Everything Is Illuminated
"The wrinkle thing has been beaten to death," says Dr. Zoe Draelos, a dermatologist and vice president of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). "In the U.S., we've been late to the party, but in Asia, the quest for clear skin has been going on for a while," agrees Los Angelesbased dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban. Not all cultures take the pursuit of complexion perfection as gospel, but there's one thing on which we now agree: A youthful complexion isn't just smooth; it's also even-toned, which is the skin characteristic we most covet, according to recent Procter & Gamble research.
When we're young, specialized cells called melanocytes pump out a steady flow of pigment that reaches the skin's surface, supplying an even tone. With age, melanocytes decrease, and the ones left over tend to cluster, so pigment is spread less evenly. What's a woman in search of radiance to do? "You have to use topical products that help block melanin production to brighten," explains cosmetic chemist N'kita Wilson. Fortunately, enlightenment comes in many forms and from many places.