Speaking from a Chinese Medicine point of view,  the brightness of skin is  a function of the Yin and Yang in ideal balance.  The Yang is the ‘brightness’ principle, the movement, glow, life of the skin.  The Yin is the moisture, fullness component – that informs and overlays the Yang to give it body; even out and ‘filter’ the warmth that attends the brightness so it does not appear harsh red or uneven. ..

That’s the theoretical part! In terms of practical application:

  1. It is essential to coddle the pH balance of the skin’s surface by using cleansers that are not too harsh – generally, too alkaline.  Skin requires a pH of around 5.5. The best way to do this is to use a creamy facial cleanser.   If residue remains that you just can’t stand, swipe it off with a pH balanced toner.  Most clear, foaming cleansers or soaps are too harsh, even if you have oily skin.
  2. Exfoliate.  Skin that is less bright than you’d like if often so at least partly because it has a layer of dead or dying skin cells and debris on the surface.  These can damp down the skin’s natural glow, and can also stick to the skin long enough to make their way back into the pores, where they cause clogs (whiteheads, blackheads, comedones).   Exfoliation is a really Yang thing to do – gets the blood flow going to bring nutrients to the skin too.
  3. Keep skin calm and well-hydrated.  Moisturize your skin.  Almost all skin can benefit from this.  It is untrue that skin coated with moisture cannot ‘breathe’.  Your skin is an organ, and breathes like every other organ in your body: via your blood.  That is the blood’s JOB, to breathe for your organs.  Its doing a great job for your liver, you heart, your pancreas – they’re fine, aren’t they??  Its doing a great job for your skin too, and in the same way: from the inside. Putting moisturizer on it, especially at night, will protect it from the environment, not smother it.  Thats the Yin principle in action.  One which contains a brightener such as licorice or lactic acid will help with evening the skin tone even more.
  4. Drink green tea daily.  I’m militant about this, but only because I’m so passionate, and so certain it works.  Green tea is full of a lot of good things your skin and your body need.  You cannot do better than drink it as a daily habit.