What Does It Mean to Glow? The Science Behind Glowing Skin
“Your skin is glowing!”
It’s a compliment we cherish, regardless of how devoted we are to our skincare regimen. There are plenty of products on the market that promise a glow—but how can we achieve it naturally, and what does ‘glowing‘ actually mean from a scientific standpoint?
Natural radiance can be achieved in a number of ways—many of which you can begin at home, with products and ingredients you already own. Cell renewal, increased circulation, a good night’s sleep, vitamin supplements and a thorough skincare routine all contribute to happy, healthy skin that glows from the inside out. Read on to learn how you can make some changes in your daily rituals that will keep your skin radiant.
Just as you rid your life of negative energy, your skin sheds its old skin cells to make way for new ones. Natural cell regeneration decreases as we age, so it’s important for us to promote the process with regular exfoliation. Ridding our skin of dead cells makes it smoother, and when skin is smooth enough to reflect light, it glows! Beauty resource blog explains that “sweeping away dead and dry skin, along with all the other surface debris that might remain on your skin after cleansing, stops it from making its way into your pores and causing stubborn stoppages in the form of whiteheads and blackheads.” A long-term exfoliation practice can even , minimizing fine lines and other signs of aging.
Each of the following vitamins help nourish, protect or heal skin—which can, in turn, contribute to increased luminescence.
Vitamin A: This powerhouse vitamin regulates sebum production, fights acne, and promotes the growth of new skin cells. You can find it in many of the proteins you already eat, like meat, dairy and poultry.
Vitamin B3: Found in foods such as peanuts, peas, tuna, and avocado, B3 keeps skin soft and maintains cell metabolism—which helps your skin self-exfoliate, produce collagen and partly repair itself from UV damage. But beware—other non-food sources of B-complex vitamins, like multi-vitamins or energy drinks, can actually have an adverse effect on your skin. In , Leslie Baumann, MD and author of cautioned acne-sufferers against taking additional B-complex vitamins: “Certain vitamin Bs—specifically vitamin B6 and B12—may be behind bouts of acne. Not dirt or oil.”
Biotin: Also known as vitamin B7, biotin prevents cell water loss and damage, keeping your skin soft and supple. Biotin also promotes fatty acid metabolism and is a common supplement for strengthening skin, hair and nails.
Vitamin C: Found in fruits like papayas, pineapples, strawberries, mangos and kiwis, vitamin C helps your skin heal from stress or damage and protects skin from the sun. The notes that while vitamin C limits the damage induced by ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, it doesn’t act like a sunscreen — rather, “antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals.”
Vitamin E: Unique because it refers within a family of 8 total substances, vitamin E is the most abundant antioxidant found in human skin through natural secretion of sebum. You can supplement natural vitamin E production and help fight inflammation by eating whole foods like nuts, vegetable oils and leafy greens.
Vitamin K: Say hello to nature’s anti-aging agent. This vitamin helps keep skin wrinkle-free by maintaining healthy collagen levels and supporting , which increase your skin’s elasticity (or its ability to stretch). Vitamin K can be found in green vegetables and soybeans.
Your circulatory system delivers essential nutrients like oxygen, vitamins, hormones and minerals to skin cells while flushing out impurities like carbon dioxide and acid. When blood flow to your skin is restricted through poor circulation, your skin can look pale and dull. It can take longer to heal from acne and create a more uneven complexion. How can you increase your circulation?
Exercise: Moving for at least 30 minutes each day with cardio or weight training improves the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your body’s cells and keeps your heart strong—all of which lead to better blood flow throughout your body.
Practice breathing exercises: Yoga and deep diaphragmatic breathing push blood flow towards the chest and into your heart. Pair deep breathing with exercises like viparita karani (Legs Up the Wall pose) or adho mukha shvanasana (Downward Dog pose) to relax your body and increase circulation.
Eat healthy foods: Nuts, garlic, green tea, ginger, ginseng root, avocado, fish, green vegetables and vitamin C-rich fruits are just a handful of foods that maintain the tone of blood vessels. In other words, these foods can keep your blood vessels dilated to a healthy state, which increases circulation by allowing your blood to flow freely!
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps rehydrate skin cells—which consist largely of water—and can keep skin naturally supple and elastic. “Water plumps up the skin, causing wrinkles and pores to, more or less, get filled in,” says . When skin is hydrated and elastic, flaws are less visible and skin is less susceptible to absorbing external irritants that cause blemishes.
Is there such a thing as an unhealthy glow?
Some people have naturally oily skin, which can give the appearance of a radiant glow. However, oily skin is the result of your sebaceous glands producing more sebum than your face needs, which can lead to acne and clogged pores. The most effective ways to combat oily skin are to wash your face regularly, exfoliate, use face masks with ingredients like clay, charcoal or salicylic acid, and apply lightweight moisturizers. These preventative measures will help balance out the amount of oil your skin produces, leaving you radiant—not greasy.
Cultivate natural radiance with Olive + M
At Olive + M, we believe in enhancing your natural radiance with clean ingredients—not covering it up with synthetic ones. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few of our products that help your skin stay healthy and glowing from the inside out.
: Our lightweight formula subtly illuminates your skin with mica, a natural mineral. Echium plantagineum seed oil hydrates and protects skin’s natural barrier, while sweet orange oil promotes smooth, clear skin with vitamin C.
: This product contains a blend of mineral sea salt and our cleansing oil. The salt gently exfoliates skin, while the cleansing oil pulls impurities to the surface without stripping your skin—natural ingredients working in perfect harmony.
: Our plant-based oil formula uses a combination of antioxidants, vitamins, omegas and amino acids to fight the “bad” oil and bacteria on your skin—leaving you with clean pores without depleting your skin’s natural moisture.
: This light formula absorbs quickly into skin and is a perfect complement to our Cleansing Oil. A blend of plant-based oils like rosehip, sunflower and pomegranate even out complexion and pack in the moisture, leaving your skin smooth and touch–ably soft.