Why Does My Skin Look Dull?

Dull skin is a pretty common, completely solvable issue. It just might require some tweaks to your skincare routine — so let’s talk about what you need to do to make sure dull skin is a thing of the past.

What Causes Dull Skin?

There are a number of things that can cause your skin to appear dull, and most of them are entirely fixable! From dead surface skin cells to dryness and environmental factors, we’ll help you understand the root causes of dull skin and the best ingredients and skincare products to fight dull skin.

Dead Surface Skin Cells

This is known to be one of the most common causes of dull skin, and the first thing you should look at if you feel like you’re doing everything right. Our surface skin cells naturally refresh themselves over time. If everything is working, newer surface skin cells should be brighter than older skin cells. 

Often, though, the dead surface skin cells that our skin sheds can end up clinging to your face or clogging your pores, resulting in a buildup that can get in the way of bright, glowing skin. 

Think of it like cleaning your house. You can do all the tidying in the world, but if you’re forgetting to dust and clean the surfaces, it’s never going to look its best.

Dry Skin

Even if you haven’t noticed any clear signs of dry skin, if your complexion is looking notably dull, it might be dehydrated.

It’s important to maintain your skin’s moisture barrier, which is part of your skin’s outermost layer. It’s what keeps moisture in your skin and body, and it also protects you and your skin from bacteria and other environment toxins or pathogens that otherwise might harm you. 

Treating your skin improperly can result in damage to the moisture barrier, which will then need to be rehabilitated. So it’s important to ensure your skin is moisturized at all times by being consistent and intentional about moisturizing.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones can fluctuate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes these reasons are totally normal, such as with puberty, menopause, pregnancy or even your period. They can also fluctuate for external reasons, like taking a medication that affects your hormones such as birth control or certain steroids.

If you’re finding your skin dull due to dark spots, that can also be connected to your hormones. If you think hormonal changes are the culprit of your dull complexion, it’s worth a visit to your doctor or dermatologist first and foremost to discuss the root of the issue, and potential solutions while ensuring that you’re still prioritizing your overall wellness.

Nutrient Deficiencies

There are many reasons to work a multivitamin into your daily routine, from strengthening your hair and skin to filling in the gaps of your diet if you have them. Nutrient deficiencies can affect your skin, too. Particularly, if your body is lacking in antioxidants, it can result in dull skin since there’s nothing to combat environmental stressors from prematurely aging the skin. 

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also have a heavy influence on the appearance of your skin. If you live in a dense, busy city, you’re likely to come into contact with more than your fair share of unhelpful particles throughout the day. Whether your pores are soaking up dirt or free radicals, neither is ideal.

Additionally, sun exposure can result in many different negative effects on your skin that can dampen your glow. Too much sun exposure over time causes sunspots and overall discoloration, which definitely doesn’t help with dullness. 

Sun damage can also lead to premature signs of aging. UV exposure has been connected in some studies to elastin damage. Since one of the biggest factors in fine lines and wrinkles forming is damaged or poorly organized elastin, UV exposure can be a serious problem if you’re trying to maintain your youthful glow.

Other environmental factors can be more specific to you and your lifestyle, too — such as acute or chronic stress. 

When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels tend to rise. This kicks off a chain reaction that tells your body that you’re in danger. So your body starts to focus its energy on important things, like powering vital organs, rather than sending that blood flow to your face for a much needed pick-me-up. 


As we’ve mentioned, your surface skin cells naturally renew themselves over time. This process is faster when we’re younger, which is why you know teenagers who have never even thought of a skincare routine, yet have flawless, glowing skin. 

This isn’t the only process that changes as we age. Other processes such as our skin’s production of ceramides, collagen, and elastin tend to slow down, too. As our skin’s abilities to renew and structurally support itself begin to slow down, you might need to refocus your skincare routine to help make up for what your skin lacks.

How Can You Change Your Skincare Routine to Fight Dull Skin?

In addition to making some minor shifts in your lifestyle, depending on what you think the culprit of your dull skin may be, you can make some adjustments to your skincare routine to ensure you’re doing everything you can to clear the way for bright skin.

Make Sure You’re Exfoliating

This is the big one. One of the most common causes of dull skin, and one of the easiest to fix, is a build-up of dead surface skin cells on your face. Not only can this make your skin appear less bright, but it can also clog your pores and lead to breakouts. So exfoliating is crucial, and there are two ways to go about it.

