6 Reasons Your Skin Looks Dull, Plus What You Can Do to Restore Radiance

February 12, 2020
By: Jackie Burns Brisman | skincare.com by L'Oréal
6 Reasons Your Skin Looks Dull, Plus What You Can Do to Restore Radiance

We use certain skin-care products and highlighters to give us a lit-from-within, healthy and radiant glow. But, when the middle of winter rolls around, we can be left feeling like no matter what we do or what products we use, our complexions continue to look dull and lackluster. To find out what could be causing our dull skin, we reached out to board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Elizabeth B. Houshmand. Ahead, find six reasons you could be looking less than radiant — and how to get your glow back.


What Causes Dull-Looking Skin? 


“Dull skin is usually used to describe skin that lacks radiance or luminosity, that dewy look we all strive for,” says Dr. Houshmand. She explains that healthy, well-cared for skin normally doesn’t have a dull appearance, so there may be an underlying issue at hand. 


Dull Skin Tone Cause #1: Dull or Dehydrated Skin 


Have you been skipping out on skin hydration? Dry, dehydrated skin lacks the moisture it needs to look luminous. “Dry skin looks parched and loses its radiance,” says Dr. Houshmand. When skin isn’t hydrated, fine lines look more pronounced, skin texture appears and feels rough and skin tone can look lackluster. If you are hoping for bright, dewy-looking skin, you should steer clear of oil-absorbing, mattifying formulas when shopping for makeup and skin care. Make sure to cleanse your face with lukewarm water (too hot of a temperature can strip your skin of good oils) and amp up hydration and brightness with a curated regimen of serums and moisturizers. We recommend the La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C 10% Serum for a dose of brightening and the Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Gel Moisturizer to plump and hydrate the skin. 

Dull Skin Tone Cause #2: Build Up of Dead Skin Cells 


Dr. Houshmand notes that the buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin can contribute to dullness. Just like dry skin, a build-up of dead skin cells can leave the skin looking muted and tired. Make sure to exfoliate weekly to restore a healthy glow and slough away dead surface cells. Incorporating a chemical or physical exfoliant can reveal brighter-looking skin that’s been hiding underneath the dead cells. We suggest the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum

Dull Skin Tone Cause #3: Age 


Unfortunately, dull-looking skin is more likely as we age. As we get older our skin’s natural cell turnover rate slows down. Dr Houshmand notes that this lowered rate of cell turnover can lead to a lackluster skin tone. Aging skin also tends to show more visible sunspots and wrinkles. To help, try incorporating an over-the-counter retinol like the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Adapalene Gel into your routine. 

Dull Skin Tone Cause #4: Poor Diet


Like the age-old adage says, you are what you eat. Certain food and drinks — like alcohol, caffeine or sugar — may contribute to skin looking dull and dehydrated. If you’re skipping out on vitamin-rich fruits and veggies and heading for the chips and dip, it may be time to switch things up. Even if you have a healthy diet, make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to get your glow from the inside out. What’s more, smoking can also cause skin to look dull and sallow.  


Dull Skin Tone Cause #5: Changes in Weather 


Ever notice how your skin can become dry and dehydrated in low-moisture environments? This is because a lack of humidity in the air during winter can cause dry, dull skin. Try adding a humidifier on your desk or in your bedroom. 


Dull Skin Tone Cause #6: Stress and Fatigue 


Whether it’s caused by a never-ending to-do list or a few overwhelming tasks looming on the horizon, stress can affect the skin in a number of ways, including a lackluster complexion. Additionally, not getting enough sleep at night can take away your skin’s chance to renew and refresh. Make sure you’re getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Dr. Houshmand suggests keeping your cell phone and other distractions out of your bedroom, so you can get a good rest every night. 

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