Dull skin


Dull skin is one of the most common skin complaints and can be described as the skin having a it’s loss of brightness with no radiance or glow. Dull skin is often combined with having uneven skin texture or tone.

Common symptoms of dull skin

  • Loss of brightness in the skin

  • Lack of hydration within the skin

  • There are a number of things that can cause dry skin and cases will be unique to each individual.  Below we cover the most common causes.

    A darker layer on the skin caused by a buildup of dead skin cells

whAT makes skin look dull

Dead skin cells on our skin

As our skin cells regenerate the dead skin cells can build up on our skin. These dead cells have very little water and oxygen within them so are deflated and have no radiance causing the skin to look dull. The buildup of dead cells on our skin can give it that dull ‘ashy’ look.


Our cells are made up of 70% water and need it to function effectively. If a cell doesn’t have enough water you can think of it like an air mattress which isn’t fully blown up, it’s deflated and starts to ‘shrivel’. For skin to radiate it needs to have a smooth complexion so the deflated cells will increase how dull skin looks. Reduced hydration in the dermis and lower levels of the epidermis decreases the thickness of skin which will also reduce it’s radiance.


Pollution can cause a build up of tiny particles, dirt and sulfur dioxide on our skin. This layer of pollution can reduce the skin's radiance making it look dull. The pollution can also lead to free radical damage and pigment production which damages the skin making it look more dull.

what causes dull skin

There are a number of things that can cause dull skin and cases will be unique to each individual. Below we cover the most common causes.


Our cells are made up of 70% water in need it in order to stay healthy. With a lack of moisture cells shrivel making them unable to radiate and glow. 

Lack of Oxygen

Cells need oxygen to metabolise and function. With reduced amounts of oxygen the cell turnover rate decreases causing dead cells to stay on the skin for longer.

Blood circulation

With bad circulation not enough blood, and therefore oxygen and nutrients, is reaching the outer skin cells.


When we are under stress and have cortisol running through our bodies our blood gets pushed to our vital organs meaning our skin receives less attention.


Smoking causes narrowing of our blood vessels to which affects blood supply to our skin. This means less nutrients and less oxygen, both of which are required for glowing skin! Cigarettes also contain carbon monoxide which displaces oxygen in the skin causing further damage.


Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body as a whole so our skin will struggle to get the moisture it needs. Alcohol also causes the production of the hormone vasopressin to be decreased which helps us reabsorb water.


As we get older our cells turnover rate slows down causing dead cells to build up on the skins surface.


Due to the pollution in the air our skin contains particles, dirt and free radical damage.

Lack of sleep

As the body sends more blood to our skin during sleep it receives an increased amount of oxygen and nutrition. This gives the skin what it needs to have that healthy glow which we all love.

Lack of nutrition

Our cells need nutrients, vitamins and minerals to carry out their functions. If we aren’t feeding our bodies and in turn our cells the right nutrition they won’t function at their best.


Over mattifying makeup can reduce the skins glow making it look dull. Makeup can also make it difficult for the skin to breath which can also affect it's health.


Hormone fluctuations and imbalances can create dark patches on the skin reducing the skins glow.

How to look after dull skin

Drink water

When we drink water the body supplies it to our vital organs first meaning our skin is one of the last areas of the body to be looked after. Make sure you drink enough water so your body has enough to treat your skin.


Make sure you are feeding your body with the nutrients it needs.  It’s not rocket science, avoid sugar and stick to a diet with a healthy balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.  


When we exercise the blood flow through our body is increased meaning more nutrients and oxygen is delivered to all parts of our body.  On top of that sweating helps push toxins out of our body further increasing the health of our skin.


Sleep is an important part of our health, it’s the time where our body has time to carry out its maintenance.  The majority of our skin's regeneration is carried out when we sleep so make sure you give yourself enough of it.

Skincare for dull skin

With dull skin it is important to follow a skincare regime that minimises the loss of moisture from the skin.

  • Cleanse using a gentle cleanser.  Make sure you don’t use harsh soaps that strip your skin of it’s oils.

  • Moisturise using an oil based moisturiser that will help restore the required oil levels within the skin.

  • Exfoliate weekly to remove the dead cells from your skin. This will reveal the fresher cells and encourage the production of new ones.

  • Use a face mask to assist in removing unwanted toxins from your skin.  This will improve the skins health and help increase it's hydration.