We all want our skin to radiate vitality and beauty, with a lively glow that brightens any room. Okay, maybe looking like a human lightbulb is a bit ambitious, but at the very least, no one wants to struggle with dull skin.
So what can you do if your skin is looking a bit worse for wear? There are plenty of reasons you might have dull skin, so there are several ways to brighten up your complexion. Try on these tips for size.
1. Cleanse Properly
It’s not pleasant to think about, but as you go about your day, your skin becomes a resting place for dirt and debris. Yuck. If your skin isn’t getting a nice cleanse often enough, it can be harder to break through that buildup, and you end up with a layer of unseen debris and leftover makeup dulling your skin.
Be sure to use a facial cleanser twice every day to refresh your skin. When you’re washing your face at night, if you’ve worn makeup that day, make sure you use makeup remover before using your cleanser. It’s a common mistake to assume your cleanser will be able to clear away makeup and everything else in one wash.
2. Get Into an Exfoliating Routine
While each person’s dull skin may be different, exfoliating is usually the most effective technique for brightening your complexion. That’s because the most common cause of dull skin is a layer of dead skin cells on your surface skin. Your skin is constantly creating new skin cells and shedding old ones, but sometimes that cell shedding isn’t as smooth as we would hope.
Exfoliating is a way to clear away those dead skin cells so your nourished and nurtured skin below can shine through. It’s generally ideal to exfoliate twice per week, but not more frequently because over-exfoliation can damage your skin’s moisture barrier, leading to dryness and irritation.
Physical Exfoliants vs Chemical Exfoliants
Before we move on to the next tip, let’s pause a moment to chat about the types of exfoliation. There are two main methods to know: physical and chemical exfoliants .
Physical exfoliants have a slightly rough texture, so as you massage them onto your skin (massage, not scrub), they buff away those dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. It’s a lot like sanding wood…but please, absolutely do not use sandpaper on your skin.
Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, use acids to get the job done. Their active ingredients break down the bonds that hold the dead skin cells to the surface of your skin, clearing away that unwanted layer to expose your bright, youthful skin below.
Should you use a physical or chemical exfoliant? Both have their pros and cons, but it depends on your expertise. Physical exfoliants can be helpful for people with some skin care knowledge and experience because you can customize the pressure you use on them, giving yourself the exfoliation you need for your skin’s dullness and sensitivity. For beginners and people with sensitive skin, though, chemical exfoliants are more controlled and predictable, so they’re typically a safer bet.
3. Step Up Your Hydration
Dryness is another major contributor to dull skin, so to brighten your skin, you need to hydrate inside and out. For starters, load up on water. You’ve probably had every doctor tell you to drink more water, but it’s true – most of us drink far less than we should. At the same time, use a facial moisturizer twice per day. This enhances your skin’s moisture barrier so all that delicious hydration stays in your skin instead of evaporating away.
4. Nix Nicotine
If you smoke (or vape with nicotine, use chewing tobacco, or use other forms of nicotine), or even if you’re just a fan of the occasional cig on a night out, this one will be a toughie. No matter how you get it, nicotine restricts your blood vessels, and that reduces the blood flow to your skin. Blood is the ultimate highway that brings oxygen and nutrients to make your skin look bright and youthful, so when your skin is running low on those essentials because of limited circulation, it shows in the form of a duller complexion. The less nicotine you use, the happier your skin will be.
5. Harness the Power of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the ultimate powerhouses when it comes to skin care ingredients. It’s a natural skin brightener, so if you’re struggling with dull skin, it should become your best friend. Vitamin C also happens to do an excellent job of evening out your complexion by reducing age spots and other types of hyperpigmentation. Start adding a vitamin C serum into your skin care regimen to give your skin a richer and more even tone.
6. Get Your Blood Pumping
Remember that tip about how nicotine dulls your skin because it limits the blood flow to your skin? Your skin could be dull because of limited circulation even if you don’t smoke or use other forms of nicotine, because there are many reasons why your blood flow can be a bit lackluster.
A key way to boost your circulation is to get more exercise in your routine. You don’t have to become a full-blown athlete – just aiming for half an hour of exercise per day, along with standing and moving around every hour or two if you’re sitting for long periods of time, can work wonders in enhancing your circulation (and brightening your skin as a result).
7. Try a Product with Retinol
You’ve probably heard of retinol, and you might even know that it’s considered one of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients in skin care. That’s true, but it also has a great impact on dull skin. Retinol’s top superpower is encouraging healthy cell turnover, so it helps your body produce vivacious new skin cells and shed those dead skin cells on the surface for an overall brighter complexion.
Designing a Plan for Brighter Skin
If you’re tired of dealing with dull skin, the solution might be easier than you think. Start incorporating the tips above into your skin care regimen and watch that glow appear before your eyes.