We’ve all been unhappy with our skin at one time or another. And while there are numerous skin issues and changes we can’t control, dull skin is easily transformed into healthy, glowing skin with just a few lifestyle and skincare tweaks.
What Is Dull Skin?
Dull skin is a term we use when skin doesn’t look like its normal, healthy-self. Dull skin typically has a loss of volume, suppleness, softness, color, elasticity — that healthy glow we all love so much no longer shines through. Skin can also appear tired, similar to what happens to your skin when you get sick.
What Causes Dull Skin?
There are many factors that can cause dull skin. In most cases it’s not just one, rather a combination of several. Below we explore some of the most common causes for dull skin and offer simple ways to reignite your skin’s natural glow.
Dull Skin Caused By Aging
Let us first say that we would like to shift the narrative around the topic of aging. Growing old is a beautiful journey and a privilege. As we gracefully navigate the seasons of life, our skin changes, requiring us to give it a bit more TLC than than we did in our younger years. This is because cellular turnover decreases, which means the natural shedding of skin happens less frequently. This can causes skin to appear dull, feel rough and have an uneven skin tone and texture. Collagen production and elastin levels also decrease, making fine lines and wrinkles more visible. Skin can also become increasingly dry due to a decrease in sebum production, aka oil production — a major reason to ditch your face cream and upgrade to a facial oil.
When skin becomes dull due to the natural aging process, you want to make sure you’re caring for your skin properly. This doesn’t mean you need an 18 step ritual. A simple skincare routine is key to glowing skin. It can be as easy as cleansing at night before bed, exfoliating and masking weekly and applying a healthy moisturizer AM and PM. To see what a simple and effective weekly skin care routine looks like, check out our simple 5 step weekly skincare routine. It helps to use a nutrient-rich facial oil, as well as products with active ingredients that help strengthen and rejuvenate the skin. Every product you apply to your face should consist of healthy ingredients with direct skin benefits. Some of our favorite glow-inducing skincare products include Botanic-A, a natural retinol alternative featuring Bakuchiol and Arctic-C, a vitamin C powered brightening serum.
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Dull Skin Caused By Congested Skin
Congested skin can put a damper on your natural glow and cause skin to look dull. Congested skin is a result of dead skin building up on the surface of skin. When you do not exfoliate regularly or use products like face masks that help remove surface build up, it can lead to clogged pores, blemishes, rough skin texture and uneven skin tone. Over time the accumulated congestion overshadows your healthy glow, causing your skin to look dull.
Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Exfoliate. Did we say exfoliate? Consistent weekly face exfoliation is one of the most underrated skin care steps and is unfortunately often completely skipped. However, this is one skincare treatment with the most immediate and long-term results for helping dull skin reclaim its glow. Exfoliation is prized for its ability to instantly rejuvenate, visibly brighten, fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation and soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles. As with any skincare treatment, just don’t over do it. We recommend exfoliating 1-3 times per week with a natural exfoliating treatment that does not cause photosensitivity. We love our superfood facial exfoliant Polish for its glow-boosting effect on skin without the negative side-effects associated with exfoliating acids (especially important to be aware of during the summer months when we spend more time in the sun). Our pro-tip is to place a warm, damp towel over your face for a few minutes, before you exfoliate. This will help to loosen the hardened oil and debris clogging pores, allowing your exfoliation treatment to work better.
Dull Skin Caused By Unhealthy Diet
When your diet lacks nutrients or consists mainly of processed foods, it can show up on your skin. A diet lacking whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and healthy fats leads to premature signs of aging along with clogged pores, thin skin, and dark circles.
Rejuvenate your skin from the inside! Your skin Is one of the last organs to receive nutrients. This is why it’s so important to eat a healthy diet rich in organic, whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s equally as important to cut our processed food, refined sugar and unhealthy oils. A simple trick to making sure you’re eating healthy is to avoid buying packaged foods and sticking to the outer aisles of your grocery store, where they keep fresh food — helping you avoid temptation. We recommend reading up on the basics of an anti-inflammatory diet to help you choose foods that support skin health. Vitamin supplements do not replace the benefits of eating a healthy diet. You also want to make sure that your skincare products contain healthy ingredients rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This will ensure your skin receives nutrients from the inside and topically.
Dull Skin Caused By Sedentary Lifestyle
One of the unfortunate side-effects of our modern world is the lack of movement in our daily life. Even during our free time, many of us can find it hard to break from the comfort of our sedentary routine. This not only affects the quality of our health, but also our skin. When we exercise daily, even in the form of walking, the body releases toxins and stress hormones. Exercise also helps to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow, all helping to rejuvenate your skin. An added bonus is that exercise can help reduce puffiness and dark circles under eyes, and restore radiance back to dull skin.
First and foremost, at the bare minimum make sure to get your 10k steps in daily. Incorporate more active exercise 2-3x per week, meaning your elevating your heart rate and breaking a healthy sweat. We love the skin, health and stress benefits of Yoga. A post-workout glow is an instant fix to dull skin — and the feel-good endorphin rush is one that keeps you coming back for more. A win-win for bright, glowing skin and optimal health.
Dull Skin Caused By Dry Skin
Dry skin can occur at any age and for various reasons. The most common causes include aging, diet, dehydration, environment and simply not using a properly formulated skincare product. Not drinking enough good quality H2O can cause you to become dehydrated, which not only leads to dry skin but can also make fine line and wrinkles more apparent.
