Ever wished your skin looked brighter and fresher? Here are the 10 most effective ways to brighten up your skin and give your complexion a natural radiance. 

1) Don’t Forget to Exfoliate

Exfoliation is key when it comes to keeping the skin clear and bright. It clears away those dead skin cells that build up on the surface of the skin – these are usually one of the main culprits when it comes to skin dullness. 

Once those have been cleared away, the skin’s texture becomes much smoother. This makes it better at reflecting light, giving it a gorgeous bright glow. 

How should you be exfoliating? 

You have two main options: 

  • Physical Exfoliation: makes use of an abrasive substance to slough off dead skin cells from the surface of the skin
  • Chemical Exfoliation: makes use of naturally-derived acids to dissolve the glue-like bond that keeps dead skin cells attached to the surface of the skin, enabling them to be washed away 

Both methods are effective, especially if you opt for products that contain additional skin-brightening ingredients. 

Try to exfoliate around twice a week. Of course, this does depend on your skin type – those with oily skin may need to exfoliate thrice a week, while those with sensitive skin may only be able to exfoliate once a week. 

2) Pile on the Vitamin C

Hands holding serum in a glass bottle with dropper

There are so many skin-brightening ingredients out there, but the very best one of them all is vitamin C. 

What makes vitamin C so great? 

It effectively targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation, which can soon have your skin tone looking much more even and brighter. It does this by inhibiting melanin production in those darker parts of your skin, meaning that your skin will not produce any extra melanin in those areas. Interestingly, vitamin C does not have that effect on the “normal” parts of your skin, leaving those alone when it comes to brightening. 

Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant. It can help to protect against the visible signs of aging, while treating the skin damage that UV rays, pollution and other environmental factors have caused. 

One thing to keep in mind is that vitamin C can be quite an unstable ingredient. Try to look for vitamin C products that make use of opaque packaging with a pump-style dispenser. This will better preserve the ingredient, keeping it active for longer. One product to consider would be the OROGOLD 24K Vitamin C Booster Facial Serum – it meets all of the criteria above and also contains vitamin A for additional anti-aging benefits. 

OROGOLD 24K Vitamin C Facial Booster Serum

3) Invest in Your Skin

Investing in your skin now is something that you will definitely be thanking yourself for in a few years time. There are numerous skin-brightening ingredients and products out there that have been proven to be extremely effective, and these are always worth adding in to your skin care routine. 

Wondering which ingredients you should be looking out for? 

Well, other than vitamin C, which has already been mentioned above, here are some of the best ingredients available for brightening up the skin: 

  • Niacinimide – not only does vitamin B3 brighten up the skin and lighten dark spots, but it also helps to reduce sebum production, preventing oily skin 
  • Azelaic Acid – this is a chemical exfoliant that also reduces the skin’s production of melanin, giving it a lighter and brighter appearance 
  • Kojic Acid – this natural ingredient is often used as an alternative to hydroquinone. While it does not have the harmful side effects that hydroquinone does, it can take longer for results to be visible 
  • Licorice Extract – there are several lightening and brightening compounds in licorice extract, with each one working in its own individual way 

4) Cleanse Every Night

Over the course of each day, so many different substances and impurities end up on the surface of your skin, such as:

  • Excess sebum 
  • Dead skin cells 
  • Bacteria
  • Pollutants
  • Makeup residue

If you leave all of that on your skin when you go to bed each night, it won’t be long before your complexion takes on a noticeable dullness and roughness. 

The best way to prevent this? 

Cleansing your skin each evening. 

Make sure that you use a cleanser that has been formulated for your skin type. Oily skin will require a cleanser that can clear away all of that excess sebum, while dry skin will need a milder cleanser that will not wash away those protective oils. 

5) Stress Relief

If you just can’t seem to clear that dullness away from your skin, no matter how many powerful ingredients and products you use, the reason could be stress. 

How does stress cause dullness in the skin? 

Because stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol, which is nicknamed the stress hormone. This puts your body into fight or flight mode, meaning that your body sends more blood to your vital organs, such as your heart, lungs and brain. In order to do this, it needs to divert that blood away from the organs that are less important during times of stress, one of which is your skin. 

This lack of circulation leads to a dull and tired appearance. 

When it comes to stress relief, everyone has their own preferred methods…

However, it is always worth trying something new. The following methods have been proven to help lower stress levels:

  • Yoga – just a few light poses, or even some deep breathing, can lower the cortisol in your body 
  • Aromatherapy – certain scents, such as lavender, have been proven to quickly bring down stress levels 
  • Laughter – even if you have to fake it, the act of laughing can counter the effects of stress on the body 
  • Spending time with a pet – more and more people are becoming pet owners, something that can significantly help to keep stress levels in check 
  • A quiet walk – combining gentle exercise with outdoor time is a proven stress buster 
  • Writing in a journal – this can really help to put any problems into perspective, reducing stress levels 

6) Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Skin cells that are hydrated and plump will naturally glow and look brighter than those that are dehydrated and lackluster.

