Glowing and youthful skin is often the holy grail of beauty for many of my patients. Indeed, a complexion that glows will also exude confidence and glamor. Thankfully, a renewed and glowing skin tone is easy to achieve at home with a personalized skin care routine.
What Causes Rough Skin?
Dull skin doesn’t reflect the light, so to renew the skin and achieve a healthy glow it is essential to first address the build up of older, dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. Every 30-45 days or so, the skin naturally sheds its outermost layer to allow new, fresh skin cells to emerge below.
However, these rough, dull skin cells don’t always come away of their own accord and cling onto the skin’s surface. This makes the skin’s surface uneven, appear dull and sallow, and does not reflect light.
For glowing skin, smooth skin that reflects light is essential. You can renew skin by using retinoids, growth factors and hydroxy acids to turn on the skin’s stem cells and remove the dead, older skin cells from the surface.
By turning on the skin’s stem cells, stimulating them to divide faster, they will create new cells faster and rise to the surface of the skin for a youthful glow. Furthermore, the surface cells are more tightly packed together, which better reflects the light.
It’s important to note that using stem cells on the skin does not renew skin, but using ingredients to activate stem cells in the skin does.
For my top tips on the best skin care products to renew skin and achieve a youthful glow, read on. These product recommendations are best used as part of a personalized skin care routine suitable for your skin type - take the Skin Type Quiz to discover yours.
The Best Cleanser to Renew Skin
To renew skin and leave a healthy glow, it is essential to start your skin care routine with a renew cleanser or scrub. Exfoliating face scrubs, whether mechanical with exfoliating beads or chemical containing hydroxy acids, gently exfoliate away the dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of the skin.
By doing so, the skin’s surface is smoothed and is better able to reflect the light, leaving a radiant and glowing appearance.
Hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, not only exfoliate the skin, but are also known to brighten skin, stimulate collagen production (which keeps skin smooth), target an uneven skin tone, and have anti-aging benefits. They also allow products used in the next step of your skin care routine to better penetrate the skin and therefore work better.
Essopi Glycolic 10% Cleanser contains glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. In fact, it is even gentler than the best scrubs and is one of the best renew cleansers for dry skin. This renew cleanser is formulated with antioxidants vitamins A, C and E, green tea extract and coenzyme-Q10. Combined with glycolic acid, this low pH cleanser will leave the skin feeling smooth and radiant.
Alternatively, if you have dry skin that is prone to acne, our favorite cleanser is SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, a non-comedogenic cleanser that combines salicylic acid with glycolic acid and glycerin.
Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that clears the pores and perfectly complements the exfoliating prowess of glycolic acid. Glycerin, a natural moisturizing ingredient, keeps the skin hydrated and smooth for a radiant finish.
For more sensitive skin types, which can experience irritation when using hydroxy acid cleansers, we love PCA Skin Facial Wash, which is the most gentle cleanser containing hydroxy acids. This renew cleanser contains lactic acid, which is a gentle cousin to glycolic acid that has additional moisturizing benefits for the skin. In addition, aloe vera softens and soothes the skin.
For combination skin, I recommend SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, though this resurfacing cleanser should only be used under the care of a Skin Type Solutions trained medical provider. The combination of lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, giving dull skin an instant glow.
We advise using SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser with caution if you also use retinoid products in your skin care routine. Speak to one of our experts for more information.
The Best Serum To Renew Skin
Once your skin has been suitably cleansed, we recommend following with a renew serum to achieve youthful, glowing skin.
The best renew serum is Defenage 8 in 1 BioSerum. While this renew serum is on the expensive side, it is well worth the price tag as it is the only skin care product that contains defensins.
Defensins are a form of peptide that help to stimulate the generation of new skin cells, creating a youthful glow that is more even and hydrated. One research study even found that defensin peptides resulted in a thicker epidermis with no signs of inflammation, compared with a placebo-controlled group of patients.
In addition to defensins, Defenage 8 in 1 BioSerum also contains niacinamide to brighten the skin, hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated, and a blend of skin calming and soothing antioxidants for a radiant appearance.
Antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, protect the skin from further damage while improving overall skin radiance; and alpha-arbutin fades pigmentation and brightens the skin.
