Dull Skin: Causes, Prevention and how to brighten it naturally

It seems like the beauty gods have only blessed Hollywood legends and K-pop stars with the gift of glowing skin. Meanwhile, the rest of us are left struggling, desperate to find out how to get rid of our dreaded dull skin.

And so we begin our quest. We search online, scour the stores and try every possible product that promises to bestow on us this elusive glow.

What is Dull Skin?

Dull skin is categorised as the loss of firmness, moisture and lack of radiance in the skin. The build-up of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface further adds to the dull appearance. 

It’s a problem that plagues women and men of all ages.

A little care here, a little consistency there and TA-DA! Youthful, radiant skin will be yours.

7 Deadly Sins That Lead to Dull Skin

Dull skin can be caused by various internal and external factors. Below, we’ll cover some of the most common causes of dull skin.

Build Up of Dead Skin Cells

“We shed millions of skin cells a day. So unless you do something to actively remove the ones that don’t fall off naturally, you’re going to have a grayish look no matter your skin tone,” says Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. 

Think of that dead-cell buildup like dust. Until you wipe it clean, it’s a filthy layer that prevents your skin from reflecting light.

If you’ve watched those oddly-satisfying videos on people removing deadskin, you’ll know that it can have a drastic impact on how you look. 

Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency

Minerals and vitamins are crucial to a healthy body and healthy skin. One problem, it’s hard to get the recommended daily amounts from food alone. Selenium, copper, iron, and zinc are some of the more important minerals the body requires. 

And for vitamins, A, B, C, E and K. If you can’t get them naturally, you know what to do. Supplement.

Environmental Pollutants

Oh, yes, this is a thing. And increasingly so in our fossil-fuel-based world. Polluted air contains a host of tiny harmful particles, like dirt, factory smoke volatile organic compounds and oxides, that create free radicals in skin.

Free radicals damage collagen (hello, new wrinkles!) and overstimulate pigment production over time.

With toxins in our body, our cellular functions are impaired. Turnover is slower and everything goes haywire. Then when your skin’s tone and texture are uneven, it diffuses light and looks dull. 

Sun Damage

We don’t know anyone who gets excited about discovering a new sun spot on their face. Even more terrifying? Hyperpigmentation, which can result in patches of dark skin on your face, neck, shoulders and arms. 

All that caused by overexposure to UV and Blue Light. Because of weakened collagen in the skin, skin cells get damaged and overproduce melanin, causing those spots.

And unfortunately, like a package deal of disaster, dull and slack skin comes with it. 

You might be interested in: The ultimate guide to hyperpigmentation and melasma treatment – dermatologist approved

Poor Blood Circulation

When you are tired or your body is not functioning as it should, the blood in your body doesn’t flow efficiently, resulting in a lack of oxygen in the blood. This lack of oxygen causes your skin to appear ashy, pigmented, or blotchy.

Lack of Sleep

They don’t call it “beauty sleep” for nothing. 

When you miss sleep, your hormones go out of whack and cortisol levels increase. Cortisol interferes with healing and triggers inflammation. This inflammation breaks down the proteins in the skin that keep skin radiant and smooth.

Besides that, your skin’s pH levels becomes imbalanced, leading to a decreased moisture levels, dehydrated complexion and redness.


Well, this one isn’t exactly your fault, but it’s still a major cause for dull skin.

As your skin ages, the cell turnover rate slows down due to decreased collagen synthesis, as explained by a 2013 study in the Journal of Advances in Wound Care. This translates to loss of skin elasticity, which we see as fine lines and dull skin.

Now you know what you’re doing wrong, here are some ways you can brighten the skin and prevent dull looking skin from getting worse.

Ready to experience true skin radiance and see your skin go up to 3 shades lighter? Try Crystal Tomato Whitening Supplement today!


How to Brighten Dull Skin in 5 Steps

The key to vibrant skin is rejuvenation. The good news? You have plenty of options.

Step 1: Exfoliate At Least Once A Week

Regular exfoliation is the simplest way to a glowing complexion.

When dead skin cells build up on the outer layers of your skin, it can cause your skin to look dry, dull and dead.

