Major Causes of Dull Skin and 4 Powerful Brightening Tips to Combat Dull Skin

Symptoms of Dull Skin and Causes

Before talking about solutions, we first need to understand the chemical that plays an essential role in the cause of dull skin – melanin. Melanin refers to a group of natural pigments that can be found in most organisms. In the human skin, melanin is produced naturally, causing our skin to be darker. The melanin produced naturally in the human skin can be reduced with the skin’s natural metabolic cycles. However, environmental stimuli such as UV radiation (UVA and UVB) or hormone changes can cause our melanin level to increase dramatically or slow down your skin’s metabolic rate. This can lead to dark spots, uneven skin tone, and age spots. 

Close up of woman's face with dull skin and freckles

Close up of woman’s face with freckles

1. Dull Skin

There are many reasons that can cause the skin to look lackluster:

  1. Oxidization: When the stratum corneum (top skin layer) over-oxidizes, accumulating too much old and dead skin cells, the skin can look less smooth and clear.
  2. Sun Damage: Too much sunlight and not enough sunscreen protection cause extra melanin to form, causing the skin to appear dull and develop uneven tones. UV damage can lead to dark spots, uneven skin tone, age spots, and many other skin-related problems.
  3. Dryness: When the skin lacks moisture, you get flaky skin, which causes irritation. This may be caused by the dry environment or lack of proper skincare.
  4. Hormone Imbalance: Hormone imbalance that happens after staying up or women’s menstruation can cause acne to break out, leaving unwanted acne scars and dark spots.
How to bring back my glow and radiance?
  1. Exfoliation: If your dull skin is caused by excessive dead skin, exfoliating with a scrub or chemical peel can get rid of dead skin cells and speed up the skin’s renewal. Exfoliation helps smooth the skin, making it look more radiant.
  2. Lifestyle: Changing your lifestyle and diet to exercise regularly, drink more water, take enough vitamins, and sleeping well will help regulate your skin metabolism. It’s better for your overall health, anyway!
  3. Skincare: In your skincare routine, use brightening and hydrating products to help reduce melanin and increase the clarity of your skin.
2. Uneven Skin Tone

Uneven skin tone is usually a result of uneven melanin metabolism in different skin areas. The areas with faster metabolism have less melanin and dead skin cells, causing these areas to have a lighter tone. So what causes uneven melanin concentration?

  1. Sunscreen Application: When sunscreen is applied unevenly, parts of your face will get more UV exposure, causing them to appear darker.
  2. Makeup Removal: If face cleansing is not done thoroughly, the remaining makeup in your pores can cause it to look dirty and dull.
  3. Skincare Application: When applying skincare products, it’s easy to miss some areas such as the bottom of your nose or under the ears. This will cause certain areas to have less protection.
How to fix an uneven skin tone?

Remember that every step of skincare is essential.

  1. Make sure you cleanse thoroughly and don’t forget the hard to reach areas.
  2. Apply an even layer of sunscreen.
  3. Hydrate your skin whenever needed to prevent dryness.
  4. When using skincare products, don’t forget the harder-to-reach areas such as your hairline, under the chin, around your lips, etc.
  5. Treat darker areas with brightening products. Besides brightening serum, there are also brightening toner and masks that will help even out your skin tone.

close up photo of woman with dull skin - acne scars and acne spots

3. Acne Spots & Acne Scars

The difference between acne spots and acne scars & how they form

Acne spots are the dark spots, and acne scars are the deeper scar tissue caused by acne. Acne spots are essentially post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by excessive oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. The difference between acne spots and acne scars depends on two factors – the intensity of infection and inflammation and the depth of skin tissue damage. In general, the more inflammation and infection you have, the more likely you are going to get a dark acne spot. When the dermis is damaged, it’s likely to leave an acne scar.

How to prevent and lighten acne spots and acne scars?

Proper cleansing and skincare reduce the likelihood of acne. If acne has already formed, it’s essential to treat it immediately to prevent hyperpigmentation and scarring. You should never pick on your acne as it can cause infection, increasing the likelihood of a scar.
For acne spots that have already formed, you can use skincare products such as spot treatment and brightening serum to lighten them.

4. Dark Spots – Sun Spots, Age Spots, and Freckles

Dark spots on the skin can be affected by two factors- genetic predisposition or environmental factors. An example of the former would be freckles, which will sometimes fade naturally after puberty. The latter can be seen when someone is exposed to sunlight without proper protection for too long, and the UV radiation causes melanin to increase, causing dark spots to appear. They are both a form of hyperpigmentation.

How to effectively get rid of dark spots?

To prevent the formation of dark spots, sunscreen is the most effective way.

  1. Avoid going out when the sun is blazing, and always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply immediately after swimming or sweating. It’s also helpful to block the sun with long sleeve shirts or umbrellas.
  2. Have a regular lifestyle and a healthy diet. Vitamin C can slow down dark spot formation. Remember that vitamin C needs to be absorbed in moderate intakes of 30-180mg/day. Excessive intake will decrease absorption and is excreted in the urine.
  3. For dark spots that have already formed, many cosmetic treatments will give you fast results. You can also use brightening products or spot treatment to control and break down melanin pigments.

woman with beautiful healthy skin,no dull skin

4 Easy and Effective Ways to Bring Your Glow Back

“So how do I get rid of dark spots, uneven tone, and find my radiance?” you might ask. Good skin doesn’t just appear overnight. It takes time and continuous effort.

Here are the four steps that will help you achieve beautiful skin quickly:

1. Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Skin health is closely related to your lifestyle. Healthy skin comes from regular exercise, good sleep, and enough water consumption. If your skin metabolic rate drops, problems such as dull skin, dark circles, aging will appear. A balanced diet with an abundance of vitamins and minerals also helps improve skin elasticity and reduce melanin production by limiting the activity of Tyrosinase. This enzyme controls the production of melanin.

2. Facial Cleansing

Proper cleansing is one of the most effective ways to maintain healthy and clear skin, especially if the area you live in has poor air quality, which can cause the accumulation of dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dullness. The bacteria can cause acne, which leaves acne marks and scars.
However, it’s essential not to over-cleanse your skin. We recommend using gentle cleansing products with simple ingredients. When washing your face, just focus on getting it clean, and the process should last no more than 1-2 minutes. Because it’s such a short process, the “active ingredients” are not necessary because they usually don’t get absorbed.

3. Sunscreen or Sun Protection

Just as mentioned above, UV light can seriously damage your skin, and cause dark spots. This is an important step that many people do not follow. Also, applying sunscreen once is not enough. It’s best to apply and reapply sunscreen or physically block the sunlight. Lowering UV exposure will lower melanin activity to prevent unwanted skin problems.

4. While brightening, Don’t Forget to Hydrate and Exfoliate

Adding brightening and moisturizing products to your skincare routine doesn’t only give you a brighter glow, but also helps dark spots, dull skin, and acne marks fade faster. Be careful that some brightening or spot treatment ingredients such as acids can be harsh on sensitive skin. We recommend starting with a lower dosage and let your skin gradually get used to it. If there’s too much dead skin cell, the skin can look dull. Exfoliating occasionally will help you maintain a smooth texture.


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