How should you be keeping your skin hydrated? 

Both internally and externally. Let’s begin with external hydration…

The best way to keep your skin hydrated is by regularly applying a moisturizer. A moisturizer is designed to not only contain hydrating ingredients, but to also form a thin film over the surface of the skin. This then prevents the skin’s moisture from evaporating, ensuring that your skin cells are able to make the most of this water. 

Infographic showing the difference between dry skin and moisturized skin

Of course, internal hydration is important too…

You probably already know that you should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, but you can boost your hydration levels even further by incorporating more water-rich ingredients into your meals. 

The following foods contain particularly high levels of water, and are also packed with skin-brightening antioxidants: 

    • Cucumbers
    • Tomatoes
    • Spinach
    • Mushrooms
    • Melon 
    • Brussel sprouts
    • Soups and broths
    • Zucchini

7) Cut Back on Alcohol

Do you drink alcohol pretty frequently? 

If so, this may be preventing your skin from shining in the way that it deserves to. 

There’s nothing wrong with a drink occasionally. After all, in some cases, such as with red wine, this can even be beneficial for your health! 

However, alcohol can also have some seriously detrimental effects on the skin, one of which is dehydration. Alcohol quickly dehydrates the skin, leaving it looking dull and parched. 

Alcohol also contains sugars that lead to skin damage in a variety of different forms, such as: 

  • Damaged skin cells 
  • Dullness 
  • Excess oil production 
  • Acne breakouts 
  • A loss of firmness and elasticity 

As mentioned above, there is nothing wrong with occasionally enjoying some alcohol, but keeping this to a minimum would be one of the best things you could do for your skin. 

8) Eat Your Skincare

What’s your diet like? 

If you know that there are a few improvements that you could make, and this applies to pretty much everyone, then making these changes will likely result in a brighter and healthier complexion. 

Your skin is a direct reflection of the food that you put into your body. When it comes to the very best foods that you could be eating for your skin, these are the items you need to be consuming more of: 

  • Oily fish – fish such as mackerel, sardines and salmon all contain the perfect ratio of omega fatty acids. These keep the skin moisturized, clear and bright, while reducing inflammation and also providing a dose of antioxidants
  • Avocados – not all fats are bad, and avocados contain some of the healthiest fats in the world. These not only have anti-aging effects, but are also a great source of skin-brightening vitamins 
  • Walnuts – not only are walnuts packed with omega fatty acids, but they also contain several skin-boosting vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E and C, selenium and zinc 
  • Sweet Potatoes – this is one of the best forms of beta-carotene out there, which the body then converts into vitamin A. This is one of the most revered skin vitamins out there due to its powerful anti-aging and brightening effects 
  • Tomatoes – not only do tomatoes contain plenty of beta-carotene, but they are also high in lycopene and lutein, both of which are able to brighten the skin while protecting against sun damage too 

9) Sun Protection

While a tan may temporarily make you look a little more radiant, this will only have a damaging and darkening effect on your skin in the long term. 

Sun damage can cause some huge problems, many of which can be irreversible. 

So, how should you be protecting your skin from the sun? 

Plenty of sunscreen to begin with. 

This should be a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. If you have extremely fair or sensitive skin, then you may wish to go for a higher SPF, but anything lower is not advisable. 

One mistake that many make when it comes to sunscreen is not applying enough of the stuff… 

You need about the equivalent of a shot glass worth of sunscreen to cover both your face and your body. You should also be frequently re-applying this throughout the day, otherwise your skin will be going unprotected for the latter part of the day. 

Infographic showing the difference between skin that is protected from UVA and UVB rays, and skin that isn't

In addition to wearing plenty of sunscreen, there are other sun protection measures that you can take, such as: 

    • Staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm, depending on your exact location 
    • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat to give your face some additional sun protection 
    • Wearing sunglasses to protect the extra-delicate skin around your eyes. The larger the frames, the better 

10) Fake It

Some of these skin-brightening methods can take a little while to kick in. So, in the meantime, you always have the option of faking it a little with some makeup. 

A brightening foundation, along with a highlighting product, may be all you need to give your skin an extra touch of brightness. You will likely need to experiment with a few different techniques and shades until you find a look that works for you. Fortunately, with the sheer volume of online makeup tutorials out there, this is now easier than ever! 

Of course, this isn’t a long term solution, making it important to stay consistent with the other methods listed above too. 

A brighter and healthier complexion can really be life-changing, giving you such a huge confidence boost. Each of the ten methods above will have their own beneficial effects on your skin, but try combining all of them to see some real magic.