For those who are tired of people saying “You look tired”, it’s probably because you look full. 

Exfoliation helps expose a fresh layer of skin ready to retain hydration when moisturizer is applied. This can help to plump up the skin, making it look younger, smoother, and healthier.

Exfoliation can be either:

Mechanical/Physical. Scrubs with micro-beads, sponges, gloves or brushes.

Chemical. Face acids like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), salicylic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid etc.

*Note of caution: Limit exfolitation to no more than twice a week.

Step 2: Mask On

Treating yourself to a face mask is another excellent way to get your skin looking radiant. Masks soothe the skin and allow active ingredients to be absorbed deeply. 

One other major benefit is you feel fresh and we all know stress relief does wonders!

Make sure you look for a facial mask that contains:

  • Anti-oxidants
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Hydrating ingredients

Generally, you can use a face mask 1 – 3 times per week, depending on the product and your skin type. 

Step 3: Use a Brightening Cream

To help brighten dull skin, choose skincare products that contain brightening ingredients. These include:

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and salicylic acid
  • Arbutin
  • Licorice extract
  • Niacinamide
  • Retinol
  • Citric Acid

Most importantly, ensure it’s safe for your skin and has medical evidence to back its claims. You wouldn’t want to develop a whole load of other skin conditions like severe hyperpigmentation while trying to brighten your dull skin.

You can consider Crystal Tomato® Skin Clarity Cream. It is clinically tested and proven to work on melasma patients and you can see 50% improvement in just 3 months of daily use.

Step 4: Invest in Anti-Pollution Skincare Products

To further protect yourself from the harmful effects of environmental pollutants, consider skincare products with antioxidants. 

Look out for ingredients like citric acid, niacinamide, titanium oxide and other mineral barriers and antioxidants.

Anti-pollution products are absolutely crucial in forming a protective film over the skin, which prevents pollution particulate from attaching directly to or penetrating into the skin. 

Step 5: Do Gentle Face Massages

To improve your skin’s blood flow to your face, you can do some gentle face massages. These days, dermarolling has become an in-thing, for good reason.

Facial massages has other benefits:

  • Helps with stuffy sinuses
  • Decreases puffiness
  • Cools and soothes your skin
  • Spreads skincare product more evenly across your face

Whether you use a dermaroller or your fingers, give it a try!

How to Prevent Dull Skin

Wear Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Daily

Anyone who cares about their skin knows how important this is. But not everyone is willing to be diligent in applying sunscreen (that’s why not everyone has glowing skin too).

Wearing sunscreen will help prevent UV-induced damage, including skin pigmentation, aging brown spots, and rough, dulling texture.

Look for a sunscreen that has these:

  • Broad-spectrum protection from both UVA & UVB rays (at least SPF 50)
  • Blue Light protection (at least HEV 50%)
  • Non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic

These are the minimum requirements if you want proper protection for your skin. If you need help, we’ve got you covered. Try Beyond Sun Protection by Crystal Tomato.

Exercise Regularly

You’ve heard this before and we’ll say it again. Exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be those super intense exercises that leave your muscles sore for the next week.

Climb the stairs, ride a bike, go for a hike, hit the gym, sign up for a yoga/boxing class, whatever.

When you exercise, the tiny arteries in your skin open up, allowing more blood to reach the skin’s surface and deliver nutrients that repair damage from the sun and environmental pollutants. 

You want tighter skin? Glowing skin? Healthier hair? Stronger bones? Lower stress levels? Greater self-confidence? Improved mood? Better sleep? Lower body fat?

Then exercise!

Bottom Line

Dull skin can be caused by dehydration, lifestyle choices or simply because you were cutting corners in your skin care routine. 

Fortunately, these steps can boost your skin’s natural radiance again.

Always be mindful of the skincare products you use, your diet and your environment. Taking little steps to improve your lifestyle can brighten your dull skin significantly. 

You don’t have to be a hollywood star or big-time celebrity to have glowing, radiant skin after all, huh?

Ready to experience overall skin whitening and radiance? Start with Crystal Tomato Whitening Supplements today!