You know that sun damage and smoking are not good for your skin, right?  But, there are also other, more surprising things that turn ‘off’ your skin’s light switch, such as:

  1. THE THERMOSTAT. Heat and air-conditioning are two of the most common causes of dry, dull skin. A humidifier is a simple, effective solution.
  2. LACK OF SLEEP. Your skin can rebound from the occasional late night, but if you usually get less than six or seven hours, it’ll catch up with you.
  3. OVERCAFFEINATION. Caffeine is like kryptonite; it’s dehydrating.
  4. EATING LIKE A COLLEGE FRESHMAN. Sugary foods break down collagen and elastin in the skin, causing dullness and wrinkles over time, and alcohol is dehydrating and causes inflammation, which makes your skin red and dry.
  5. STRESS. When you’re stressed out, your cortisol levels go up, and high cortisol levels cause inflammation in the skin. Result: dullness!

Top Ingredients
These powerhouse radiant skin ingredients will add punch to your routine.

A serum or moisturizer with antioxidants brightens your skin in about a month

Ceramides reinforce your skin’s natural moisture barrier to keep it hydrated.

They smooth the surface of the skin, increase collagen production, and even out pigmentation to make skin reflect light better. Use a prescription or nonprescription formula nightly.

The Best Exfoliator for Your Skin
Exfoliating is the fastest route to radiant skin, revealing a more uniform surface that reflects light evenly.

A glycolic acid peel is one of the most effective exfoliators because it penetrates deeply; it can also be slightly irritating, so moisturize after to prevent inflammation.  Be sure to look for moisturizers for sensitive skin with ceramists or green tea.

A scrub with micro beads or sugar once a week and a salicylic acid-infused cleanser every day sounds like sloughing overload, but the scrub sweeps away dead cells so the salicylic acid can penetrate and clean clogged pores.

Try a lactic acid peel once a week. Lactic acid is a relatively large molecule that can’t penetrate the skin as deeply as the other alpha hydroxyl acids, which means it’s not as abrasive. Unfortunately, anything else may make your skin drier, redder, and more sensitive.

* Reprinted from Allure Magazine, November 2013, page 122.