The Best Moisturizing Cream to Renew Skin
The best moisturizing creams to renew skin will contain either hydroxy acids or retinol (vitamin A). These ingredients are popular among dermatologists and patients alike as they pack down the cells in the stratum corneum (the outer layer of the skin), making the surface flatter and better able to reflect the light. In addition, hydroxy acids and retinol speed up the cell life cycle to encourage younger cells to the surface of the skin for a youthful glow.
When using hydroxy acids as retinol as part of a personalized skin care routine, it is essential to always wear a daily broad-spectrum SPF of at least factor 30.
The Best Retinol Moisturizers to Renew Skin
When starting out with a retinol cream, we recommend starting on the lowest possible strength of formulation - diving straight in with a high-strength product can cause irritation to the skin, so it’s best to build up your skin’s tolerance gradually.
One of our favorite retinol moisturizers for those just starting out on a vitamin A treatment regimen is Essopi Retinol Treatment Serum 2X. This renew serum is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants to smooth the surface of the skin and leave a radiant appearance.
Start by using this renew serum just once or twice per week, then gradually build to every other night, then every night to build skin tolerance. Once your skin is accustomed to this retinol after a few months, you can consider moving to the next strength of retinol product. However, we recommend using any of the retinol products in this article only as part of a dermatologist-prescribed personalized skin care routine.
The next strength in the Essopi range of retinol renew serums is Essopi Retinol Treatment Serum 5X - the best mid-strength retinol to renew skin, smooth the skin, and treat fine lines and wrinkles.
The next step up is Essopi Retinol Treatment Serum 10X, which is particularly effective for acne-prone skin. However, you must build up to using this renew serum, and only under the guidance of a dermatologist, who will be able to guide you on the best way to use a high-strength retinol without irritation.
Alternative mid-strength and high-strength retinol moisturizers are Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 and Skinceuticals Retinol 1.0, which work well in a personalized skin care routine to renew skin, and which are particularly effective to renew the skin on the arms or legs. However, it is essential to combine SkinMedica Retinol Complex with an effective cleanser to renew the skin without irritation.
Jan Marini Marini Luminate Face Lotion is another excellent renew lotion for the face that contains a low-strength formulation of retinol combined with alpha-arbutin to tackle discoloration and sun spots. Again, this moisturizer is best used as part of a personalized skin care routine.
The Best Hydroxy Acid Moisturizers to Renew Skin
When choosing a hydroxy acid moisturizer, look for ingredients such as glycolic acid and lactic acid (forms of alpha hydroxy acid), or salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid). Hydroxy acids will smooth firm and brighten dull skin for a fresh, youthful appearance.
Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cream combines glycolic acid and salicylic acid with azelaic acid, which helps to unclog pores and refine the surface of the skin. This resurfacing moisturizer is effective for acne scars, discoloration and uneven skin texture to renew skin, while hyaluronic acid keeps skin hydrated and firm.
Alternatively, SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight is a skin renewing cream that contains 10% glycolic acid combined with phytic acid to brighten and leave glowing skin. Phytic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that gently decongests the pores, brightens and corrects uneven skin tone. This renew moisturizer is best used at night, and as part of a personalized skin care routine from your dermatologist.
If you have particularly sensitive or allergic skin, then VMV Hypoallergenics Illuminants+ Cream: First Brilliance Moisturizer is recommended for you. This renew moisturizer combines glycolic acid and kojic acid to exfoliate and brighten the skin, targeting uneven skin tone and discoloration, while antioxidants repair sun damage to leave the skin radiant and glowing.
The most effective way to renew skin is by removing dead, dull skin cells from the surface of the skin. Allowing skin cells to build up means that the skin does not reflect the light, so gently exfoliating the skin with a face scrub or cleansers, serums and moisturizers containing glycolic acids or retinoids is an essential consideration in any skin care routine to achieve a youthful glow.
The best way to achieve glowing skin is to take the Skin Type Quiz, which will help you find the best skin care routine for your skin type. One of our Skin Type Solutions dermatologists can help to personalize a skin care routine for you based on your unique skin type.