Top 8 Causes of Dull Skin (with Remedies)

3 min read

Top 8 Causes of Dull Skin (with Remedies) Top 8 Causes of Dull Skin (with Remedies)

“You look tired.”

The last thing anybody ever wants to hear (even when you are, in fact, super tired.) 

But we’ve all been there! And some of us feel like we’re *permanently* there – with skin that’s dull and has lost its glow.

Good news: regardless of the cause, you CAN restore your skin’s natural radiance.

With the help of good habits, effective treatments, and (yes, in some cases) a good night’s sleep, your skin can look bright, radiant, and downright well-rested.

The best way to restore radiance to your skin depends on the cause – we’ll go over common causes of dull skin before diving into all of the best ways to remedy it.

8 Causes of Dull, Tired-Looking Skin

Let’s get to the bottom of this – why does your skin look so dull right now? Here are 8 common causes:

  • Dehydration. Dehydrated skin can look dull, flaky, and shadowed. This may be caused by total dehydration (not drinking enough water, which can decrease the volume of blood flow to the skin) or skin dehydration (skin not retaining enough water.)
  • Dead skin cell accumulation. Dead skin cells can make you look kinda, well, dead. You might just have a layer of dead skin cells in the way of your beautiful, naturally-glowy, alive skin.
  • Poor circulation. Poor blood flow can lead to sluggish-looking skin, especially dark under-eye circles.
  • Environmental stressors. Pollution, exposure to toxins, and too much sun exposure can make skin appear dull.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. Dull skin may be a sign that your skin and body are lacking vitamins, most commonly vitamins D and E but also A, B, and C.
  • Aging. We’re firm believers that skin can be radiant at any age, but skin does produce less collagen and elastin as it ages, which can make the skin look tired and dull.
  • Stress. Stress doesn’t just make you break out – it can also decrease the skin’s ability to retain water, which can lead to dryness and dullness.
  • Fatigue. Poor sleep quality can and does make you look tired – even just one or two nights of poor sleep can leave you with dull skin and dark circles under your eyes.

How to Brighten Skin

You CAN brighten dull skin, both instantly – give your skin an extra boost before heading to work! – and over time – make “radiant skin” your whole personality!


Here’s how:

Make Small Habit Changes

Small changes can make a big difference. If you suspect your dull skin might have to do with lifestyle factors, practice some intentional self-care. Get more sleep, drink more water, take vitamins, practice meditation, and make it a priority to do your skincare routine morning and night. 

Of course, you don’t have to revamp your whole life – it’s all about making one small, intentional change at a time. Start by drinking a glass of water right after brushing your teeth, going to sleep 10 minutes earlier than usual, using an exfoliating glove in the shower, or using an especially nourishing moisturizer. Slow and steady brightens the face!

Look for Brightening Ingredients in Skincare Products

Look for products with the following skin-brightening ingredients:

  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps brighten the skin, even skin tone, and fight pollution that can cause discoloration. Look for a moisturizer, mask, or serum that lists Vitamin C as a hero ingredient.
  • Retinol. Derived from Vitamin A, retinol can help even out skin tone as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Niacinamide. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that’s become a very popular skincare ingredient. It works as an antioxidant to even out skin tone, fight hyperpigmentation, and brighten the skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid fights skin dehydration and helps your skin retain water, leading to a plumped, refreshed, dewy complexion. Other humectants such as glycerin and alpha hydroxy acids can also make a big difference.

Massaging skincare tools like Petal 2 can also help encourage the body’s natural blood circulation and collagen production, leading to glowier skin and clean pores.

Get Professional Treatments for Dull Skin

If you’re dealing with persistently dull skin, ask a pro. Visit a dermatologist to diagnose the cause and, if needed, get prescription-strength skincare that targets the issue. Or, visit an aesthetician. A brightening facial, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or microneedling can help remove dead skin cells and treat dull skin, both immediately and over time.