Nix dull, lifeless skin and get a healthy, gorgeous glow. We’ve got seven simple expert tips to show you how.
We all long for it—healthy, glowing skin. The good news is there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t have it. If your skin is lacking luster, pumping up its radiance doesn’t have to be complicated or take long. You can get a healthy glow on within weeks, according to Jennifer O’Brien, an esthetician that has beautified complexions at some of Ontario, Canada’s leading luxury spa destinations, and has over 14 years of face time under her belt. Here, she shares seven simple tips to help you banish dull skin and put your best face forward—stat!
Start on the inside
There are many good reasons to drink water: it supports your immune system, helps your brain, muscle, and kidneys function properly, as well as aids in digestion, circulation, absorption, and even excretion. It’s also one of the best ways to slow the appearance of aging and keep your skin looking healthy, O’Brien says. Water is one of the most important nutrients we consume; our bodies are made up of about 60 percent water. Without water, your organs—including skin, which is the largest organ in the body—cannot function at their best. “If your skin isn’t getting a sufficient amount of water, the lack of hydration will show by turning your skin dry, tight and flaky,” O’Brien explains. “Dry skin not only looks dull and lifeless, it also has less resilience and is more prone to wrinkling.” Although every body is different, and some require more water intake than others, O’Brien recommends getting in around eight glasses of water per day.
“Antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, broccoli, spinach, garlic, and tomatoes, can also have a big impact on how your skin looks and feels,” O’Brien says. “They help protect the skin from the damaging free radicals that ‘steal’ vital components from skin cells and contribute to the visible—and the hidden—signs of aging.” Antioxidants also enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens, helping to further protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. An easy way to incorporate these radical-fighting foods into your diet is to toss them into your morning smoothie.
If skin cancer isn’t a scary enough reason to start slathering on sunscreen, then what about the sun’s UV rays and their harmful effects on your pretty face. From discoloration and brown spots, to red facial veins and blotchiness, leaving your skin unprotected is a surefire way to annihilate your complexion. Sunscreen also slows down premature aging of skin, giving you a more youthful, softer complexion, longer. “UV rays break down collagen and elastin,” O’Brien explains. “They suck the youthfulness out of your skin, speeding up the aging process.” While new research shows that sunscreen alone won’t completely ward off sun damage (UVA and UVB rays only account for about seven percent of solar energy), it’s one weapon you should keep in your skin-protecting arsenal.
Supplement with healthy fats
Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids not only help protect against skin cancer, arthritis, and disease, and enhance muscle gain and weight loss, they also boast some pretty powerful beauty benefits. These fatty acids help maintain cell membranes, acting as protective barriers that let the good stuff in (like water and nutrients) but keep nasty toxins out. According to O’Brien however, these powerful fats go beyond just guarding your cells. “Healthy fats help your body fight inflammation,” says O’Brien. “And that means inflammatory conditions that effect your skin, too.” In fact, by reducing skin inflammation, fatty acids can thwart everything from dry, flaky skin and wrinkles to acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, and even sunburns.
Wash your face before bed
Washing your face every night before bed can dramatically improve the look of your skin. “It’s something that’s common knowledge as well as common sense, but it bears repeating,” O’Brien says. “So many of my clients skip this pre-bedtime ritual, either because they are too tired, too busy, or simply too lazy.” But wearing makeup to bed can be detrimental to your skin in the long run. A face full of makeup, along with the day’s worth of dirt and debris its picked up, is suffocating your pores, so your skin is unable to breathe. O’Brien recommends using a good cleanser and toner before bed to remove the old makeup, and all grease and grime accumulated throughout the day. One great all-natural choice for a toner is witch hazel.
Get a facial once a month
If you want to take good care of your skin, and maintain an all-over lovely radiance, get a professional facial once a month. “Facials help remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, to allow skin to breath and better absorb moisturizer,” O’Brien explains. The right facial for your skin type can leave you with smoother and brighter skin, and reduce the look of fine lines. “Just be careful when it comes to extractions during facials,” she warns. “Not all estheticians are thoroughly trained in proper extraction techniques, and you can end up walking away with more than just irritated skin.”
Go easy on the moisturizer
One of the worst skincare mistakes O’Brien sees people make is over moisturizing, especially at night. “Most people think that as we age, going to bed with a face covered in night cream helps keep their skin supple and prevents aging,” O’Brien says. “But I believe quite the opposite; our faces need to breathe as we sleep—they need a complete break from any product at all. ” Too much moisturizer, whether applied at night or any other time of day, can actually make your skin look worse. The excess moisturizer won’t absorb, leaving your pores clogged and your skin unable to breathe properly.
Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back might be difficult if you’re prone to snoozing on your belly or side, but your face will thank you for the switch. “Sleeping with your face scrunched into the pillow will leave lines,” says O’Brien. “Those ‘wrinkles’ you wake up with in the morning will get deeper and more obvious over time, eventually becoming permanent.” To help you get into back-slumber mode, try propping pillows under either sides of your arms, and position another under your knees.