brilliance of the humble fruit enzyme- a couple of sessions of ELEMIS Papaya Enzyme Peel , £32, on very ‘blah’, jetlagged skin before a foreign wedding last year sorted me out good and proper. It feels comforting and moisturising on application, which is especially important when you’re feeling tired and delicate, and it leaves skin fresh and smooth with pretty much zero effort on your part, with no weird peeling or inflammation. If on the other hand you want to get physical and get those jojoba beads rolling, go for Gentle Rose Exfoliator , £30.