A woman with glowing skin applying brightening product like retinol serum by SLMD Skincare

What Exactly Is Glowing Skin — And How Can You Get It?

Dr. Pimple Popper shares the inside scoop on getting that lit-from-within look — no filter necessary.


2 minute read

Glowing skin has become the modern-day beauty version of success: some are flaunting it, some are faking it — but most of us are still trying to figure out the secret. So what exactly is glowing skin — and more importantly, how do you get it?

Here, we glow behind the scenes (ahem) to get the scoop on radiant skin, with the help of dermatologist and SLMD Skincare founder Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper).

What is glowing skin?

In the most basic sense, glowing skin exudes youthful radiance. Babies glow because their cell turnover is quick and efficient, revealing brand new skin every couple of weeks. They have ample collagen, a healthy skin barrier, and haven’t been exposed to environmental stressors.

But time and lifestyle choices affect skin cells as you age. Consequently, getting your glow on requires more of an effort. Sure, you can fake skin radiance with highlighters and filters, but here’s a step-by-step guide to promoting a natural glow that lasts.

Exfoliate regularly

The daily buildup of dead skin cells, dirt and oil can make skin appear dull (not to mention induce breakouts). If you’ve ever pressed your face up against a piece of glass, you understand the concept: the glass isn’t as shiny and clear because of the streak your skin leaves behind. Using exfoliating ingredients like alpha and beta hydroxy acids will slough off that dulling debris.

SLMD Skincare to try: Salicylic Acid Cleanser, AHA/BHA Swipes

Dr. Pimple Popper's Glowing Skin Picks

Hydrate & moisturize

This one’s a no brainer: just imagine the difference between a grape and a raisin. A plump, juicy grape has a smooth sheen, whereas the raisin’s crevices are dim and shadowed. When skin gets dry and flaky, the light doesn’t reflect as well. 

  • Humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin draw moisture into the skin, plumping it up and giving it a dewy look.
  • Emollients like squalane seal in that hydration, restoring luster and sheen.

Dr. Lee's favorite glowing skin hack is to add a couple drops of her Hyaluronic Acid Serum, which also contains squalane, to your favorite foundation.

SLMD Skincare to try: Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer, Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Support healthy skin function

Youthful skin naturally glows — but aging and environmental stressors take their toll on optimal skin cell function. Here’s how you can help:

  • Strengthen skin barrier: antioxidants like vitamin C help block damaging free radicals
  • Speed cell turnover: retinoids derived from vitamin A are clinically proven to speed up the skin cycle, bringing new cells to the surface
  • Bolster collagen production: both vitamins C and A have all been clinically shown to stimulate this essential protein

SLMD Skincare to try: Facial Moisturizer w/Vitamin C, Vitamin C Serum, Retinol Resurfacing Serum

Prevent & repair skin damage

Even if you’ve diligently followed a healthy lifestyle and skincare regimen, some skin damage (from aging and the environment) is inevitable. Addressing those signs — like fine lines, hyperpigmentation — will make skin more even-toned and reflective. Antioxidants excel at protecting your skin from oxidative stress, and some even reverse the signs of damage. You can also slow down extrinsic aging by using sunscreen daily.

SLMD Skincare to try: Dark Spot Fix, Dual Defender SPF 30

Choose a healthy lifestyle

  • Hydrate: adequate water supply keeps skin cells plump and supple
  • Manage stress: lowering cortisol (aka the stress hormone) helps minimize inflammation
  • Exercise: increased blood flow to your skin brings oxygen and nutrients to nourish cells
  • Don’t smoke: cigarette smoke constricts blood flow and exposes skin to damaging free radicals
  • Get adequate sleep: nightly downtime gives skin the chance to repair and regenerate
Dr Sandra Lee

Dr. Lee's Last Word

When we’re talking about glowing skin, what we’re really talking about is healthy, youthful skin. Now you can’t stop aging, but keeping skin clean, exfoliated and moisturized goes a long way. Add in antioxidants, retinol and sunscreen to correct and prevent damage, and you’ve got a recipe for radiance.


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