It might be summer (sort of) but maintaining a healthy, radiant complexion can still be a tricky business. Here's how to do it...
Having radiant skin isn't just about banishing those eye bags and remembering to cleanse and moisturise - it's something that requires a multi-faceted approach to skincare and an understanding of what causes dull skin and which ingredients can help.
"Radiance is becoming a cult term at the moment and more and more clients are using the terms 'radiance' and 'glow' to describe what they want from their skincare products," says Georgie Cleeve, founder of OSKIA Skincare.
"A brightening effect will give a complexion real vitality and produce a genuine anti-ageing effect, more so than smoothing out little lines and wrinkles. More often than not, it's unbalanced skin tone and hyper-pigmentation that give the skin a dappled and lifeless appearance, so the main radiance boosters are actually those ingredients that even out skin tone and reduce pigmentation."
Ingredients to look out for
AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy acids) have grown increasingly popular over the past few years and are especially common in anti ageing lotions and potions, due to their ability to reduce fine lines by promoting cell turnover.
Look out for Beta Hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), which can help smooth out uneven skin tones and improve the skin's texture, and hyaluronic acid, an ingredient which can aid the penetration of products and give skin a healthy glow by improving circulation and making skin look plumper.
It's also worth keeping an eye out for some lesser-known ingredients. "It might sound obvious, but arnica - traditionally used to treat bruises - is a fantastic ingredient to help reduce dark circles," says Georgie Cleeve at OSKIA.
"This is because dark circles are caused by the blood being visible through the skin, which under the eye area is the thinnest skin on the entire body. Strengthening the capillary walls through which the blood flows reduces the very common leakage of blood as it travels through the capillaries, which in turn prevents dark circles appearing.
"Another ingredient to look out for is Vitamin K, which supports Vitamin P in healing broken and damaged capillaries."
Going against the grain
Serums, creams and oils won't benefit your skin if they're not able to penetrate it. For this reason, regular exfoliation is essential. However, exfoliation's main purpose is to rid our skin of the build up of the dead cells that can lead to dullness.
Use a facial scrub at least twice a week - look for one with spherical granules rather than fragments of material such as apricot kernel, which can irritate the skin. Make sure skin is cleansed thoroughly both in the morning and night, and apply a mask at least once a week, ideally one which contains ingredients designed to promote cell renewal.
"AHAs and fruit enzymes such as papaya can help to resurface and brighten the top layers, and also smooth and rid the skin of dry flaky surface cells that reduces radiance," points out Georgie Cleeve.
"Oxygenating ingredients such as Ribose, a sugar derived from a specific corn, literally breathes life back into dull skin by increasing oxygen intake into the skin cells, and circulation boosters such as caffeine can give sluggish skin a quick radiance boost - although caffeine products should be avoided by those with sensitive skin."
Bear in mind that promoting cell renewal becomes more important as we get older. Up until the age of 14, the skin on the face exfoliates naturally every 14 days. By the time we hit 25, this only happens once every 28 days. It's this build up of dead skin cells that can leave our complexions looking dull and washed out.
You are what you eat
Zinc, beta carotene (for its vitamin A), vitamin C and essential fats are all essential for healthy skin. Zinc (found in shellfish, shrimp, soybeans, sunflower seeds and whole grains) helps skin to remain healthy and heal quickly. Vitamin A promotes cell renewal and is found in eggs, fish liver oils, dairy products, dark green vegetables, yellow and orange vegetables, carrots and pumpkins. Vitamin C helps to protect the skin and repair the damage done by free radicals, while essential fats, such as Omega 3, help to maintain moisture levels and reduce inflammation.
What not to do
Cigarettes, alcohol and fast food are all best avoided by those in the pursuit of the ultimate radiant glow, but in reality, the majority of us are probably guilty of indulging in at least one of these sins from time to time. And that's why our final tip is to never, ever underestimate the power of light-reflecting make up....
Olay Essentials Complete Care Multi- KIA Get Up & Glow, £64.50, www.oskiaskincare.com
Radiance Daily Illuminating UV Fluid, £7.69, Boots
Sanctuary Brightening Eye Gel with arnica, £10.29, Boots
Lancome Photogenic Lumessence - Light-mastering & Smoothing Makeup 14h Comfort SPF 15 , £28.50, Boots
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, £28.60, timetospa.co.uk