Glow from Within: The Secret to Healthier Skin   

Glow from Within: The Secret to Healthier Skin

Woman standing in her bathroom, looking in the mirror, holding a jar of face cream and applying some to her face.
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Alexis Livingston Young, M.D.

You're scrolling through your social media feed, and there it is — another influencer claiming they've cracked the code to perfect skin. They promise that their secret is the solution to your skin problems, and all you have to do is buy the products they use. It's tempting, right?

When it comes to social media, where everyone seems to be an expert, it's easy to get lost in a maze of skincare advice. It's like searching for buried treasure without a map — confusing and frustrating.

Does anyone really hold the secret to perfect skin? Is there a magical elixir hiding in plain sight? The honest truth: Skincare isn't a one-size-fits-all game, and achieving that enviable glow isn't as simple as a single product or an overnight miracle.

"Everything is out there on TikTok, but for many trends, the data is in its infancy and we don’t have the studies to show that anything is a magic bullet," says Hackensack Meridian Health dermatologist Alexis Young, M.D.

So, how can you really glow from within? What advice can you rely on to make a difference in the health and appearance of your skin? 

Nutrition for Better Skin

The first step to nurturing your skin from within is taking stock of the food on your plate. While the usual suspects like fruits and vegetables are often praised, there's a cast of lesser-known heroes, high in antioxidants, that can do wonders for your skin.

According to Dr. Young, the right nutrients can significantly impact the way your skin looks and feels. Antioxidants, in particular, are great for the skin. They work by combating the free radicals that can lead to premature aging and skin damage.

To give your skin the benefits of antioxidants, make sure these foods are in your diet:

  • Grapes, particularly red and purple ones, are packed with resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps protect against UV damage and fights the signs of aging.
  • Blueberriescontain antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, which help boost collagen production and fight skin aging.
  • Dark chocolate is rich in flavonols, which can protect your skin from UV damage and improve its hydration and thickness.
  • Green tea is loaded with polyphenols that combat inflammation and reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Stress and Skin Health

The second part of nurturing your skin from within involves how you feel. Your skin reflects more than just what you apply or consume. It's a mirror to your well-being. When life cranks up the stress levels, your skin can bear the brunt of it.

"Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can rev up oil production in your skin, making it more prone to breakouts," says Dr. Young. Those high cortisol levels create the perfect environment for acne flare-ups and a poor complexion.

Stress can also zap your energy and motivation, making you less likely to practice a healthy skincare routine. When life gets chaotic, neglecting your skin's needs might become the norm.

Managing your stress in a healthy way can benefit your skin. When you feel overwhelmed or burnt out, use these tried-and-true stress-relief tactics:

  1. Deep breathing: Inhale deeply, filling your lungs, and then exhale slowly. This simple practice calms your nervous system and lowers cortisol levels, giving your skin a break from stress.
  2. Exercise: Whether it's a brisk walk, yoga, or a dance party, exercise releases endorphins, lowers stress, and boosts blood circulation like a mini-spa day for your skin.
  3. Meditation and mindfulness: Focusing on the present moment lowers stress levels, giving your skin the peace it craves.

Skincare Secrets You Can Count On

What else can be both relaxing and good for your skin? A healthy, consistent skincare routine. It’s a smart idea to make your skincare regimen a soothing ritual and a moment of peace in your day. 

When thinking about what your skincare routine should include, Dr. Young suggests prioritizing these items and topical ingredients:

Retinoids and Antioxidants

One of the best things you can do for your skin is apply products that contain retinoids. Think of them as a secret weapon in the battle against aging.

“Retinoids are the result of decades of research distilled into a single ingredient,” says Dr. Young. “They stimulate collagen production, reduce fine lines and enhance skin texture.”

  • Use skincare products like retinol creams, which contain a milder form of retinoid that's suitable for most skin types. 
  • Pair retinoids with antioxidants for the best results.

"Antioxidants are non-negotiable in your skincare regimen," advises Dr. Young.


Another non-negotiable is sunscreen. Whether it’s a moisturizer that contains sunscreen, a makeup setting mist with a minimum of SPF 30, or even a color-correcting (CC+) cream with SPF — it all helps. This is true even if you don’t plan to be outside, or if the sky is overcast.

Indoor light, particularly visible and infrared light, can cause skin damage by producing free radicals and triggering oxidative stress. This can lead to premature aging and hyperpigmentation on your skin. But sunscreen creates a barrier that shields your skin from potentially harmful wavelengths and helps it avoid damage.

As you look for skincare products that contain retinoids, antioxidants, and sunscreen, keep your skin type and unique skin issues in mind. If you're new to retinoids, start with a smaller dosage and gradually increase it as your skin develops tolerance.

Important note: When using retinoids, it's extra important to apply sunscreen because retinoids can make the skin more vulnerable to UV rays. Always follow the product instructions. Consult with a dermatologist if you have any doubts or concerns about incorporating new products or ingredients into your skincare routine.

If you want radiant skin, lean on evidence-based facts — the kind of wisdom that dermatologists have spent years researching and sharing with their patients. Experts like Dr. Young have done the heavy lifting for you by sifting through the science and separating fact from fiction. Take their advice — not the opinions of social media influencers.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


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