What is dull skin and what are the causes?


As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain radiant, fresh skin, no matter how many measures you take in your daily skincare routine. Youthful, smooth, plump and radiant skin doesn't last forever in many cases, especially with decades of sun exposure. It also becomes much more expensive to use the products and treatments that can help maintain a healthy-looking complexion.


And since there are so many skin conditions that seem to come with age, it can be difficult to know exactly what's going on with your skin when things get out of hand. Of course, there are typical problems like fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of elasticity, but there's also a less commonly discussed skin problem: dull skin.


It's one of those skin problems that can settle over your complexion without you having any idea what's going on or how to fix it.


Luckily for you, in this article, we will get to the bottom of the dull skin problem, including causes, prevention and treatment.


Read on to learn how to deal with dull skin.

What is dull skin?


If you've ever taken a look in the mirror and noticed that your skin has a yellow or brown tint, you may be dealing with dull skin.


Dull skin is when the natural complexion of the skin changes. This typically occurs in fair skin and is related to aging and constant sun exposure.


For people with pale or rosy skin, dull skin looks more yellow. For people with an olive skin tone, dull skin can appear tan. For darker skin tones, this condition is less common. In addition to discoloration, dull skin tends to be dry, flaky and uneven.

What is the cause of dull skin?


Dull skin can occur naturally due to aging, overexposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays, and poor skincare habits. There are also a number of health conditions that can cause dull skin.


One of the most common causes is anemia.


Iron deficiency anemia leads to inadequate oxygen supply to the rest of the body, including the skin, and can result in a pale complexion or dull skin.


Vitamin deficiencies, smoking and poor diet are also be possible causes of dull skin. Other known factors include dehydration and stress. In some cases, dull skin may also be genetic.

Is dull skin preventable?


Preventing dull skin involves having healthy habits, including: a proper diet, enough sleep and adequate hydration. Quitting smoking should be a no-brainer for starters. It has no positive effect on your skin (or body) and ages you much faster.


Basic skincare habits are important too like cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Maintaining these healthy skin habits is the first step to a solid skincare routine. Removing dirt, grime and oil is essential for glowing, healthy skin. Proper cleansing is so important that even if you only have five minutes, it should be a top priority.


Serums, eye creams and moisturizers (formulated for your skin type, whether it's a combination, oily or dry skin) help address specific skin concerns and lock in moisture as a protective shield for the skin. Even if your skin doesn't appear to be dry, it still needs a protective layer of hydration. If you don't use moisturizer, the skin barrier will weaken and become more vulnerable to the external stressors that make it dull.


And most importantly, don't forgo sunscreen. No matter what the weather forecast, if you're going to be outdoors, you need to put on sunscreen. The main "duty" of sunscreen is to prevent sun damage that can lead to cancer but also ages the skin rapidly. We recommend using natural sunscreen to ensure comprehensive protection without polluting the environment. But even if you choose one over the other, make sure your complexion is protected from harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Treatment options for dull skin


There are ways to treat dull skin if its already taken hold for you. In addition to the steps above, ensure that you exfoliate regularly. Exfoliation works wonders for hyperpigmentation. Exfoliation promotes cell turnover, removing dead, scarred and discolored skin cells to expose new healthy ones. Your skin naturally sheds dead skin cells, but you can support this process by exfoliating at home about 1-2 x per week, and consider a professional chemical peel a couple of times a year.


Exfoliation is key to getting rid of dull skin, but we also recommend adding brightening ingredients like vitamin C and retinol to your skincare routine. Vitamin C is best used in the morning, because it is provides great antioxidant protection underneath your sunscreen. Retinol is best added to your evening skincare routine. Retinoids are real powerhouses when it comes to addressing a whole host of skin concerns, such as clearing clogged pores, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and increasing cell turnover to correct skin discoloration. If you've tried all of the above without positive results, you should see your dermatologist.