Whether you’re tired of having dull, lacklustre skin, or just want to prolong your post-summer glow, there are plenty of ways to boost your skin’s radiance. The first step is identifying what’s causing the dullness in the first place.
“When we refer to glowing skin, what we’re really referring to is how healthy our skin functions as an organ,” says Kay Ali, expert nutritionist at Beauty Pie. “Our skin radiates and looks its best when every aspect of how it works – from cellular turnover and collagen production, to maintaining a harmonised acid mantle – functions optimally.”
What causes dull skin?
Dull, lifeless skin is caused by a variety of factors, the main one being dehydration, which is something to bear in mind as we move into the colder months.
“Skin is especially dry and looks dull after the long winter period, due to a decrease in sebum production,” explains Dr Barbara Sturm. “This is a result of insufficient blood supply in the outer layers of our skin, exposure to cold, wind and extreme temperatures, and dry indoor heating.”
Inadequate sleep, lack of exercise, too much screen time, diet, environmental aggressors, a buildup of dead skin cells, dryness, natural ageing, smoking, and second-hand smoke can all contribute.
Luckily, there are plenty of effective formulas on the market that specifically target dull skin.
What are the best products for dull skin?
The key to healthy, glowy, and bouncy-looking skin is a combination of exfoliation and hydration.
Dull skin is often uneven in tone or texture, and so reflects light less evenly. The first step is to remove the dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin surface with a gentle exfoliation. You can do this with alpha-hydroxy and polyhydroxy acids, (Medik8’s Press & Glow acid toner is great for removing superficial debris), or with physical facial scrubs, like Dr Barbara Sturm’s Facial Scrub.
Next, you’ll need some vitamin C. “Considered one of the best antioxidants in skincare, vitamin C is naturally present in the body and works to protect the skin from environmental damage which may occur throughout the day,” says Daniel Isaacs, director of research at Medik8. “This includes sun and pollution damage. Vitamin C also works to promote a radiant, brighter complexion while boosting collagen production for firmer, more youthful-looking skin.” SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum is particularly good, as is Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster.
Next, you’ll need to lock in moisture to prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated – especially after you’re done exfoliating. Here’s where your hydrating serums, calming botanicals and nourishing moisturisers come in (and which you should always follow up with an SPF). The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a great way to replenish moisture, while the Clinque Superdefense SPF25 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser recharges the skin with vitamin E, at the same time as shielding the skin from further UV damage and environmental aggressors.
Finally, you may want to think about introducing retinol at nighttime, to kickstart your body’s natural healing mechanisms and rejuvenate the skin for a more even complexion. Ease yourself in with La Roche-Posay Retinol 0.3% + Vitamin B3 Serum, or Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum.