1. You’re Dehydrated
This should go without saying, but if you’re lacking H20, then it’s going to show through your skin. You should aim to drink at least two litres of water daily for optimal hydration – if your skin feels itchy, tight, sensitive, flaky or you’re experiencing breakouts as well as dryness, consider upping your water intake.
Also focus on products aimed at restoring moisture – avoid soap-based cleansers, for example, which can strip the skin, and consider incorporating a hyaluronic acid serum into your repertoire, which will help to plump skin from the inside out. It could also be worth taking a collagen supplement – at the age of 28, your collagen, elastin and hyaluronic production all decline, so boosting your reserves could help to plump-up fine lines and boost radiance.
2. You’re Tired
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason… Sleep deprivation lowers circulation, which is why you look pale and washed out when you’re lacking in sleep. Your skin also rejuvenates itself while you snooze, so aim for at least seven hours a night on a consistent basis – a lack of sleep can increase inflammation and cortisone levels (the stress hormone) in the body, triggering acne breakouts, increasing skin sensitivity and worsening conditions like dermatitis and eczema.
If you have trouble nodding off, stock up on REN’s & Now To Sleep Pillow Mist, which is chock-full of frankincense and lavender oils to reduce anxiety and promote a restful sleep.
3. You Live In A City
Did you know urban living is wreaking havoc with your glow? Polluted air contains a host of tiny particles, including the likes of dirt and sulphur dioxide, which create free radicals on your skin – it’s these free radicals that can damage collagen (cue premature wrinkles) and stimulate pigment production over time. When your skin’s tone and texture are uneven, it diffuses light and looks dull.
To counteract environmental damage, try incorporating a specific anti-pollution product into your skincare regime (we love Dr Barbara Sturm’s genius Anti-Pollution Drops, which help combat signs of digital ageing caused by computers and mobile phones) as well as a vitamin C-based cleanser, which will help to remove any nasties at the end of the day as well as tackle free radicals to prevent further damage.
4. Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance
When hormone levels fluctuate due to puberty, menopause or contraception, they often affect the appearance of the skin. Take, for example, what happens when oestrogen levels drop, leaving a higher proportion of testosterone: skin can get oilier, accentuating pores and leaving the skin with less glow. Meanwhile, melasma, a hormonal form of hyperpigmentation, can leave you with dark patches that do nothing to promote a glow.
If you’re at all concerned with fluctuating hormones, pop to your GP, while a dermatologist can help with stubborn melasma.
5. You’re Not Exfoliating
Whether you prefer an acid-based or granular exfoliator, regular exfoliation is crucial if it’s a bright, lit-from-within complexion you’re after. Both methods are ideal for boosting cell turnover and sloughing away the dead skin cells sitting on the skin’s uppermost layer. Skin expert Dr Sarah Shah recommends exfoliating two or three times a week – just remember to follow with a good moisturiser and avoid over-exfoliating, which can lead to chronic skin irritation and inflammation.
If you’re a fan of a more traditional, grainy scrub, Pai’s Brightening Exfoliator comes highly recommended while those with sensitive skin should try Trish McEvoy’s Beta Hydroxy Pads – they’re SL’s Beauty Editor’s best-kept secret.
6. You’re Stressed
Whatever form stress takes, the result is the same – cortisol levels go up, your fight-or-flight response kicks in, and blood flow goes to vital organs, not your face, leaving the skin looking sallow and lifeless. Remember stress isn’t just an internal battle – it can make its way to your skin if left unchecked.
Our top tip? Get to grips with facial massage, which is a great and simple way to stimulate blood flow, adding radiance to the skin. Whether you take the time to work your cleanser into your skin using your fingers or prefer a jade roller, it’s easier than you think to boost blood circulation and restore your skin’s bounce and luminosity.