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7 reasons your skin looks dull and how to fix it

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by Lauren Hannel

Beauty is subjective, but who doesn’t want healthy, glowing skin? Most of the skincare products out there have the same end goal of leaving you with a radiant complexion… but sometimes it’s not that simple. If you’ve been dealing with a dull skin, there are many lifestyle and environmental factors that can be working against you — but for every problem, we have a solution. Here are some of the most common causes of dull skin and what you can do to get a brighter, more even complexion that leaves you with a beautiful, healthy glow.

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1. Aging

An unavoidable part of life, your skin goes through a lot of changes as you get older. Cellular turnover slows as we age, and this slowdown of cellular renewal means your natural glow is covered by dull, lifeless-looking skin. You also lose collagen as you age, and collagen benefits for skin have a large impact on how it looks: this protein is responsible for giving your skin its firmness and plumpness, which can mean your skin appears duller as you get older.

The Solution:

While we might not be able to stop the clock, there are still steps that you can take to reveal a brighter complexion. The right anti-aging skincare routine can be the difference between a dull complexion and luminous glow, regardless of how old you may be. Try a skin detox to reset the balance: adding in products like a natural retinol serum, vitamin C booster and hydrating face oil all work to reverse things like fine lines, wrinkles, dull skin and other premature signs of aging.

2. Dehydration 


When your skin lacks moisture from dehydration it can appear lifeless and even sunken in — fine lines and wrinkles look more defined, and your complexion will appear dull and uneven.

The Solution:

First, make sure you’re following Beauty Rule #1 and drinking enough water every day. Next, it’s time to restore essential moisture into your skin. Layering a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid onto your skin before applying a nourishing anti-aging face moisturizer will help lock in moisture deep within your skin, leaving you with a noticeably less-dull complexion. And since dehydrated skin can often be confused for dry skin (which requires different remedies), check out our blog post to learn all about skin hydration.

 

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3. Stress

Your mind and skin are connected in more ways than you might think. Chronic stress can exacerbate a ton of skin conditions, like acne or eczema, but it can also make your skin look more lifeless and dull. The increased cortisol levels that come from stress divert blood flow from your skin to other vital organs, leaving you with a duller complexion.

The Solution:

It can be frustrating to hear someone tell you to “just relax,” so why not turn your daily skincare routine into an indulgent self-care ritual? Lightly steaming your skin with a hot towel and adding in a facial massage while applying your moisturizer not only will help you mentally unwind, but have the added benefit of further boosting your skin’s glow.

4. Not exfoliating


If you haven’t been exfoliating recently, there’s a good chance you have a layer of dead skin cells standing between you and a healthy glow. When dead skin cells build up on the surface of your skin, it can dull your complexion — and since every beauty routine needs a good foundation, these dead skin cells make it harder to absorb any serums or moisturizers you may be applying.

The Solution:

Adding a physical or chemical exfoliant into your skincare routine is an easy way to combat dull, dry skin. To find the right routine for you (and make sure you don’t strip your skin of essential natural oils), check out our blog post “How Often Should You Exfoliate?” 

 

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5. Your makeup

When picking out your foundation, did you reach for the mattifying formula? Or do you layer your powders? While most people don’t want to end up with an ultra-shiny face after applying their makeup, going too far in the opposite direction can leave you with very matte, dull and lifeless-looking skin.

The Solution:

Try out some different kinds of makeup to see what works for your skin type and current condition — swapping in a lighter foundation or liquid blush can help to restore a more natural dewiness to your face, letting your glow come through from within. And of course, never forget to take your makeup off at the end of the day! Nothing causes a dull skin (and potentially an annoying acne breakout) quite like makeup that’s been stewing overnight.

6. Not getting enough sleep

Dark circles, sunken-looking skin and a dull complexion: when we’re not taking enough care of ourselves with a good night’s sleep, the residual fatigue usually shows itself on your face. Just like your brain needs its beauty sleep to function properly the next day, your skin also needs time to rest and recharge to perform and look its best.

The Solution:

Getting eight full hours a night might not be realistic for most people, but try to prioritize sleeping as much as you can overnight. Making your bedtime skincare routine a relaxing, enjoyable experience is also a great way to relax, unwind and mentally prepare yourself to comfortably doze off.

7. Environmental factors

Living in the city definitely has its benefits, but an increased exposure to pollution is definitely not one of them. Things like smoke, smog and sunlight make free radicals, aging particles that can have a negative effect on the protective barrier of your skin. When the skin is weakened, it looks less radiant, dull, and maybe even on the grimier side. 

The Solution:

Repeat after me: WASH YOUR FACE. Daily cleansing should be an essential part of your routine, to help you wash away any residual smog or environmental residue from your skin.

 

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Dull skin may be a common occurrence, but the good news is that it’s also usually an easy fix. Just take an assessment of the things you might be doing to make your skin appear dull (not moisturizing, not drinking enough water or not getting enough sleep), and follow our suggested solutions to remedy these issues. Beauty trends come and go, but healthy, bright skin is forever.

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