The most important determinant of younger looking skin is how smooth it is. The smoother your skin, the younger it looks. And everyone wants younger looking skin. But what is it about smooth skin that makes it appear younger?
Younger looking skin appears bright, clear, radiant, and smooth. But the most important quality is smooth… the smoother it is, the younger it looks. That’s because smooth surfaces reflect light and it’s reflected light that makes your skin bright, radiant, and glowing. If we take smooth to an extreme, we’re thinking of a mirror, a piece of glass, or even the sterling silver serving tray grandma gave you… but only after it’s been polished.
Your skin is pretty smooth until your early 20’s, but then starts to accumulate mounds of dulling clogging dead cells that make your skin rough… and rough skin can’t glow. Actually, no rough textured surface can glow or appear bright. The most effective way to recapture smooth, glowing, younger looking skin after your 20’s is with glycolic exfoliation, but that’s the subject of a different episode.
To understand why smooth surfaces reflect light brightly, imagine yourself bouncing a ball. When you bounce it on a smooth sidewalk, it comes right back up to you. But if it hits a crack in the sidewalk or a pebble… What happens? It veers off in a random direction. Light rays behave the same way.
When light rays hit a smooth surface, they all reflect in a predictable single focused beam so your eye sees all the rays and the surface looks brighter. So when skin is smooth, light reflects brightly and glows… Voila! Younger looking skin!
But when skin is rough, it can’t glow because when the light hits any rough surface… for example mounds of dead cells on your skin… the light is scattered in thousands of different directions so the light your eye sees is… and I’m making this up… only 1 % of the light. So the surface looks dull, and in the case of your skin, tired looking and older.
Roughness and unevenness in your skin’s surface is normal as you age. Exfoliation in adults at any age makes your skin smoother so it looks brighter and therefore younger. Chemical exfoliation works much better than physical exfoliation and the gold standard for chemical exfoliants is… glycolic!