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5 Glowing Skin Hacks By A Dermatologist 

April 27, 2023
Medi-Facial Science by Dr.TWL

Glowing skin isn’t a myth. It’s achievable with the right products incorporated into your skincare routine. Dr.TWL’s encyclopedia of skincare routines is a distillation of her expertise as a dermatologist and also chief scientific officer of clinical skincare brand Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals. In this first installment, we cover one of the most frequently asked questions about skincare routines: how do you get glowing skin? 

Ep 1 Skincare Routines 101: How to Get Glowing Skin

Science of glowing skin relates to skin health, to overcome pores and dullness.
The science of glowing skin relates to skin health. The structure of resilient skin promotes skin radiance. In this article, I share my top instant glow tips. I teach you how to organise a day skincare routine for the coveted instant glow up, including options for a 3-step instant glow facial at home. 
Barrier Repair Speed Guide
Sign up for our free Skincare Blueprint: Glow Up From Within newsletter to receive our welcome gift pack.

    We’ll begin with the science:

    The anatomy of glowing skin

    This is the key to an instant glow—select skincare products that target strategic layers of skin. Let’s break down what exactly makes skin glow, by first explaining what causes dull skin. With that we’ll understand the anatomy of skin, before we begin to talk about how to get naturally glowing skin. 

    • Epidermis

    The epidermis is the top most layer of skin. Dull skin is due to reduced skin cell renewal rates, which is directly related to skin age. That is why youthful looking skin is described as radiant. This is due to healthy cell turnover rate. The corneocytes are the superficial skin cells which are retained on the skin surface. This results in skin dullness. The moisture content of skin also affects glow—dry skin is due to increased loss of water to the environment. This is also known as trans-epidermal water loss. Hydrating the skin, enhancing healthy cell turnover rate are ways to achieve glowing skin at the level of the epidermis. 

    How to get naturally glowing skin: begin from the inside with botanicals
    How to get naturally glowing skin: begin from the inside. Botanicals are a rich source of antioxidants you should incorporate in your skincare routine for instant glowing skin. Dr. Teo Wan Lin discusses the concept of plant adaptogens in her book Asian Beauty Secrets–a K-beauty guide to an instant glow up based on Korean skincare routines.

    • Dermis 

    The dermis is the second layer of skin and is primarily composed of elastin and collagen. Both elastin and collagen content are also lost with aging skin. On the surface it looks like reduced plumpness and elasticity of skin. By restoring plumpness and elasticity, skin appears taut, lifted and also adds to the illusion of glowing skin from within. 

    • Overall health, blood circulation

    Inside out beauty is for real. Skin is supplied by blood vessels transporting nutrients that feed it. If you are in an optimal state of health, your skin will be too. A plant-based diet rich in antioxidants will ensure that your body has sufficient antioxidant reserve to fight free-radical damage. 

    Formulation of skincare products 

    Skincare products can be understood this way:

    • The vehicle (cleanser, lotion, serum, cream, mask) which determines texture and function 

    Cleansers work at the level of the epidermis. The rest are leave-on products which can penetrate deeper into the dermis and achieve desired effects on skin.

    Asian Beauty Secrets Book
    Discover the secrets of Korean skincare routines that promise glowing skin with Asian Beauty Secrets, the K-beauty bible that spills the beans on behind the scenes medifacial hacks used by skincare clinics.

    Active ingredients for glowing skin 

    Skincare active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid are glycosaminoglycans which penetrate deeper into skin at the level of the dermis. There are multiple biological effects including enhancing skin barrier function, encouraging healthy immune system regulation. These all essential to achieve a glowing skin effect.

    In the next section, I’ll teach you how to get glowing skin with 5 of my best glowing skin hacks, including tips on how to choose the best skincare products for instant glow effects. 

    Build your skincare regimen for glowing skin
    Skincare routine order: skincare layering is an important concept in Korean skincare routines. For example, skin flooding refers to the specific skincare order of using multiple hydrating serums and moisturisers for dry skin. 

