Thanks to our Founding Fathers, we live in a democracy that allows us to choose every aspect of our individual lifestyles—the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the entertainment we enjoy, etc. But not all of our choices are always the best for us. Too much fast food, too much reality TV and not enough sleep wreak havoc on our bodies, including our complexions. Undernourished and tired skin appears dull and ashen, but once you’ve had enough of looking at a worn out, older you, declare your independence from a dull complexion!
The uppermost layer of your skin, the status corneum, is actually a layer of dead cells that protects the vulnerable living cells below. When these dead cells build up, your healthy glow is buried under a dull complexion.
The reasons why you may have a buildup of dead skin cells vary. For many, a poor diet is the primary culprit. When the building blocks of new proteins, collagen and elastin, and other components of the intracellular matrix aren’t available in sufficient quantities, the skin is slow in renewing itself. Skin cell renewal is also slower when we don’t drink enough water to help flush out toxins from the cells or don’t get enough sleep to allow our bodies the time and energy to do its restorative work.
For others, environmental factors—increased sweat, makeup buildup, etc.—may cause dead skin cells that would otherwise be sloughed away to cling to hair follicles or clog pores. In addition to a dull complexion, these factors also increase the likelihood of an acne breakout.
Exfoliation of dead skin cells and generation of new ones is a natural process, but if our natural processes are sluggish and hiding our natural rosiness underneath a dull complexion, there are several things we can do to bring out our health glow sooner!
Obviously, to brighten up a dull complexion, we need to stop doing the things that brought it about in the first place and start practicing the healthy habits we know promote skin health:
But you don’t have to wait weeks until the benefits of your new lifestyle choices kick in to see a brighter complexion. You can see results sooner by:
Moisturizing. If your skin is tired and dehydrated, you can replenish natural moisture topically. For proper skin hydration, you need a lotion or cream appropriate for your skin type and a product that has low transepidermal water loss (TEWL) values.
Exfoliating. Perhaps the most effective way to bring forth your healthy glow is to promptly remove what’s dulling it—dead skin cells. Exfoliation can be done manually with mild abrasion or chemically with peels.
You do need to exfoliate with care—you are removing a layer of one of the most sensitive organs, after all. Facial scrubs should never contain fruit pits. Their uneven surfaces can cause small tears and irritation in your skin. Scrubbing action should be very gentle. You don’t have to rub hard to slough away the stratum corneum layer. Manual exfoliation should be done twice a week, less for very sensitive or aged skin.
If you choose to use chemical peels for exfoliation, test the product on a small patch of skin (not your face) to make sure that you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients. Follow directions carefully, and do not use chemical peels more than bi-weekly. After any exfoliation method, use a nourishing moisturizer to protect the newly exposed layer and deliver the stuff your skin needs for restoration and repair.
When declaring your independence, find an ally in the right skin care products for your skin type and skin care goals. Hale Cosmeceuticals has a full line of exfoliating peels, moisturizers and restorative formulas to help you restore your youthful complexion.