Radiance, to me, conjures synonyms such as glowing, hydrated, dewy and healthy. As we age and succumb to increased environmental stress, radiant skin can seem unattainable without resorting to the impractical (a professional lighting team in tow at all times) or the undesirable (harsh skin brightening ingredients such as hydroquinone). But Mother Nature has provided a crop of powerful ingredients that will help you retain radiance. Here, are six naturals that will uncover your inner glow, plus some products to find them in.
Glutathione (pronounced glute-a-thigh-on) is a peptide that is produced naturally all the time in our bodies. It is a combination of three simple building blocks of amino acids: cysteine, glycine and glutamine. A busy molecule, it does all sorts of important things, including detoxification, antioxidant defense, maintenance of thiol status (a molecule in our blood) and modulation of cell proliferation. Recently, glutathione was recognized as alternative skin brightener that can even out tone and help the skin attain a healthy luster.
Find it in: Deciem Hylamide Glow Radiance Booster ($32), Your Best Face Antioxidants Concentrate ($65 in the shop), and Medik8 CE-Thione Rechargeable Vitamin C Serum ($150 in the shop), where it also serves to stabilize and boost the vitamin C.
Not for nothing is this flowering plant known as “bright light.” Think of this extract as illumination for the skin. Studies have specifically shown it to prevent hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. For the curious, here’s how it works: Madonna lily interferes with the transfer of melanin from melanocytes to keratinocytes. The result is a reduction in the quantity of melanin. At the same time, it boosts cell renewal to force out faster melanin in the epidermis.
Find it in: Stemulation Hi-Impact ($185 in the shop), which makes my skin look positively velvety and in one of our new discoveries from New Zealand, Ao Skincare Repair Night Cream ($89.95 in the shop).
Alpha hydroxy acids
The exfoliating acids from the AHA family all come from natural sources like cane sugar, apples, almonds, grapes and tamarind. They loosen the glue-like substances that hold skin cells together, thus shedding the top layer of damaged and dulling cells to reveal the fresh layer underneath. With a well-formulated product, AHAs cause no irritation or peeling, just skin that’s been given a wake-up call.
Find them in: Sevani Ageless Radiance cleanser ($39 in the shop), one of my forever favorites, Clarity Sleep It Off Mask ($120 in the shop) and ASDM Beverly Hill Glycolic Acid Complex ($23 in the shop).
Kojic acid is found in several species of fungi. This magic mushroom is used as skin lightening agent, as it inhibits the essential enzyme that produces melanin and delivers a more even tone. Because of its ability to really penetrate the layers of skin, it is great for treating stubborn sun spots or acne scars. Generally formulated at a concentration of 1 percent, higher concentrations of kojic acid may cause irritation to sensitive skin; however, higher concentrations are safe and effective for some.
Find it in: Medik8 White Balance Click ($80 in the shop), which stores the kojic acid in the top part of the product’s lid and is released on use to ensure the acid retains its potency, and Sciote Illume Brightening Creme ($85 in the shop) with a potent concentration of 3 percent. You will also find it in Dawn Lorraine Lemongrass Enzyme Crème ($54 in the shop).
You’ll see this Indian spice in cosmetics as tetrahydrocurcumin or tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane. It contains curcumin, an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and — you guessed it — skin brightener that cuts down on the excess production of melanin. Turmeric also assists in the removal of dead skin cells, resulting in a complexion that is more even toned and luminous.
We all know that dryness sucks the life out of your skin. Hyalurosmooth is the trade name for a botanical formula, cassia angustifolia seed polysaccharide, which is an alternative to hyaluronic acid and is a fantastic skin hydrator. The polysaccharides bind water to the skin for increased dewiness and smooth the skin surface, resulting in improved light reflection.
Find it in: Sciote products like the Super Moist Hyaluronic Serum ($75 in the shop) and Organic Radiance Ultra Nourishing Anti-Aging Elixir ($65 in the shop).