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  5. What Causes Dull Skin & How To Prevent It?

Does your skin look lacklustre, lifeless or flat? You might be wondering what's causing it! Well, the good news is you can rejuvenate your dull-looking skin and restore its glow with simple solutions.

In this article, we take a closer look at what signs to look out for to identify dull skin, its causes, and ways to fix it.

What Expert Says

“Vitamin C is a great skin-brightening agent. It interacts with tyrosine, thereby reducing pigmentation.”

Abhisikta Hati, Senior Product Development Executive, SkinKraft

What Is Dull Skin?

Dull-looking skin is often characterized as skin that lacks a healthy glow and appears lustreless, tired and rough. Dull skin has an uneven tone and texture, unlike glowing skin.

Common signs include:

  • Dehydrated skin
  • Dark undereyes
  • Skin appears less radiant than usual
  • Skin appears darker than usual

What Causes Dull Skin?

Several factors can contribute to dull skin, ranging from poor lifestyle habits to the accumulation of dead skin cells. Here’s a detailed explanation of each cause:

1. Dead Skin Cells

As you age, your skin starts producing less oil compared to your youth. This can cause dead skin cells to build up on your face, making it appear less radiant, dry and dull. Dry skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis also contribute to the accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, making it dull.

2. Dehydrated Skin

Your intake of water is directly related to the health of your skin. Dehydration decreases the circulation of blood to the skin, thus making it appear pale and tired. So, when you don't drink adequate water, your skin appears dull. You may also experience shadows around your eyes and prominent under-eye circles. In some cases, prolonged dehydration even leads to wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, etc.

3. Diet

An unhealthy diet can steal your skin's radiance. As it is rightly said, you are what you eat. Diet plays an essential role in maintaining your skin health. An unhealthy diet that lacks vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, etc. can make your skin thin, dull and uneven.

4. Lack Of Or Over Exfoliation

Exfoliating your skin one or two times a week is important to remove dead skin cells and dirt that accumulate on its surface. However, exfoliating too often or too hard can eradicate your skin’s protective layer, resulting in loss of moisture. This can also make your skin appear dull.

5. Dryness

If you have dry skin, your skin can appear dull and lifeless. This happens mostly during the winter months when the air lacks moisture or in places with low humidity. However, your skin may also turn dry due to improper diet, ageing or unsuitable skin care products.

6. No Moisturization

Hydration is key to bright, youthful and healthy-looking skin. If you don’t moisturize regularly, your skin will lack hydration and softness, making it dull. (1)

7. Wrong Skincare Products

If your skincare regimen doesn’t contain products that suit your skin type, it can break down your skin barrier. This can be a major cause of dull-looking skin. Using harsh soaps or products formulated with unsuitable ingredients on your face can also result in loss of moisture and essential oils. Often, skincare products that contain harmful ingredients when exposed to your skin, causes clogged pore, redness, freshness, dry skin, etc.

8. Lack Of Sleep

One of the signs of a tired body is dull skin. When you sleep, your skin renews itself. If you have not had enough sleep your skin cells are unable to function properly. You may then develop shadows under your eyes and puffiness. Your skin needs rest as much as your body does.

9. Not Removing Makeup

Cleansing your face is important before you sleep. Sleeping with makeup on leads to accumulation of dirt and debris on your skin surface, clogging your pores and making it appear dull.

10. Sun Damage

Unprotected sun exposure can lead to dry, dull, uneven toned skin. UV rays break down important proteins in your skin and can also damage your skin barrier. Not wearing sunscreen can eventually make your skin look tired, dark and dull. Besides UV rays, your skin is also exposed to pollution every day. Such external aggregators too can result in dullness, discoloration, etc.

11. Age

As you age, your skin naturally becomes thinner and gradually starts showing up spots, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven tone, etc. That's because the natural shedding of skin takes place less frequently thus causing your skin to appear dull, rough. The sebum production also decreases which is why your skin appears dry too.

How Can You Prevent Dull Skin?

1. Choose The Right Skincare Products

Pick a mild, pH balancing cleanser for your face. Your skin’s pH levels lie between 4.7-5.7, making it weakly acidic. We tend to pick foaming cleansers under the assumption that they clean better. But the more the foam, the more alkaline the base of your cleanser. Ask your dermatologist what cleanser is recommended for your skin type.

If you have dry skin, get yourself a cream-based heavy moisturizer. Heavy moisturizers don’t irritate the skin, giving it a glow and making it appear brighter than usual. If you have oily skin, avoid creams and use a light lotion-based or gel based moisturizer to prevent grease. Moisturize as soon as you’re out of the shower and before you hit the bed.