A physical exfoliant would be a cleanser or scrub made with sugar, coffee, orange peels, ground apricot seeds, or any other gentle yet mildly abrasive material. When rubbed on the skin, these products can help to slough off dead skin cells and reveal the glowing skin waiting beneath the surface.

The other option is a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants include ingredients like Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), which weaken the bond between skin cells, allowing older skin to wash away much more easily. Some can also stimulate your dead surface skin cell turnover, which means you’re likely to have more new skin cells more often. This is especially helpful if you think your dull complexion may be related to aging. 

Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm gently exfoliates while also intensely hydrating skin so your complexion is left bright and pillow soft!

Our Resurfacing Moisture Mask is made with Lactic Acid, a powerful AHA. It’s a great option for gently exfoliating dead skin away to reveal smoother, glowier skin in just 2-5 minutes. So especially if you’re looking for a quick fix to your dull skin, our Resurfacing Moisture Mask can give you the boost you’re looking for.

Use a Serum

Serums are the best part of your skincare routine because they’re where you get to really tailor things to your exact concerns. You can get natural face serums to help with hydration, to help with signs of aging, and to target concerns about overall complexion from tone to texture. 

If you’re looking to brighten your complexion above all else, we’d recommend our Chebula Active Serum. Formulated with Camellia Sinensis, i.e. Green Tea Leaf Extract, this formula is ideal if dullness is a concern for you.

Chebula is an antioxidant, which means it helps your body fight free radicals. Keeping free radicals at bay is one of the best ways to stave off visible signs of aging. And while most fruit extracts or oils are only about 10% bioactive, whereas Chebula is 60% bioactive — which means it fights for your right to a bright, beautiful complexion 50% harder than other ingredients.

Chebula Active Serum is clinically proven to reduce wrinkles by 22% after 6 weeks. When compared with traditional synthetic Retinol, which may take as long as six to twelve months to offer visible results, that’s a pretty staggering statistic.

Another helpful option for giving your complexion a boost is Vitamin C, which is known to be effective in evening out your complexion and brightening your skin tone overall. Our Topical Vitamin C Booster is in powder form, which makes it easy to mix into your favorite serum or cream moisturizer while also helping to retain its potency.

Find the Perfect Moisturizer

If your dull skin has to do with dry skin or a damaged and weakened moisture barrier, finding a lush moisturizer is going to be just the ticket. 

Our Chebula Extreme Cream is an intense yet non-pore-clogging cream moisturizer that can help keep your skin hydrated, helping to live up to its brightest potential. 

Because it’s non-comedogenic, Chebula Extreme Cream can be used both at night and in the morning, and we definitely recommend working it into both ends of your routine consistently to ensure your skin never gets thirsty again. Just apply a liberal amount to your face, neck, and décolleté after washing, exfoliating, and applying your serum to lock all that good stuff in.

Our Renew Pure Radiance Oil is a moisturizing face oil rich in fatty acids derived from 14 highly absorbable and nourishing seed oils, deeply hydrating skin and fighting signs of aging for plump, youthful-looking skin.

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Dull Skin? 

It’s sometimes easy to forget that it’s just another organ, and as such, it’s influenced by everything else going on in your body. There are certain things we can adjust in how we care for our bodies generally that can make a big difference when it comes to lackluster or dull skin. 

Some of these are obvious, like hydrating. It’s recommended that men consume around 3,000 mL of water per day, and women consume around 2,200 mL of water per day. Taking a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting the proper daily nutrients can also help, in case you’re missing something that’s contributing to your lackluster skin without realizing it.

If stress may be causing your dull skin, it can be harder to solve when it’s connected to unavoidable things, like work commitments, or overall life changes. But putting some extra time and effort into taking care of yourself and relaxing can go a long way toward improving your skin.

In Conclusion

It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy, but really, we think dull skin is the more likely culprit! If a lackluster complexion is getting you down, take some time to think about what might be causing it, and then make sure you’re getting the most out of your skincare routine.


How Much Water Do We Really Need to Drink? | National Library of Medicine

Epidermis and Its Renewal by Stem Cells | Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th Edition

The Role of Moisturizers in Addressing Various Kinds of Dermatitis: A Review | Clinical Medicine & Research

Catamenial Hyperpigmentation: A Review | The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology

Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin | The American Journal of Pathology

Ultraviolet Radiation Reduces Desmosine Cross-Links in Elastin | Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports

Do Retinoids Really Reduce Wrinkles? | Harvard Medical School