By Abby Vinas
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What is Dull Skin?
When you think of great skin, you probably don’t imagine skin that looks dull, tired, or flat. In fact, that’s the complete opposite of what you want. Dull skin refers to a lack of radiance or a tired, uneven skin tone. Let’s review the different causes of dull skin and what you can do to get back your glow, ASAP!
What Causes Dull Skin?
Dull skin can be caused by a variety of factors. Luckily, just a couple of small changes can make big differences in your skin! Once you’ve determined what’s causing your dullness, you’ll be able to make the appropriate changes to your lifestyle and start to see the return of a healthy, vibrant complexion. Keep reading to find out the 7 causes of dull skin and what you can do to fix it.
1. Dead Skin Cells
Skin is constantly shedding dead skin cells, which naturally accumulate over time on the skin’s top layer known as the epidermis. This shedding of dead skin cells makes way for healthy, new skin from the middle layer, the dermis but they can also get in the way of bright, glowing skin and lead to flakiness, dryness, dullness, and clogged pores.
Solution: Exfoliate Regularly
If you're new to exfoliation, you're probably thinking "What does exfoliation do?" Exfoliation improves the health and appearance of your skin by sloughing off dead skin cells and other impurities to reveal softer, smoother skin underneath. Exfoliation is especially useful for those with oily or acne-prone skin because it helps prevent clogged pores, thereby reducing breakouts. Other benefits of regular exfoliation are improved effectiveness of topical skincare products as well as better application of makeup.
The two methods of exfoliation are physical exfoliation and chemical exfoliation. Physical exfoliation refers to the use of facial tools like loofas, brushes, and scrubs to manually scrub away dead skin cells from the epidermis. When it comes to chemical exfoliation, alpha and beta hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and salicylic acid will be your holy grail. You can find salicylic acid in Treat, our vegan acne treatment gel included in our 3-step Clear Skin Routine. Salicylic acid is a powerful ingredient that penetrates deep within pores to unclog them of oil, dirt, and debris. It also helps dissolve the connections between skin cells, promoting exfoliation.
How often you should exfoliate will depend on your skin type. Those with acne-prone or oily skin should exfoliate two times a week to help keep pores squeaky clean and fresh. Those with sensitive or dry skin should exfoliate once a week to avoid the dangers of over-exfoliation, which include skin damage and irritation.
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As we get older, our skin changes; collagen synthesis decreases as well as skin’s elasticity, firmness, and moisture levels. Our natural cell turnover rate also slows down, which leads to a lackluster skin tone and makes dark spots, sun damage, fine lines, and wrinkles more visible.
Solution: Give Bakuchiol A Try
To fight the signs of aging, look for skincare products containing ingredients that help fight fine lines and wrinkles and fade pesky dark spots. Retinol, a synthetic form of vitamin A, is a well-known anti-aging ingredient, although it can cause dryness and irritation. If you’re looking for a vegan alternative, bakuchiol is your best bet. Like retinol, bakuchiol helps increase cell turnover and minimize the appearance of signs of aging.
Keeping your body properly hydrated every day ensures an adequate volume of blood flow to your skin. Without moisture, your skin looks dull and drab. Failing to maintain your body’s proper hydration levels doesn’t only cause dull skin, but can also have unwanted long term effects such as fine lines, sagging skin, and wrinkles.
Solution: Make Hydration a Priority
Make sure your daily skincare routine includes products that help keep your skin hydrated. Look for moisturizers or hydrating serums, such as our Primed & Ready hydrating primer and Drink It Up hydrating serum, that contain ingredients to help soak your skin in moisture. Ingredients to look out for are hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and squalane, among others. Facial oils are also very hydrating and restorative.
But also make sure you’re drinking plenty of water on a daily basis, which helps support good health all around. Make it a daily goal to drink at least 8 glasses of water and see how your skin bounces back!
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4. Poor Diet
Your skin is an organ so what you eat is closely related to its health and appearance. When you aren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables, your body isn’t getting the antioxidants it needs to fight damage from environmental stressors and other threats to your skin. A high sugar intake in particular can lead to inflammation and worsen skin conditions. When you eat a lot of refined and processed sugars and starches, it can increase the breakdown of collagen, resulting in dull skin and accelerated signs of aging.
