Brightening is the skincare buzzword on everyone’s lips, and on our very own checklist, but what does it specifically mean, and how can we achieve that bright and glowy complexion that every skincare addict is after? Brightening is not to be confused with lightening, but has more to do with improving the appearance of skin that is looking a little dull…
What is dull skin?
If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and felt your skin was missing its usual glow, a bit lacklustre, or even lacking its usual healthy colour, you were probably experiencing dullness. One of the more common causes is dehydration. You might assume that dehydrated skin is a concern primarily associated with dry skin types, but that is not the case! Anyone can experience dehydrated skin, because it occurs when your skin cells are lacking water. This can happen through evaporation in arid and chilly temperatures, and through Trans Epidermal Water Loss (or TEWL) as a result of a weakened skin barrier, even if your skin is oily. Dry skin, on the other hand, has more to do with your skin’s surface lipids (or oils).
Another cause that affects everyone, but more so people living in urbanised areas, is pollution. From your everyday pollutants like dirt and dust, to air pollution and even cigarette smoke, these particles can breakdown the collagen and elastin in your skin (leading to dehydration), irritate and weaken your natural skin barrier, and clog your pores leaving your skin looking and feeling lustreless. UV exposure is also working against you, which is why SPF is so important!
Another cause for sombre skin is stress and it’s important to recognise that your stress levels can truly affect your skin health.
Finally, if you’re not regularly exfoliating, you might have dead skin cells sticking around to smother the brighter, newer skin cells on your face and consequently minimising your glow!
What can I do to fix dull skin, and which brightening ingredients should I be looking for?
First of all, moisturise your skin regularly! This will have a twofold effect; providing hydration to your skin cells to help keep dehydration at bay, but also strengthen and nourish your skin barrier for better protection against pollution. Pick a moisturiser which suits your skin type, and don’t feel that you have to smother on a heavy cream every night if your skin needs something lighter. The best ingredient you can look for to deeply hydrate your skin is Hyaluronic Acid! It absorbs quickly and helps your skin cells not only function better, but ensures that your skin stays looking glowy for longer. If you have super oily or blemish prone skin and prefer something light, a Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum instead of a moisturiser is a great choice for dehydration. If not, a moisturiser that pairs Hyaluronic Acid with fatty acids like Shea Butter, work hard to lock in goodness and nourish the top layer of your skin as well. One such moisturiser, our Collagen Face Cream, is great for dry, stressed and sensitive skin types looking to tackle dehydration.
When it comes to pollution, one of the best things you can do for your skin is make sure you’re cleansing (or double cleansing) at the end of each day to thoroughly remove any remnants of the day before heading to bed and starting anew. During the day, antioxidants are your best friend! In particular, Vitamins C & E, Green Tea, and our new favourite Tasmanian Pepperberry, which help to protect against oxidative stress and the breaking down of skin cells. Starting your day with our new Green Tea Daily Toner sets you up with a good defence against irritants that would dull your complexion. In the evening, opt for Peptides which rebuild any lost collagen (and not to mention help smooth out some of those fine lines if you have them), our Peptide Facial Serum also has Hyaluronic Acid to kill two birds with one stone!
Make sure you have an exfoliator in your weekly routine – AHA’s are a Q+A essential for a bright and healthy complexion! We love the gentle chemical exfoliation our Apple AHA Exfoliating Gel provides, as you can use it up to every other day to help remove dead skin cells and smooth out uneven texture without causing irritation or much sensitivity. Glycolic Acid, which you can find in this gel, is admired as one of the great brightening ingredients, as it also helps to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, blemishes and fine lines for a clear complexion.
Let’s not forget about the eyes, either! If you’re concerned with dark circles and under eye dullness then brightening is equally as important, and those antioxidants are going to help revive that delicate under eye area. One such antioxidant is Caffeine, which makes our Caffeine Eye Serum perfect for those looking for less shadow.
To support these brightening ingredients is Niacinamide, Chamomile, and Liquorice. Both Niacinamide and Chamomile are anti-inflammatory, providing swift relief to stressed, red and swollen skin which needs some love. Use the Niacinamide Daily Toner and Chamomile Night Cream in the evenings to repair and soothe your skin for a brighter complexion the next morning. Liquorice helps with collagen building and skin repair, which makes it the perfect support for dull looking skin.
I hope now when you see ‘brightening’ on the side of a box or tube, you’ll know exactly if it’s the benefit you’re looking for!
Aspiring author, craft addict, and Q+A's eCommerce Coordinator