    If we had all the time in the world, I’m sure we would be applying skincare products all day long, just kidding. As a dermatologist, I prioritise efficient skincare routines. So here’s the deal, my list of 5 glowing skin hacks crystallises top tips for achieving glowing skin in under 3 minutes, in under 3 steps with 3 products or less. 

    Skincare Routine Steps for an Instant Glow Facial At Home

    Korean Skincare Routines - Nature's Skin Cycling
    With Korean skincare routines, there is no need to skin cycle. The clinical line developed by Dr. Teo Wan Lin incorporates skincare routine products that synergise to ensure optimal skin health. With skin barrier repair products to restore healthy skin function. Instead of retinols or retinoids which cause skin sensitivity and allergies, use peptide formulas as antiaging products in your skincare routine. 

    Cleanse & peel in 1 step for glowing skin

    Glowing skin tip #1:

    I wet my face, apply a pea-sized amount of a brightening cleanser (natural emulsifiers like those honey-based or with soy/botanical emulsifiers work). Then, I use home skincare device with a microcrystalline copper oxide tip for gentle microdermabrasion. It works with vacuum technology and the microcrystalline tip exfoliates skin on a microscopic level, similar to what a chemical peel does. 

    The science behind this is that skin dullness is not just caused by retention of dead skin cells, but also because of surface oxidative stress caused by pollution. Thorough cleansing itself removes the pollutants and instantly restores the glow. The key is to cleanse effectively with the help of technology, I prefer microdermabrasion or hydrodermabrasion over sonic cleansing but you would do well to use both really. 

    Art of Skincare Layering for maximum Skincare Benefits
    Use the mnemonic SLEMM to understand the skincare layering routine. Serum, lotion, emulsion, moisturiser cream and mask. Skincare routine products must be used in the correct order for maximum skincare benefits. For oily acne prone skin, you may choose an emulsion instead of a cream moisturiser. Alternatively, a hydrating facial mist containing glycerin, poly glutamic acid and hyaluronic acid may suffice as a moisturiser for oily acne prone skin types. Glowing skin can be achieved by flooding the skin with moisture, aka the TikTok trend of skin flooding. 

    Best serums for glowing skin

    Glowing skin tip #2:

    Use serums religiously in your skincare routine if you desire to achieve glowing skin. The two best serums for glowing skin are hyaluronic acid and vitamin c serums. Use a vitamin C serum after cleansing, when your skin is slightly damp. This enhances absorption of the serum. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which means it eats up the free radicals generated by environmental damage on skin. UV exposure, PM2.5 pollutants, these directly cause oxidative stress on skin which causes skin to be dull.

    If you have dry sensitive skin, be careful with this though. I would choose sodium ascorbyl phosphate or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate over L-ascorbic acid formulations because the latter can cause irritation due to increased acidity of the skin environment. Don’t mistake skins dryness for dullness—in this case you’ll actually need to repair the skin barrier (see 3.) The best hyaluronic acid is a multi-weighted molecular formula that targets both layers of skin. The epidermis, where it has a humectant function. The dermis, where it targets cell activity and signalling. The latter known as cell talk. 

    Dull Skin Remedies with Functional Dermatology
    Dull skin remedies: Glowing skin is achievable with the right skincare products. The best serum for glowing skin contains antioxidants like vitamin C and skin hydrating hyaluronic acid. A skincare routine for glowing skin should incorporate ingredients that repair the skin barrier and fight off oxidative stress. Dull skin on the face is caused by dead skin cells, a lower skin cell renewal rate with age and also disrupted skin barrier function. 

    Use a moisturiser that contains peptides, botanicals and niacinamide

    Glowing skin tip #3:

    If you aren’t in a hurry, apply a palm-sized amount of your favorite moisturiser and let it absorb for at least half an hour (I usually get on with my tasks at home!) Also apply a damp cotton towel over your skin if you’re taking a nap—this will increase the absorption of the moisturiser which will guarantee your skin looks doubly radiant when you wake up.