There are a few tried and true ways to revive dull skin caused by chronic dryness. First, if your external environment is dry, look into getting a humidifier for your bedroom while you sleep, preferably an evaporative humidifier. Second, moisturize your skin from the inside by drinking plenty of filtered water and eating healthy fats found in foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, sardines, and olives. Lastly, make sure you replenish moisture topically, by using a facial oil rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
Dull Skin Caused By Questionable Skin Care Ingredients
There’s only so many harmful ingredients your skin can take before it starts to show signs of distress. The skincare industry is infamous for false promises and questionable formulas. Unfortunately, one of the easiest ways to increase profits is by selling greenwashed formulas loaded with cheap, sometimes harmful ingredients. Even the most innocent looking ingredients like fragrance or perfume can be harmful to your skin and health (read The 5 Dos and Don’ts When Buying Natural Skincare to learn more). When skin is exposed to harmful ingredients, it can cause imbalances that can show up in the form of dull skin, excess oil production, clogged pores, blemishes, redness, rashes and chronically dry skin.
Choose your skincare products the way you would choose your food. Fresh, organic, and from the earth, as much as possible. That doesn’t mean everything synthetic is bad, just keep most of your products as natural as possible. We also recommend avoiding products that contain fragrance, parfume, photosensitizing essential oils such as lemon, or any formula that smells strong enough to be a perfume.
How To Brighten Dull Skin Naturally
1. Eat Nutrient-Rich Whole Foods.
Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! Replace junk food with whole fruits and vegetables. Healthy skin starts within, first and foremost. Topical products should never play the leading role in taking care of your skin. A holistic approach to skin is the best way to keep skin in tip-top shape and enjoy a healthy glow now and for years to come.
2. Use Natural Face Masks Weekly.
Face masks are targeted treatments formulated to give skin an instant boost and glow, making them the ideal solution to dull skin. We love our charcoal face mask Reborn for its rejuvenating and brightening benefits or our Detox clarifying mask for its pore clearing, blemish-busting effect.
3. Sweat More.
Breaking a healthy sweat during a workout helps our skin to expel bacteria, dirt, oil and and other impurities that clog pores and cause skin to look dull. It helps us release endorphins — hormones that make us feel amazing post-workout and keep our skin happy. A sweat-inducing workout also increases circulation and oxygen levels, promoting a healthy glow from the inside.
4. Stress Less.
Chronic low-level stress is one of the most common forms of stress. It’s extremely taxing to our health and skin. Which is why we recommend incorporate regular relaxation techniques into your week, like meditating and yoga. These not only help to manage stress, but also increase blood flow and oxygen levels, which naturally promote a healthy glow.
5. DIY At-Home Face Masks.
Yogurt and a raw honey are two of our favorite DIY at-home face mask ingredients. Yogurt contains lactic acid which helps to dissolve dead skin cells and soften skin. Honey gently exfoliates and contains a wealth of skin beautifying nutrients. It’s also an amazing natural solution for acne-prone skin. Leave your DIY face mask on for 15-30 minutes and enjoy the post-mask glow!
6. Let Your Skin Breath.
Go bare. We’re talking about your face. We’re big advocates of giving your skin a break from all skincare and makeup products. Pick one day per week to abstain from all products. Let your skin function on its own and recalibrate.
7. Upgrade Your Face Cream To A Nutrient-Rich Face Oil.
Our skin produces sebum aka oil to keep skin moisturized. So why wouldn’t we use a product that resembles our body’s own moisturizer? Many botanical oils are biomimetic, meaning they closely resemble the oil our skin produces. Creams on the other hand are not, and often times loaded with cheap fillers and harsh preservatives that can cause skin to become congested and appear dull. Organic face oils are nature’s perfect moisturizer, without unnecessary ingredients. They also contain nutrients and antioxidants that help revive dull skin and keep dry skin a thing of the past. And if you’re concerned about oily skin, clogged pores or blemishes, a properly formulated, high-quality facial oil can be highly beneficial in helping to manage these imbalances. Don’t buy into the oil-free propaganda, that only applies to cheap, highly-processed oils.
8. Give Yourself A Facial Massage.
We love a good lymphatic face massage for its numerous health and skin benefits. It helps to lift, firm and de-puff. Yes, please! Gua Sha is another great massage technique that’s been around for centuries. If that’s too much effort, use a jade roller to massage your facial oil into skin and watch your skin glow with gratitude as you stimulate circulation and feed your skin pure botanical goodness.
9. Exfoliate Weekly.
Sloughing away dead skin cells weekly will revive dull skin instantly. Exfoliation is a vital step in keeping skin smooth and radiant. It also helps to keep clogged pores and blemishes at bay. Looking for a brighter, more even-looking skin tone? Look no further than weekly exfoliation. This one simple step is truly game-changing for the health of your skin.
10. Spend More Time In Nature.
Breath deep. Relish in the clean air and bathe in the vitamin D rich sunshine! Be adventurous and take your socks off. Let your bare feet touch the earth. This is called “earthing” and it helps to neutralize free radicals. Hug a tree for good measure. Trust us, the post-nature glow will last you through the week!
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Root Science nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any skincare, nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program. The views and products expressed are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Image Sources: Green Plant in White Bathroom via Nugroho Wahyu