Of all the skin concerns, dull skin can sometimes fly under the radar more than the rest. It’s one of those issues that, unlike acne or hyperpigmentation, can be tricky to spot. But on those days where you’ve clocked in a full eight hours of sleep and hydrated yourself to the max, that glowing skin is hard to miss.
Luckily, there are ways to ensure your skin stays as radiant as possible at all times. From at-home solutions to a science-backed product that everyone with dull skin should be using, Miami dermatologist Alicia Barba, MD fills us in on how to get skin that reflects light better than a spotless mirror.
What causes skin dullness?
Before we dive into the solutions for lackluster skin, it’s important to know what causes it in the first place. “Common causes for dull skin are dryness and inflammation,” explains Dr. Barba. “When the superficial layers of skin get dry or irritated, the stratum corneum gets flaky and [the] skin can become porous, leading to further inflammation.”
To put it simply, all the dead skin cells that accumulate on your skin throughout the day, along with debris from pollution, and lifestyle factors like dehydration or lack of sleep, can all make your skin look dull and lifeless.
How can you prevent skin dullness from occurring in the first place?
Before looking into topical options to brighten your skin, start by addressing your personal health and daily routine. Ensuring that you’re getting enough sleep and hydrating sufficiently will make a major difference in how dewy and bright your skin looks. Also, it’s important to keep your stress levels low, especially since stress—which spikes cortisol levels in the body—can cause inflammation within the skin.
Once you’ve addressed these lifestyle factors, it’s time to take on a new skin-care routine. “I believe the best skin-care results are achieved when skin is maximally exfoliated, maximally hydrated, [and has] no irritation,” says Dr. Barba. “The best tips are to gently exfoliate—manually or with active ingredients—[and] hydrate with humectants and emollients.”
Just be sure that when exfoliating, you do not scrub too hard or use harsh acids that can be abrasive to the skin since this can be damaging and could lead to other skin issues. “The brightening effect can be achieved by stimulating cell turnover [with] manual or chemical exfoliation,” adds Dr. Barba. “You can get a ‘wow’ effect if these ingredients also brighten the skin with actives that even out the skin tone.”
When looking for skin-brightening products, which ingredients should you look for?
Using the correct skin-care products is essential for creating a bright complexion. According to Dr. Barba, look for gentle exfoliants like azelaic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid when perusing the skin-care aisle for products. These will slough away dead skin cells and minimize the appearance of pores to reveal healthy, glowing skin.
Brightening ingredients like arbutin and niacinamide are also important to incorporate into your routine since they’ll even out your skin tone and diminish discoloration.
Are there any specific products people with dull skin should be using?
While there are many brightening products currently on the market to choose from right now, there’s one that has particularly caught our eye recently: SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment ($105).
Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment is a lightweight moisturizer that uses active ingredients like azelaic acid, alpha arbutin, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to gently exfoliate, brighten and hydrate the skin. “Studies have found that the ingredients working synergistically [and] can brighten skin by decreasing post-blemish marks by 20 percent, smooth skin by improving rough skin texture by 19 percent, and clarify skin by decreasing surface oil by 28 percent,” says Dr. Barba.
The phyto botanical blend is proprietary to the brand and soothes skin and decreases visible redness. “I love that the phyto botanical blend in this product allows even the most sensitive skin types to use a serum with actives that gently exfoliate while brightening at the same time, without causing irritation,” adds Dr. Barba.
The bottom line
Thanks to SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment, bright, smooth and clear skin is easier than ever to achieve, whether used as a standalone product or in tandem with an in-office regimen.
To use this popular product, simply apply one to two pumps of the formula in the morning and at night after cleansing. After continued use, skin’s brightness, texture, and clarity will all be visibly enhanced. So, if you’re looking for a do-it-all product, it’s time to add this one to your virtual shopping cart.
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