Solution: Be Mindful of What You Eat
Cut back on sugar and eat foods full of antioxidants, high-quality protein, and essential fatty acids to keep skin looking vibrant and healthy. But we know that making dietary changes can be difficult -- baby steps are perfectly fine! Here are a few small changes you can make to help you ease into improving your diet for the better:
- Satisfy your sweet tooth by snacking on antioxidant-rich berries rather than reaching for sugary desserts like cookies and cupcakes.
- Add vegetables to every meal to help increase the amount of skin-loving antioxidants and nutrients.
- Not a fan of salads? Get your daily recommended amount of fruits and veggies by drinking smoothies! They’re simply a great, tasty way to shift towards a well-balanced diet with plenty of beauty benefits. If you need some inspiration, this green smoothie made with berries, spinach, and lemon is a great source of vitamins A and C.
- Swap soda and other sugary drinks for fruit-infused water. Simply cut up some fruit and herbs and add it to water so you have a healthy, flavorful subsitute to sip on.
5. Environmental Factors
Dirt, dry weather, harsh winds, and sun exposure can have negative effects on the skin, especially if it’s unprotected. Environmental factors such as these can strip the skin of its natural moisture, making it look dull, rough, and flakey.
Another factor to be wary of is pollution, which can come in the form of urban dust, cigarette smoke, and more. Pollution may lead to skin damage as free radicals can cause skin to age prematurely or develop skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne.
Solution: Take Proper Care of Your Skin
If you live in a city or a highly polluted area, make it a habit to detoxify your skin and keep it healthy with the help of a proper skincare routine. Never allow any grime and gook to linger on your skin overnight!
Stay clean with a gentle vegan face wash that gets all the gunk out of every nook and cranny and leaves you feeling fresh. Make sure your skincare routine also includes products containing antioxidants that protect your skin from free radicals and oxidative stress. To help brighten up dull skin, look for products with vitamins C and E, which are a powerful duo when it comes to bringing back your skin’s natural radiance.
Finish up your skincare routine with sunscreen, no matter what time of the year it is! Sunscreen helps shield you from the sun’s harmful rays and decrease your risk of skin cancer. Find one that offers broad-spectrum protection, water resistance, and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
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6. Sleep Deprivation
Your skin works hard to protect itself from a variety of environmental stressors during the day, so it switches to recovery mode at night as you sleep. This is the time when your body releases growth hormones that allow skin cells to repair themselves and regenerate. Lack of sleep hinders this restorative process, negatively affects your skin’s moisture levels, and decreases the amount of blood flow to your face.
Solution: Get Your Beauty Sleep
In case you didn’t know, beauty sleep is real! While you’re asleep, your skin produces new collagen, which is what helps keep skin plump and flexible. Hit the sheets at the same time and snooze for at least 7 hours every night to establish a regular sleeping schedule that will ultimately help maintain a youthful, healthy glow.
Stress can upset your skin in many different ways. When your body is under stress, your cortisol levels increase, which then causes inflammation and worsens any existing skin-related issues like eczema and psoriasis. Stress is also a contributing factor when it comes to acne, but it can be responsible for causing dull skin as well. Stress triggers the body to divert more circulation to the vital organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain, and this loss of circulation to your face leads to tired, dull skin.
Solution: Prioritize Self-Care To Destress
Control your stress levels by making time for a self-care sesh on a regular basis. Do your favorite activity, whether it’s practicing yoga, doing a face mask, sipping on wine in the bathtub, catching up on your favorite show, or going on a walk. Whatever it is that helps you unwind and recharge, make time for it!
Abby Vinas has long been an active member of the holistic health community, advocating in favor of its benefits to both our physical and emotional well-being. Her commitment to leading a healthy lifestyle has made her an authority on self-care practices. Abby is passionate about fitness, nutrition, and proper skincare, and is also an avid lover of avocado toast and dog-petting.