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

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 — technically speaking? And more importantly, how do you get it? Here, we glow behind the scenes (sorry) to get the scoop on radiant skin.

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

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.


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 Salicylic Acid Cleanser is a gentle exfoliant that won’t leave skin feeling dry or stripped. Also try SLMD Skincare Resurfacing Acne Swipes — pads that come preloaded with a cocktail of salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids.


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. Products with ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid draw moisture into the skin, restoring luster and sheen. Try SLMD Skincare Facial Moisturizer, a lightweight lotion that hydrates with B vitamins and amino acids. For intense, non comedogenic hydration, SLMD Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a moisturizing multitasker.

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:

Prevent 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 — 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.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

  • Hydrate: adequate water supply keeps skin cells plump and supple.
  • Manage stress: elevated levels of cortisol — aka the stress hormone — can exacerbate acne and inflammation.
  • Exercise: increasing your heart rate boosts blood flow to your skin, bringing oxygen and nutrients to nourish cells.
  • Don’t smoke: the chemicals in cigarette smoke constrict blood flow and expose skin to damaging free radicals.
  • Get adequate sleep: nightly downtime gives skin the chance to repair and regenerate.

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 and retinol to correct and prevent damage, and you’ve got a recipe for radiance.

—Dr. Sandra Lee


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