Dull Skin: What Causes it and How to Treat it

Dull skin is one of those pesky little skin concerns that starts to pop up as we age. The good news is, dull skin is not permanent nor difficult to get rid of. All you really have to do is implement a few lifestyle and skincare recommendations and you should be on your way to glowing, luminous skin.

What is Dull Skin? 

The term "dull skin" is pretty self explanatory, but just to make sure we're on the same page about what it is, here's a more technical definition: Dull skin is characterized as skin that lacks radiance, is flat or lackluster in appearance, and tends to have a rough or bumpy texture. Unlike healthy, glowing skin which is fully hydrated and reflects the light evenly, dull skin often has a less healthy looking, uneven skin tone or texture that does not reflect the light evenly.

Dull skin: what is it and how to treat it

What Causes Dull Skin?

Dull skin is caused by a buildup of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, causing a greyish, slightly bumpy, lackluster look. Dead skin cell buildup can be a product of dry skin, damaged skin, or slow cell turnover rate. Dull skin typically starts to happen as we get older, because our skin cell turnover rate reduces as we age. When we’re younger, our skin naturally sheds dead skin cells every two weeks, and when it does, new, fresh skin cells come to the surface as the old, dead skin cells get sloughed off.

Besides that, there are plenty of other factors that contribute to creating this skin concern. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of having dull skin.

5 Common Causes of Dull Skin:
  1. Dehydration: Not drinking enough water causes your skin to become dehydrated which consequently creates dull, dry skin. Drinking plenty of water will help boost hydration from below your skin’s surface and will make your skin light and glowy.
  2. Lack of moisturizer: If your skin is already on the dry side, then skimping out on moisturizer can really dry you out and dull your skin. Just like drinking lots of water, applying a hydrating moisturizer twice a day will help hydrate your skin while also protecting your skin’s delicate top layer.
  3. Dryness: Because dry skin can quickly turn into dull and lifeless skin, the cold, dry winter months are especially harsh for this skin concern. In the winter, cold outdoor weather, harsh winds, and rain can strip the skin of its natural, moisturizing oils. Be sure to drink plenty of water, apply a hydrating moisturizer, avoid using hot water to wash your face, and invest in a humidifier.
  4. Tobacco use: Smoking tobacco causes premature aging and premature aging can cause dull skin. This is because smoking can impair the production of collagen and can actually degrade the elastic fibers and connective tissue in your skin that make our skin taught and plump.
  5. Aging: As we age, our skin cell turnover rate slows down, which means there tends to be more dead skin cell build-up on the surface of the skin. Excess dead skin cell build-up = dull skin!

what causes dull skin?

How to Treat Dull Skin

The good news about preventing dull skin is that all you really need to do is exfoliate, hydrate and be gentle with it. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that, but stick to the basics and you should be dull skin-free.  

6 Ways To Treat Dull Skin:
  1. Use a chemical or physical exfoliant: The best way to maintain glowing, healthy skin is to get your exfoliation on! Exfoliating is incredibly effective at shedding dead skin cells and unclogging pores. It also helps to smooth and polish your skin, decreasing the appearance of fine lines and evening out your skin’s texture. This can help to plump up the skin, making it look younger, smoother, and healthier. Plus, over time, regular exfoliation can increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production.

But wait! Before you go out and purchase any old exfoliator, there’s some information you need to know. There are two different types of exfoliation: Chemical and Physical!

Chemical Exfoliators: Chemical exfoliators contain gentle acids that remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to make way for new, healthy skin cells. They also dissolve the sludge of dead skin cells and sebum that clog pores and create blemishes. Some gentle, common chemical exfoliators include alpha hydroxy acids like mandelic, lactic, and azelaic or a low concentration retinoid. Almond Clear's Level 1 Serum is a great option!

Physical Exfoliators: Physical or “manual” exfoliators are scrubs that contain a type of rough or bead-like material. These small, rough beads are rubbed against the skin to slough away dead skin cells and remove the grime that sinks into your pores. The most common forms of physical exfoliators are washcloths, skincare brushes, sponges, gloves or anything else abrasive that rubs against your skin.

NOTE: If you have acne prone or sensitive skin then DO NOT use a physical exfoliator. This abrasive scrub can further irritate your skin, causing more blemishes to appear.

      2.  Be gentle: It’s super important to wash your face daily, but you really don’t need to scrub your skin harshly. All you need to do is gently rub a damp washcloth onto your skin with a little bit of cleanser.

      3.  Use lukewarm water: Although we all like a nice hot shower from time to time, hot water actually strips the skin of its natural oils, which can cause dryness and irritation, which then can cause dull skin. That is why it’s best to use lukewarm water when cleansing your face or showering.

      4. Vitamin C Oil: Vitamin C oil has sprung to popularity in recent years, and for good reason! Vitamin C is notorious for brightening the skin and fading acne scars but it does so much more than that. This antioxidant packed serum can improve dull skin texture and tone, reduce signs of aging, fade dark marks and hyperpigmentation, hydrate and brighten skin, increase collagen production, and can even provide anti-inflammatory effects.

      5. Moisturize twice a day: Moisturizing twice a day can repair and protect the skin barrier. It also provides extra hydration to the skin which is necessary for combatting dry, dull looking skin. If you have acne prone skin, it’s best to choose a moisturizer that’s non-comedogenic and oil-free. Almond Clear’s Soothing Daily Moisturizer is a great option! 

      6. Wear SPF every day: Wearing sunscreen every single day, (even if it’s rainy and overcast outside) prevents UV-induced damage, including hyperpigmentation, aging brown spots, and rough, dull skin. SPF is incredibly important for maintaining an even skin tone and healthy, youthful complexion.

how to treat dull skin

Final Thoughts

The good news about dull skin is that it can GO AWAY!! Even though dull skin is much more common as we age, we do not have to be stuck with this skin concern for life. Be sure to follow these tips and you should be on your way to a dull skin-free life.


Like what you read? Want to chat about skincare with people who have the same skin concerns as you? Join our Facebook Group- Almond Clear Skincare Support.

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