Dull skin prevention process

2. Wear A Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

Most sunscreens protect you only from UVB rays. That’s not good enough. Purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays of the sun. To keep your skin barrier and moisture intact, it is important for you to wear sunscreen every time you step out in the day.

3. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key to achieve healthy, glowing skin. Thus, keeping your skin balanced and moisturized is essential to prevent your skin from appearing dull and dry. Include applying moisturizer during the day and night daily in your skincare routine and use a hydrating serum too to keep your skin smooth, soft and plump. Make sure to drink adequate amounts of water to boost the overall hydration levels of your body.

4. Remove Your Makeup Before Hitting The bed

Every night before you sleep, make sure all your makeup is off. Your skin requires breathing space that cannot be achieved if you have your makeup on all the time. Makeup can also clog your pores if left on for too long.

5. Eat Well

Eat a healthy diet to let your skin glow from the inside. Eating water-rich foods and raw fruits contribute to youthful and healthy-looking skin. On the other hand, a poor diet shows up on your skin. Avoid eating processed & packaged foods, refined sugar, unhealthy oils. Consume foods that support your skin’s health like fresh fruits and vegetables, foods rich in vitamins, minerals, etc.

6. Follow Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Smoking and consuming alcohol regularly can dehydrate your skin, causing it to appear dull and less radiant (2). It can also cause changes in the skin’s texture, pore size and appearance. Following a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, free movement that elevates your heart rate is vital to maintain good skin health. A good exercise routine stimulates your blood flow, vital for maintaining glowing skin. Proper blood circulation will help the nutrients get evenly distributed all over the body thus making your skin bright.

Home Remedies For Dull Skin

1. Lemon

Lemon is rich in Vitamin C and ascorbic acid. It has anti-oxidant and anti-pigmentary properties, making it a good solution to achieve radiant and healthy skin (3).

How To Apply

  • Squeeze out the juice of a lemon into a bowl.
  • Soak a cotton pad in the juice and dab it on your face.
  • Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse off.

How Often To Apply

Applying lime juice twice a week is ideal to help you achieve bright skin. However, lime juice can cause burning sensations. If you experience too much burning, wash it off immediately.

2. Honey

Honey has moisturizing properties that soothe your skin and leave it feeling soft and plump. This can help improve your dull appearance (4).

How To Apply

  • With your fingers, gently rub it into your skin.
  • Leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse off with lukewarm water.
  • You can add a few drops of lemon to your honey face pack for better results.

3. Aloe Vera

This magic ingredient serves a number of purposes to help you achieve healthy skin. Aloe vera inhibits tyrosinase, responsible for hyperpigmentation (5). You can purchase any aloe vera gel from the market. However, extracting it directly from the leaf is recommended for better results.

How To Apply

  • Apply the gel directly to your face for 15-20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with water.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt inhibits tyrosinase activity and is a good option to get rid of dull skin. It contains L-cysteine that is effective in reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.It can bring back the skin’s radiance and glow.

How To Apply

  • Mix it with honey.
  • Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for 10-20 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.

5. Cucumber

Cucumber is a cooling agent, packed with Vitamin C and other compounds that can help brighten your skin (6).

How To Apply

  • Add half a cucumber to a blender.
  • Add one tablespoon of aloe vera gel.
  • Blend the two ingredients to form a paste.
  • Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for 10-20 minutes.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.

Other Ways To Brighten Dull Skin

1. Exfoliate 2-3 times a week

Exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead skin cells and expose new, healthy skin cells beneath them. Using exfoliators with hydroxy acids in them are ideal.

2. Use Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C serum can do wonders for brightening your dull skin, if used regularly.

A powerhouse antioxidant, it neutralizes free radicals and prevents damage thereby reducing acne scars, wrinkles, etc.

Abhisikta Hati, Senior Product Development Executive at SkinKraft says, “Vitamin C is a great skin-brightening agent. Vitamin C on topical application interacts with tyrosinase, the main enzyme responsible for melanin synthesis, thereby reducing pigmentation.”

3. Try A Face Mask

Different face masks serve different purposes. If your skin lacks hydration, get yourself a sheet mask. They are packed with moisture and serums to target specific skin issues, leaving your skin looking radiant and young. If your dull skin is the result of dirt and grime, you can get yourself a deep-cleansing face mask to get rid of the unwanted debris.

Wrapping Up

Dullness in your skin can be due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, poor diet, dehydration, etc. However, you can easily rejuvenate your skin by eating a nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, using the right skincare products, and adopting healthy practices. Indulge in daily exercises like walking, yoga to keep yourself stress-free. Besides, choose natural formulations, suited for your skin type, to achieve glowing skin.

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