According to our 2023 State of Skin survey, 1 in 5 Australians report having dull skin which isn’t exactly what we’d call ‘skin goals’. On the contrary, most of us want our complexion to be youthful, glowing and radiant — but how can we actually achieve that?
With so many factors influencing the condition of your skin and an (overwhelming) abundance of skincare advice out there, it can be a little hard to know where to start.
We've got all the facts about what's really important when it comes to your skin's appearance, the factors that you can control and how to make your lifestyle a little easier on your skin. Let's get you one step closer to achieving the complexion of your dreams.
What factors influence how your skin looks?
Your skin is influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. This means that while you may be predisposed to certain skin conditions because of your genetics, there are also many others factors that you have a significant level of control over.
Let's take you through all the things that might have an effect on your skin's appearance.
Your genetics are responsible for many of your skin's qualities, not only determining your skin types but also your predispositions to certain skin conditions and even the rate of the skin ageing process or intrinsic skin ageing.
Basically, you can thank your parents for any pesky skin conditions like rosacea or atopic dermatitis, as well as your oily, dry or sensitive skin type.
While you can't change your skin type, you can use the knowledge of your skin's genetic predispositions to make decisions about your skincare products, treatments and routines.
Hormonal fluctuations are one of the major causes of changes in our skin's appearance. This is why you might experience hormonal acne during puberty, hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and drier skin during menopause.
While these changes can be a little annoying, they are usually temporary and do disappear once your hormones rebalance.
The appearance of your skin is heavily influenced by the environment that it's exposed to. Harsh climates, pollution, and most critically, ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause significant changes to our skin barrier function and lead to premature skin ageing .
Skin ageing that's caused by environmental factors is called extrinsic skin ageing and the main extrinsic skin ager that we face is the sun.
This is because the sun's UV rays can damage the elastin and collagen fibres in the skin (the fibres required for skin elasticity and youthful skin), leading to wrinkles, skin sagging, blotchiness and at its worst, skin cancer .
Your lifestyle choices also have a large impact on your skin's appearance. Everything from your sleep quality and stress levels to the food that you eat and the amount that you exercise can affect your skin's appearance.
But the lifestyle factor that causes the most damage to your skin's appearance is smoking. Smoking degrades the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin, which accelerates skin ageing and leads to more fine lines and wrinkles.
Smoking also narrows your skin's blood vessels and decreases blood flow. This not only makes your skin look older and paler but repletes your skin of the oxygen and nutrients needed for its health .
How to achieve (and maintain!) youthful glowing skin
Prevention is the best and most effective way to work against extrinsic skin ageing effects.
Incorporate prescription retinoids
According to the Australasian College of Dermatologists, long-term use of prescription retinoids can effectively reduce fine lines and fade irregular pigmentation . This is because retinoids can stimulate the production of collagen, keeping your skin firmer and more youthful looking for longer.
Prescription retinoids are one of the powerful anti-ageing ingredients used to make Software's prescription ageing treatment.
Each formula is customised to your unique skin condition and skin goals to create a treatment that really works for you.
By harnessing the power of prescription retinoids alongside other hydrating and acne-fighting ingredients, the formula can smooth out your wrinkles, lighten age spots and give you younger-looking skin.
Use sunscreen every day
Did you know that just a few minutes of UV exposure every day can cause changes in your skin? The scariest part is that the sun damage may only reveal itself when you're older, leaving your skin with deep lines, sun spots and discolouration .
That's why it's so important to apply sunscreen every day. You should aim to wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more, and remember to reapply if you are swimming or sweating.
It's also a good idea to avoid direct sun exposure when UV radiation is at its peak (usually between 10am and 3pm) and pop on a hat if you can.
Exfoliation is when you remove dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin to reveal the new ones underneath. While this does happen naturally in a process called skin cell turnover, using an exfoliating product can speed up this process and also provide some nice additional benefits.
These benefits include brightening dull skin, improving skin tone and texture, preventing acne breakouts and promoting collagen production.
As you age and your skin cell turnover rate slows down, exfoliating becomes even more important if you want to maintain more youthful glowing skin .
If you want to avoid a yellow, sallow complexion and deeply wrinkled and leathery skin then you're going to want to think about giving up smoking .
While smoking is one of the worst contributors to premature skin ageing, you still have a good chance of avoiding and even reversing its effects if you stop.
Wash your face
It might sound obvious but washing your face is essential for maintaining healthy and radiant skin. The best way to do this is to develop a skincare routine that works for you and your skin goals.
If your goal is to have a more youthful and radiant complexion, Software's Advanced Ageing Set can help you achieve that. The complete regime provides you with five dermatologist-approved formulas that work together to brighten, firm, smooth and hydrate your skin.
Each product is made with advanced actives sourced from natural ingredients to repair and protect your skin cells from UV rays and other environmental stressors.
Use vitamin C
Vitamin C isn't only essential for your physical health but for your skin health too. When applied topically, vitamin C can stimulate collagen synthesis and assist in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage .
But that's not all, this powerful vitamin can also lighten any skin discolouration and even your skin tone.
Don't pop pimples
As tempting as it is to pop the spots on your face, the damage that it can cause just isn't ever worth that small moment of satisfaction.
Drink your water
Hydration is the key to a radiant complexion and not getting enough can cause dry and dehydrated skin . When this happens, you might find that your skin is dull, irritated and more prone to breakouts.
Aim to drink around 2L or 8 cups of water a day to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise
Using a moisturiser is absolutely essential for maintaining smooth, soft and hydrated skin. Experts generally recommend applying your moisturiser after showering, while your skin is still warm, and reapplying throughout the day as needed .
It's also a good idea to apply a moisturiser before you go to bed to protect your skin and prevent the dryness that can occur overnight.
Fill your plate with healthy fats
A healthy diet can significantly improve your skin's health and appearance. While fruits and vegetables play an important part, research has also found that diets higher in essential fatty acids or healthy fats can also lead to younger-looking skin .
You can get more healthy fats into your diet by eating more of the following foods:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Most of us know that regular exercise is important for our bodies but did you know that it's also pretty important for our skin? The Australasian College of Dermatologists recommends exercising at least 3 times a week to get more youthful-looking skin .
Whether it's a brisk walk, swimming in the ocean or a heavy HIIT session, find a movement that you enjoy and your skin is guaranteed to reap the benefits.
Wash your makeup brushes regularly
Your makeup brushes and sponges can accumulate everything from old makeup and dust to dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria, not exactly something you want to be wiping onto your face every day.
To promote healthy skin and prevent acne, it's a good idea to wash your makeup brushes about once a week.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Real people, incredible transformations
The initial process of Software was so easy and straight forward. Got exactly what I wanted. And I LOVE that you can upload photos of your progress. I recommend software to my friends with pigmentation (melasma) too :)
backed by dermatologists
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022