A major sign of healthy, happy skin is skin radiance—when the skin has that healthy glow.
That’s hard to get in the winter months, though. Cold, dry air tends to make skin look dry, dull, and flaky.
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your goal or enjoying beautiful skin. Instead, try our tips for maintaining skin radiance no matter what the season.
(Note: Start with our Calming Moisture, an antioxidant-rich moisturizer that calms redness and deeply hydrates to boost radiance and create a healthy glow.)
What Is Skin Radiance?
Skin radiance is that healthy, vibrant look we associate with youthful skin. You know it when you see it. Think of a child’s skin and you’ll have the right image. Radiance is that warm glow that healthy skin exudes, with a little of that dewy, moist look that catches the light.
Scientists have even qualified radiant skin. In a 2017 study, researchers noted that skin radiance “is a complex parameter that involves the quantity of light reflected from the skin….”
When considering how to measure radiance, scientists in another study used a special optic device made for measuring the quantity of light reflected on the skin. They measured radiance on two women’s faces on the forehead and cheekbone. One of the women had a glowing complexion and the other had dull skin. They found that the device worked well in measuring radiance and accurately differentiated between the radiant and dull skin.
So we can see that “radiance” isn’t just a term bantered about by beauty experts, but a real characteristic of skin that we can measure.
What Causes Us to Lose Skin Radiance?
Young skin manages to look radiant most of the time without a lot of effort, but as we age, that youthful glow tends to fade.
There are several reasons this happens. Let’s look at each one.
1. Age Depletes Skin Radiance
The primary reason our skin begins to look dull is age. When we’re young, the process of skin renewal occurs quickly. Skin cells rise to the surface and are sloughed off, to be quickly replaced by younger, more radiant skin cells.
As we get older, this process slows down. This causes the dead skin cells on the surface to buildup or collect, and they cover up the younger cells underneath. These dead skin cells don’t reflect light the same way youthful skin would, so skin looks dull.
2. Dry Skin is Dull Skin
The other leading cause of dull, non-radiant skin is dryness. When skin lacks the moisture it needs, it also loses its natural luminosity. Skin looks dry and dull, with a texture that appears rough and uneven. Fine lines and wrinkles appear more noticeable too.
Unfortunately, aging skin is often dryer than it was in its youth, adding a double whammy to the dull appearance. Cold, winter weather robs the skin of its moisture, as does indoor heat. Indeed, in the winter, we face many obstacles to radiant skin!
(Try our Calming Moisture—designed for all skin types, it penetrates the skin to restore hydration and reverse dryness and dullness.)
3. An Unhealthy Diet Reduces Skin Radiance
Your skin is the largest organ your body has and is fed and nourished by the nutrients you eat. That means if you’re eating a lot of sugar, junk food, and processed food, your skin isn’t going to get the nutrients it needs to be healthy and is likely to appear dull.
The more heavily processed foods you eat, the fewer healthy ingredients are available to nourish the skin. You can only consume so many calories per day. If you’re choosing to eat potato chips and soda and microwaveable dinners, you’re missing out on the real nutrients you could be getting from fresh fruits, veggies, and leafy greens.
These are the foods that feed skin the vitamins, minerals, and important phytochemicals it needs to fight the effects of aging. Without these nutrients, the skin tends to become dull and lackluster.
4. Dehydration Leaves Skin Parched
It may seem simplistic, but if you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, your skin is probably going to look dull. The body shuttles any water it has to the primary organs first, simply because that’s the best option when it comes to your overall survival.
That means your heart, lungs, liver, and stomach will get the water first. If you aren’t drinking enough, your skin will be thirsty as it’s further down the totem pole when it comes to water delivery.
5. Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits Can Cause Dull Skin
All of your daily activities can affect your skin. If you smoke or fail to get enough sleep, your skin is likely to look dull. Fail to get enough exercise and the same thing can happen. A long period of chronic stress, too, can cause the body will release hormones that damage the skin—again, leaving it dull and lackluster.
How Can I Naturally Get More Skin Radiance?
