Want healthy, radiant skin all-year-round? We find out what you need to do get skin that always glows.
Rewind a few years and anti-ageing moisturisers, lotions and potions seemed to be all the beauty world was talking about. And while the quest for eternal youth hasn’t dissipated entirely, the one-size-fits-all anti-wrinkle approach to beauty has well and truly been left behind. As more of us search for skincare solutions that cater to our own unique needs, anti-ageing has become somewhat of a banished term.
“The old-fashioned, negative concepts of ‘anti-ageing’ are thankfully phasing out of our everyday vernacular,” says Katy Bacon, education manager for Murad Australasia Pacific “Does this mean we are no longer concerned with ageing? Of course not! Men and Women are still searching for the answer, that holy-grail that will prevent the inevitable,” she adds. While Bacon says there’s been an unfortunate long-term perception that ageing is a dirty word, she believes that within the beauty world things are slowly but surely starting to change. “Until recently the merest sign of a wrinkle needed to be stamped out by the latest and greatest fad. It’s this negative perception that’s changing, and for the better!”
Tracy May-Harriott, global education director for Priori and Elizabeth Arden Professional, believes the changes we’re seeing globally towards a more inclusive society are having an impact on the beauty world. “There’s a conscious shift where all genders and ages are considered,” she says. “Ageing is not something we stop, so “anti” is no longer the description, but you can graceful be pro-age and speak of the positive skin changes and how well we can look healthy in our skin, whatever our age.”
For those still searching for the fountain of eternal youth, a magic serum or that rewinds time is yet to be invented, and Bacon says the truth of the matter is we are all ageing. “How well we age is the difference,” she says. “The shift toward positive ageing and the emphasis on restoring a ‘youthful glow’ or creating ‘skin radiance’ is the modern-day anti-ageing rhetoric.” So rather than focus on fighting the unstoppable ageing process Bacon says consumers are more focused on maintaining and restoring the radiant look of youth, which is a sign of health.
Cosmetic chemist and founder of Synergie Skin, Terri Vinson believes the shift in the way we perceive skin health has meant more of us are searching for products to enhance, brighten and create luminosity in the skin as opposed to simply winding back the clock. The good news is that skin can be healthy, resilient and radiant at any age. “I’m a true believer that radiance doesn’t have an expiry date,” Vinson says. “All you need is a great skincare regimen, a positive attitude and confidence in your own skin.”
Healthy Skin is Radiant Skin
Rather than skin that is completely free of fine lines and wrinkles, Linda Sharrem, national skincare trainer at Caci, says when we’re talking about radiant skin, what we’re really talking about is healthy skin. “Healthy skin has good cell turnover, is well hydrated, has a strong barrier, is luminous and glows,” she explains. “Having radiant skin means you can feel confident in your skin,” she adds. While it’s easy to turn to bronzers and highlighters to create the illusion of luminous skin, May-Harriott says true radiance comes from within. “Radiant skin will have light bouncing off it, illuminated and beaming, but generally a beautiful complexion radiating health,” she says. “Importantly, the skin will reflect this via its own health – not to be confused with cosmetics giving artificial ‘cosmetic’ radiance.”
Our skin’s radiance often comes down to our skin’s natural ageing process says Bacon. “When we are young, our skin cell turnover is roughly around 28 days, this is a process where old dead skin cells naturally shed and are replaced by new healthy and plump skin cells free of damage, giving the appearance of a healthy, youthfully glowing skin,” she explains.
As we age, however, the skin reproduces new cells at a much slower way. “It renews itself on average of every 35 to 55 days,” Bacon says. The result is skin that isn’t able to reflect light in the same way that it used to. Vinson says that as our skin texture becomes less even as we age – think dry patches, larger pores and fine lines – light reflects off the surface unevenly and scatters. “The skin appears less luminous. It’s like s like comparing the skin of a shiny apple to a dimply orange. It’s all about the way the light reflects off an object. If it’s smoother, the object or skin appears more luminous.”
