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5 Reasons Your Skin Is Dull (and How to Brighten It)

One of the most common skincare goals is to achieve glowing, dewy skin. Dull, lackluster-looking skin is a concern for so many of us because it can affect anyone - regardless of whether they have dry, oily, or combination skin. 

So, what causes dullness? We’re diving into five of the most common causes of dull skin and (more importantly) what you can do to keep your skin looking healthy and radiant!

young woman with glowing skin


1. Dead skin buildup 

We lose dead skin cells regularly so that new skin cells can develop. However, sometimes our skin has trouble shedding dead cells causing buildup on the skin surface. This can lead to dullness and flakiness. 

How to brighten:
Exfoliating regularly is the secret to getting that glow. It removes dullness-causing dead skin cells and reveals a fresh new layer of glowing skin. It can also help to refine the skin, minimize the appearance of pore and fine lines, and promote a more even skin texture. 

The key thing is to go gentle. If you’re adding exfoliation to your beauty routine for the first time, it’s important to start out slow. Begin by exfoliating once or twice a week and take it from there. You can start exfoliating more frequently depending on how your skin feels. 

 

You can use a mechanical or chemical exfoliator:

Mechanical exfoliators include: scrubs, face masks, exfoliating sponges, or tools. 
Chemical exfoliators include: alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids.

2. Diet

Eating nutrient-dense foods that feed your skin is essential for glowing, healthy skin. Following a balanced diet can help provide your body, mind, and skin with skin-boosting vitamins and minerals. In fact, certain nutrient deficiencies can have a significant impact on your skin. 

Eating low amounts of omega-3s, vitamins A, C, and D, selenium, zinc, and protein can all have an effect on the way your skin appears. 

How to brighten:
Try to increase your healthy fats with omega-rich fish and avocado, eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and of course pile on the greens.

drinking water for glowing skin

3. Dehydration

Most of us already know the importance of drinking enough water. It’s also essential for keeping our skin looking healthy and hydrated. Being constantly dehydrated can result in the skin taking a hit. It can cause fine lines, sagging, and deep wrinkles. 

How to brighten:
Drink up! Try to drink around 8 cups of water per day. You could also try to limit your caffeine, alcohol, and sugary drink intake as these can further dehydrate your skin.

4. Dryness

Dryness tends to be the usual culprit behind dull, lackluster skin. Dry skin can appear flaky, red, and have more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. Dryness typically gets worse during the winter months as the air becomes colder and drier. 

How to brighten:
Add a high-quality serum and moisturizer to your routine. Moisturizing at least twice a day can help to keep dryness at bay. 

Moisturizers can help to support the skin barrier, draw in water to the epidermis, plump up the appearance of skin, and lock in moisture to prevent moisture loss. 

vitamin c hyaluronic acid moisturizer

Serums typically contain potent active ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, resveratrol, alpha-arbutin, and nourishing natural oils. 

Some of these active ingredients, such as vitamin C, resveratrol, and alpha-arbutin also actively work to brighten the skin and can help reduce the appearance of dark spots. This helps your complexion look more even and radiant.  

face moisturizer anti-aging

5. Aging

As we age, our cell turnover gradually becomes slower. This means that our skin doesn't replace dead skin cells with new ones as quickly causing the skin to appear dull and uneven. 

Additionally, mature skin produces less of its natural oils, also known as sebum. While this is great news for breakouts, it also means the skin dries out more quickly and moisture is more easily lost. 

How to brighten:
You can encourage healthy cell turnover by using a physical or chemical exfoliator. And of course: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. 

Using a quality moisturizer with water-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid can help to lock in hydration and prevent the skin from appearing dry and dull. 

A serum is also a must-have to help protect aging skin from the look of dullness. Key ingredients that are thought to have the most potent anti-aging effect include antioxidant-loaded vitamin C, which can help against oxidative stress, and vitamin A derivatives known as retinoids.