skin care

A Dermatologist’s Guide to Naturally Dewy Skin

By May 12, 2021 No Comments

If you’ve scrolled Instagram in the past couple years, chances are you’ve seen brands and models touting dewy skin. Now, instead of hiding skin’s natural glow with layers of powder and foundation, the beauty world is embracing it. Dewy skin represents more than what’s cool; it’s a sign of nourished, natural skin.

The dewy skin hype is real: The Zoe Report calls glowy skin a cultural phenomenon, and Quartz says dewy skin is an international obsession. There are a lot of dewy-adjacent buzzwords out there that encompass this top skin trend: glass skin, honey skin, cloudless skin, yoga skin. Whatever you want to call it, we just say it’s healthy skin.

But what exactly defines dewy skin?

Dewy skin is radiant, glowing skin that has a natural sheen from light reflecting off its moisturized surface. According to dermatologist Dr. Sheila Krishna, “dewy skin is usually associated with good hydration, and moisture in skin with a good amount of collagen, period.” Essentially, dewy skin is moisturized and firm.

How to get naturally dewy skin

The dewy trend puts skin health at the forefront—a departure from covering up imperfections with makeup. Dewy skin signifies how we treat our bodies as a whole, not just our skin, i.e., diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle.

One approach is to use face highlighter or gloss to get that dewy look, but you can do it without makeup products as well. Keeping our eyes on skin health as the ultimate prize, here’s what to focus on and what to avoid.

Dewy Skin Dos

You don’t need a complicated, exhaustive skincare routine to give your skin a dewy glow. In fact, you can follow just three essential steps. These fundamental skincare treatments will produce healthy skin that glows from within.

The big three: moisturize, protect, treat

To get that glassy glow, use skincare products that promote moisturized, firm skin in your daily skincare regimen. Collagen is responsible for the skin’s firmness. To build up collagen, Dr. Krishna recommends using tretinoin and vitamin C. Hyaluronic acid and niacinamide are excellent moisturizing serums to promote hydration. All of these ingredients contribute to a dewy complexion.

With that in mind, let’s break down the big three.

Moisturize: This is a critical step. You should use a high-quality, hydrating moisturizer in the morning and at night. Hyaluronic acid functions in the body as a kind of moisture magnet, most prominently in the skin, joints, and eyes. Hyaluronic acid face serums or moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid are great for keeping skin hydrated.

In skincare, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 made for topical application. As Dr. Krishna points out, it helps boost moisture in the skin and has a range of other benefits, like smoothing wrinkles, repairing sun-damaged skin, and evening skin tone.

Protect: Using sunscreen daily is crucial for protecting the skin from photoaging due to UV exposure. Over time, extended sun exposure can cause sallow skin, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and a rough or uneven skin texture. Preventing premature skin aging plays a large role in cultivating a dewy skin look and skin health in general. Put on sunscreen of at least SPF 30 in the morning and every two hours while in the sun to provide the necessary protection. Many face lotions and makeups come with sunscreen added; just make sure the SPF is high enough.

Treat: Collagen is a protein in the skin that makes it strong and firm. Collagen production declines with age, but there are ways of restoring it. In addition to protecting the skin from the sun, Vitamin C activates collagen production. Tretinoin, the active retinoid in skincare treatments like Night Shift, can significantly increase collagen production with regular use 1. Plus, tretinoin will gently exfoliate away dead skin cells to ditch dullness and increase the glow factor.

Enhance your skincare routine with this skincare booster

If you want to explore beyond the big three, consider hydrolyzed collagen (HC) to maximize dewiness.

HC is an antioxidant that promotes skin moisture and elasticity by increasing levels of collagen-derived peptides. It also reduces skin aging symptoms, including dryness, sagging, and wrinkles2.

Nutrition

Some of the best vitamins and nutrients for skin health include vitamins E, C, and A; omega-3s; collagen; fiber; and amino acids. Eating a variety of foods that contain a combination of these elements—and limiting sugar, caffeine, and alcohol—will aid you in your dewy skin journey.

For vitamin E, which reduces inflammation, add avocado, salmon, and cashews to your rotation. Beets, citrus fruits, bell peppers, cashews, and cantaloupe are all high in vitamin C, which improves complexion by reducing inflammation, brightening dark spots, and boosting collagen production. Get your Vitamin A—which helps skin glow by facilitating cell production and turnover—from sweet potatoes and cantaloupe.

Omega-3s help with skin elasticity and inflammation, and are found in salmon, cashews, sardines, and chia seeds. Bone broth is a great way to add collagen to your diet. It’s also great for integrating amino acids. While collagen primarily comes from meat, amino acids make up collagen. So for vegan collagen options, check out tempeh, tofu, and legumes, which contain amino acids to support collagen production.

Chia seeds, beets, almonds, oats, split peas, lentils, raspberries, and artichokes are among the high-fiber foods to seek out.

Hydrate

Drinking enough water is good for your health in just about every possible way, including preventing dry skin. As a general rule of thumb, drink eight glasses of water a day for healthy hydration.

Get good sleep

A lack of sleep can show up on your face in the form of dark circles, puffiness, and general signs of aging. Adults should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep a night for good skin and overall health.

Dewy Skin Don’ts

Certain lifestyle factors can have a negative impact on skin health, like smoking, too much sugar in your diet, and uncontrolled stress. Because your inner glow influences your outer glow, making choices for overall health is important. Be conscious of these roadblocks on your path to dewy skin.

But we get it; life happens, and all we can do is try our best. These are recommendations for getting the most out of your skincare efforts for dewy skin. So, be mindful and ultimately do what feels right for you.

Dewy skin at any age

Social media and certain product branding imagery tend to link dewy skin with youth. But as we get older, so does our skin, so dewiness is relative with age. “It’s important to note that dewy is often associated with youth, and in my opinion, beauty does not always have to be youthful. In fact, I think there are different types of beauty for all ages,” says Krishna.

Dewy skin is correlated with skin health, so although wrinkles and loosening of the skin happen over time, fresh, energized, and hydrated skin is always possible, no matter your age.

Got questions? We’re here to help! Feel free to get in touch at support@dearbrightly.com if you want to chat skincare.


  1. Griffiths, C., et al. (1993, August 19). Restoration of COLLAGEN formation In PHOTODAMAGED human skin By Tretinoin (Retinoic Acid): NEJM. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199308193290803
  2. Aguirre-Cruz, G., & Et al. (n.d.). Collagen Hydrolysates for Skin Protection: Oral administration and Topical formulation. Retrieved May 12, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32098294/
Angela Rollins

Angela Rollins

Angela is a health enthusiast who is passionate about taking care of ourselves inside and out. She believes that by prioritizing our wellness, we can feel more confident in our skin. Angela is devoted to making skincare science accessible for all so that you can make educated decisions for your skin’s health.

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