Even though skin might naturally lose its radiance as we age, skin experts agree that there is a lot we can do to slow down the process and maintain radiant skin. “Maintaining radiance comes down a few key points; how efficient your cellular renewal cycle is (the natural shedding of dead skin cells), your skin’s circulation and blood flow, and whether you are getting enough restful sleep,” explains Bacon. “This process is a natural part of ageing, however thanks to skincare technologies and cosmetic advancements, there are many ways in which this process can be slowed down, and radiance restored,” says Bacon.
Most skin experts believe there are a handful of essential skincare products that are must-haves in the fight against lacklustre skin and the first step is something we should all be applying on a daily basis already. “The best insurance against loss of luminosity is sun protection, preferable, mineral zinc oxide sunscreen, to prevent fine lines and uneven skin texture developing in the first place,” says Vinson.
And just because our skin cells stop renewing themselves quite so quickly as we get older, that doesn’t mean we can’t give them a little hurry up. Both May-Harriott and Bacon say that incorporating alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) into your skincare routine is one of the best ways to help speed up the process. “One of the fastest ways to restore luminosity is to remove the dead skin buildup which is absorbing light and making skin appear dull,” explains Bacon. “The best way to do this is with gentle exfoliation such as AHAs, which exfoliate the dead skin cells and work to plump and hydrate skin.”
These days AHAs can be found in everything from treatments masks to exfoliators and serums, but May-Harriott says one of her favourite ways to start the day is by using a non-soap based nourishing cleanser that has been formulated with AHA. “Preferably lactic acid as lactic acid improves our own skin water molecule, hyaluronic acid,” she explains. As well as adding AHAs into your skincare regimen, both Vinson and Bacon recommend the three vitamins that are essential for healthy skin: niacinamide (vitamin B); retinol (vitamin A) and vitamin C. All three help to plump, brighten, improve tone and texture, therefore helping to improve skin’s natural glow. Skin with great blood circulation will always appear more radiant, therefore Bacon suggests investing in a quartz roller, stat. “It’s a must-have tool to increase blood circulation and encourage oxygenation which gives your complexion a luminous glow.”
Professional skin treatments are also crucial when it comes to radiant skin. And while at-home peel systems and AHA-based exfoliators and serums can help boost skin cell turnover, professional-grade treatments deliver results that are unable to be achieved at home. “Caci treatments like microdermabrasions and peels work to repair damaged and dark skin cells and increase circulation bringing blood to the surface of the skin leading to a more even skin tone which will give you radiant skin,” says Sharrem.
She also recommends Caci’s most popular skin treatment – Skincare Infusion which uses Sonophoresis sound wave technology to infuse antioxidants such as Vitamin C. “Vitamin C is a powerhouse and an all-rounder when it comes to skincare ingredients that work to restore lacklustre skin for a more radiant glow.” May-Harriott says her go-to in-salon treatment for enhancing glow is a rejuvenation peel followed by a water-based, intensely hydrating mask.
“Additionally, when a quick instant radiant look is required, enzymes also give a beautiful finish on the skin; dissolving the dead skin cells and enzyme masks and peels are fabulous when you need a ‘red-carpet’ look in a heartbeat!”
Radiant Skin From Within
Of course, beautiful, healthy and radiant skin starts on the inside, and no amount of game-changing skincare products can overcome poor lifestyle choices. Bacon says we are what we eat and it’s important to remember we have 19 million skin cells on every square inch of our body. “Are you feeding them right to look your best,” she asks. “If you are eating a diet that is less than desirable, have poor sleeping habits or lifestyle choices then you are going to notice it on your skin.” Vinson agrees that diet plays a huge role in our skin’s health and appearance. “Sugar, saturated fats, alcohol and refined carbs are all inflammatory and contribute to poor skin health and ageing,” she explains.
But Bacon says while diet is incredibly important it’s not the only factor impacting skin health and radiance. “No time for exercise, increased stress levels, even where you live can negatively impact the look and health of your skin (think skin that looks, feels and acts dull, discoloured, aged, and damaged).” Getting a good night’s shuteye is crucial too she explains. “Sleep aids in repair and collagen production which gives skin its suppleness.” At the end of the day, it’s never too late to overhaul your beauty regimen and your lifestyle to improve skin health and radiance.