When you have dull skin, it often appears sallow, lackluster, even grayish. In other words, your skin is the opposite of glowing. According to board-certified dermatologist Marisa K. Garshick, MD, this is more commonly experienced by aging women. The production of collagen decreases while melanin increases as we get older, a combination that can often lead to the loss of radiance and an uneven skin tone.
That said, getting older is not the only factor that can make your skin look drab. Here’s a list of things that you can actually address:
What Causes Dull Skin?
• Dead skin cells: The skin goes through desquamation where cells are constantly being created and replaced. This process can get disrupted and cells don’t fall off normally. When this happens, these dead skin cells build up and make the face appear flaky and grayish. They can even clog pores and lead to breakouts.
• Too much sun exposure: While sunlight lets our body produce vitamin D, which is essential in building stronger bones, too much exposure to UV rays can cause damage and premature aging. Developing fine lines is one symptom, but dryness and pigmented spots are additional signs to watch out for that make the skin look dull.
• Environmental factors: Top of this list is pollution, which packs in dirt, dust, and grime that can be toxic to your skin. These free radicals can damage your body’s production of collagen, leading to uneven skin tone and texture. Plus, they can block your pores.
• Unmanageable stress levels: Elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, is notorious for creating skin problems like acne. However, it can also have the immediate—and prolonged—effect of turning your skin sallow because of the reduced blood flow to the face.
How Do You Solve Dull Skin Problems?
Fortunately, turning your skin from drab to fab is not impossible. Here are some easy tips you can apply:
• Double down on your skincare routine: Skincare routines don’t have to be complicated; they just need to be consistent. First off, cleanse your face at least twice a day, ideally when you wake up and before you head back to bed. Adopting AM and PM skincare routines can go a long way towards removing free radicals from harming the skin and removing blockage from your pores.
Next, your skin brightening routine needs Vitamin C. It’s a key ingredient in promoting collagen production and inhibiting melanin production, which can combat pigmentation. Fortunately, Vitamin C is not hard to come by in skin care products. It’s in creams, toners, and serums, with serums being the most effective. And when it comes to dead skin cells, exfoliation is the name of the game. Experts recommend doing this at least once a week with glycolic or salicylic acids found in cleansers and exfoliating creams.
• Apply effective sun protection: To prevent sun damage, the solution is clear: you need effective sun protective strategies. This begins with the application of sunscreen at least once a day, regardless of the time of the year. Opt for a product with at least SPF 30 as that is the most effective against UV rays.
Additionally, stash a scarf, a wide-brimmed hat, and a pair of sunglasses in your purse before you go out. The cover-up can help prevent overexposure to the sunlight and keep your skin looking healthy and even.
• Manage your stress well: To improve blood flow, give yourself a facial massage when you’re feeling stressed. You can do this by hand, with a handy tool, or even through the help of a professional.
But what could be even more effective is to find effective ways to manage your stress. Going through the motions of your skin care routine can help you relax, as well as techniques like meditation and exercise. Stress management won’t, of course, be a one-size-fits-all approach, so develop your own methods to avoid stress and give your skin the glow it deserves.
Dull skin may be inevitable with aging, but you can minimize its effects while you’re still young. And if you can keep these practices up, you might just hold on to that radiance as you get older!