A glowing complexion is on every woman's wish list and thanks to the latest high-tech products and treatments, bright skin is easier to achieve than ever.
By ANJANA GOSAI
As we get older, our skin loses the ability to shed dead cells, so they accumulate on our face, leading to a dull appearance. In addition during the winter, skin cell renewal slows down, again giving the complexion a rough and lifeless feel. Exfoliating twice a week is the best way to eliminate these dead cells and brighten the complexion. Look for products containing ingredients such as glycolic and salicylic acid, which work to dissolve dulling cells to help make way for fresher skin beneath. Invest in a cleanser such as Beauty Lab Glyco Wash (£25, beautylabshop.com), which contains exfoliating glycolic acid to gently clean and renew the skin. The new Bliss That’s Incredi-Peel Resurfacing Pads (£39, blissworld.co.uk) are made with an innovative technology that gradually release powerful levels of glycolic acid to help renew the skin. If you prefer scrubs, try the Terre d’Oc Indian Beauty Secrets Radiant Face Scrub (£22.95, terredoc.co.uk), which features antioxidant-rich pomegranate and chickpea powder to restore softness, suppleness and radiance.
APPLY IT RIGHT
The way in which you apply your make-up and the formulas you use can make a huge difference to the look of your skin.
Layering on heavy foundations day in day out can make the skin look aged. For a youthful glow, opt for a sheer, light-weight formula and apply it in a thin layer, using a brush or latex sponge. Be sure to blend and buff the skin beforehand, so the foundation blends well. Consider switching from powder to cream based blusher formulas, which are lighter and offer the skin a prettier flush of colour.
Blend Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for lips and cheeks (£18) on the apples of the cheeks for a soft, stained finish.
Dry skin sufferers should try the new Clarins Instant Light Blush (£19), which is enhanced with softening redcurrant and raspberry seed oil. If you do prefer powder blushers, use a big brush to apply them. These tend to pick up less colour and give the complexion a more natural appearance.
Clever highlighting can also be used to cheat a glowing complexion. When dabbed on above the cheekbones, cream based highlighters such as Benefit Watts Up (£24.50) can add a soft and luminous sheen to the skin.
Blotchy, discoloured skin doesn’t reflect light as well and gives the skin a dull and lacklustre appearance. The best way to avoid more pigmentation is to use a daily sunscreen. This will also prevent existing pigmentation from getting worse.
When it comes to tackling blotches, dermatologists suggest using products containing ingredients such as azelaic acid, niacinamide and arbutin, which can suppress the production of melanin - but allow at least 12 weeks to notice visible fading, so incorporate into your beauty regime as soon as possible. Good old vitamin C can help too. As well as brightening the skin, it inhibits the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that creates pigmentation. Used under moisturiser, the Glo Therapeutics 15% Vitamin C Serum (£61, 020 7491 0150) reveals a brighter more evenly toned complexion. Persistent pigmentation sufferers should see a dermatologist who may prescribe a stronger solution, such as hydroquinone – a bleaching agent that halts melanin production and is considered the gold standard product for tackling pigmentation.
For a speedy glow, facialists swear by massaging the face, which stimulates circulation and brings fresh oxygen to the skin cells. Massage your face once or twice a day using a face oil like The Body Shop Vitamin E Facial Oil (£10). Using the middle and index finger, start at the chin and work upwards using small circular movements.
If products are not delivering, book yourself in for a professional peel or high-tech facial. A series of mild peels, which use alpha or beta hydroxy acids - such as glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, can help fade blemishes and eliminate dullness.
If you have more prominent discoloration and roughness look into a medium depth peel, which employs a deep penetrating trichcloroacetic acid solution to strip away the damaged top layer of skin. By speeding up cell turnover, the complexion is left smoother and brighter, while lines, pigmentation and acne appear faded. Be warned – this treatment causes redness and flaking for a week, so book it several weeks before your wedding day, and be sure to have a consultation with an experienced dermatologist before going ahead. If you prefer something less invasive, with lasting results, try the Intraceuticals Oxygen Infusion Facial (from £150, intraceuticals.com). The glow-enhancing procedure uses a pen-like device to shoot out bursts of oxygen and hyaluronic acid over the face. As the serum penetrates, the skin is left feeling baby-plump and incredibly dewy. The iS Cinical Red Carpet Facial (£150, polisched.co.uk) is a favourite of Halle Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow. A mild peel, using glycolic acid and retinol helps reduce lines, unblocks pores and resurfaces the skin.
EAT AND DRINK WISELY
Don’t rely on products and treatments alone. Sip plenty of water throughout the day to keep it moisturised and stock up on foods high in omega 3 fatty acids to help keep the skin lubricated from within.