To get radiant skin once again, you must counteract all the things we mentioned above and encourage the skin to once again act more youthfully.
1. Exfoliate skin to reveal skin radiance.
The first step in any glowing skincare routine is to step up your exfoliation. When you exfoliate your skin, you get rid of those old dead skin cells and reveal newer, brighter-looking skin underneath.
It’s important, however, to use a gentle form of exfoliation, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Try gentle fruit acids like salicylic, malic, and glycolic to peel away the dull skin. It’s best to avoid scrubs as they can create microscopic tears in the skin that then become vulnerable to inflammation and acne.
Moisture is always important for the health of the skin, as it keeps the outer barrier strong and better able to resist outside assaults. But if your skin is looking dull, it’s screaming for moisture. Start by exfoliating, because as long as you have a layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, your moisturizer won’t be able to get through and thus, won’t do you much good.
Then get in the habit of applying a quality moisturizer at least twice a day. Choose a moisturizer that contains deeply moisturizing ingredients like natural oils, butters, and hyaluronic acid.
We recommend our Calming Moisture and Body Repair Lotions as they both contain natural moisturizing ingredients that will penetrate the outer layer of skin and help build radiance from within. Here are some that boost radiance and glow:
- Antioxidants: Both moisturizers are rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, turmeric, and other plant antioxidants that protect the skin from damaging assaults that make it dull.
- Lipids: These healthy fats help keep the skin barrier intact, protecting skin from damage and the loss of water, plumping it up and making it appear softer and smoother.
- Beta glucan: This ingredient was actually found in one study to be 20 percent more hydrating than hyaluronic acid, promoting moisture retention and that dewy, healthy glow.
- Tri-Rescue Complex: This unique combination of turmeric, Reishi mushroom, and alpha-bisabolol encourage skin repair and healing of damaged areas, allowing the skin’s natural radiance to shine through.
3. Eat for a radiant glow.
Fruits and vegetables are the richest sources of antioxidants, live enzymes, fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals. All of these work together to create beautiful, glowing skin for the inside out. The high fiber and water content of plant foods are also beneficial for proper digestion, which encourages clear, hydrated skin.
Try to make sure you’re getting wholesome, nutritious foods at most of your meals and your skin will look a lot better.
4. Drink water throughout the day to maintain skin radiance.
It’s common not to get enough water during the day, particularly during the winter months when thirst is a less reliable cue. Get used to taking a bottle of water with you everywhere you go and sip constantly. That way your skin will get the hydration it needs from the inside.
5. Practice healthy habits for radiant skin.
All of these healthy habits will benefit the health of your skin, helping it to look more naturally radiant.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes most every day.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Practice a daily stress-relieving activity.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet.
6. Cleanse your skin every day.
By the end of the day, your skin is tired and dirty. All day long it has been exposed to UV rays, pollution, dirt and grime, makeup, and more. If you don’t get all those things off of the skin before you go to bed, they will sit there all night long wreaking damage on the cells, so that you wake up with dull, dry, and irritated skin.
Prevent this from happening by making sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin every night. Use a gentle cleanser and a skin brush to be sure you get into all the nooks and crannies and rid your skin of those damaging micro-particles that can linger and disrupt the skin’s DNA.
7. Use a vitamin C serum to boost skin radiance.
When it comes to radiant skin, there are few ingredients as helpful as vitamin C. It helps restore radiance and improve skin’s overall appearance, while also stimulating collagen production to help delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin texture.
Invest in a quality vitamin C serum with at least 10 percent vitamin C. Apply to cleansed skin twice daily.
How do you improve skin radiance?
Jeudy, A., Ecarnot, V., & Humbert, P. (2017). Measurement of skin radiance. Agache’s Measuring the Skin, 161-176. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32383-1_17
Petitjean, A., Sainthillier, J., Mac-Mary, S., Muret, P., Closs, B., Gharbi, T., & Humbert, P. (2007). Skin radiance: How to quantify? Validation of an optical method. Skin Research and Technology, 13(1), 2-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0846.2006.00174.x