    Dr.TWL Express Facial - Home Facial for Glowing Skin
    Home facial for glowing skin: Hack your facial skin care routine with facial devices like sonic cleansing devices paired with hyaluronic acid skincare products. Home facial treatments for glowing skin can be effective when correct skincare technology is incorporated. Microcurrent, hydrodermabrasion and microdermabrasion are effective technologies. 

    Spritz on a facial mist that contains polyglutamic acid

    Glowing skin tip #4:

    Facial mists are the most underrated skincare step in my opinion. Face mists are an in between skincare step, which means it can be applied anytime. Unlike the rules of skincare layering which means the most lightweight goes first, i.e. serum, lotion, emulsion, moisturiser/mask. Facial mists can act as a boost to any skincare step by dampening the skin environment which makes skincare absorption more effective. 

    Get Glass Skin, Treat Acne / Pigmentation / Sensitive Skin / Aging
    Glass skin routine: K-beauty popularized the glass skin look which is a variation of glowing skin. The key is for skin to appear translucent and transparent, almost like glass. Glass skin tips are included in Asian Beauty Secrets with product recommendations for at home facial routines and K-beauty medi-facial hacks.

    Polyglutamic acid can hold 5X the weight of water compared to hyaluronic acid, but is less commonly found in skincare because it is more expensive. Botanicals are commonly used in K-beauty facial mists, these help to fight surface free radical damage. I usually spritz on right after cleansing and again after moisturiser before I apply any makeup. I also use it throughout the day to hydrate my skin.

    The facial mist is a multifunctional skincare product I highly recommend, I use it to cleanse my skin for touch-ups—water itself is a solvent and when paired with a micellar makeup remover pad it is sufficient to remove makeup. Makeup wipes are bad for skin and definitely won’t give you a glow. They are usually formulated with harsh surfactants that will disrupt the skin barrier.

    How to get glowing skin
    Home Facial for Glowing Skin Steps: Organise your skincare routine with a skincare planner. Create a skincare ritual you can follow everyday, relax your mind and soothe your skin. Glowing skin from the inside begins with overall well-being plus a healthy skin barrier. 

    Glowing skin also needs a little help sometimes-use a BB or CC cream

    Glowing skin tip #5:

    If you’ve followed all the above steps, you are well on your way to achieving the coveted glowing skin look. But, truth be told, the glowing skin sported by our favorite K-pop celebrities also comes with a little help, in the form of K-beauty makeup. To be clear, I’m not talking about layering full face foundation, loose powder and all.

    What I’m referring to is skincare makeup, also known as the BB and CC creams which contain active ingredients in the makeup itself. The valuable aspect about incorporating skincare in makeup is that it literally boosts your skincare regimen. Your foundation sits on your skin the entire day plus it makes us all a bit more confident when we get to conceal our flaws. 

    Little Skincare Book
    Skin barrier repair tips The Little Skincare Book for Women written by Dr. Teo Wan Lin compiles top skincare tips on skin barrier repair. Includes a skincare routine planner with steps, checklists with helpful skincare tips. Develop a skincare routine order for you to stay organised.
    Heal Your Skincare Barrier

    BB creams and CC creams—we inherited these terms courtesy of K-beauty but the western beauty brands like Chanel and Dior have also caught up in a big way the last couple years. I’ve seen updated formulations from european brands which look a lot more similar to K-beauty CC creams in the last year for instance. My preference is always for skincare makeup that is loaded with antioxidants because they literally brighten your skin by zapping the free radical stress away. 

    Skincare ingredient pairing: Subscribe to Dr. Teo Wan Lin’s newsletter for top tips on how to select skincare ingredients to include in your skincare routine for maximum benefits. She covers acne scar remedies, acne skincare routines that incorporate skincare ingredients that work for oily acne prone skin types.
    Master Skincare Routines Glowing Skin Hacks
    Master Skincare Routines is an online encyclopedia created as an educational resource on dermatology and skincare ingredients and routines by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin. It accompanies her subscriber-only newsletter with skincare blueprints, practical skincare routines and fresh insider tips released each week, sign up for free and get a welcome gift pack.

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