10 Remedies For Dull Skin, Signs, Causes, And Prevention

Pollution, stress, diet, and more reasons for dull skin and remedies to brighten your skin.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Hari Hara Sudhan, MD
Written by Shaheen Naser, MSc
Edited by Anjali Sayee, BTech
Fact-checked by Swathi E, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Unhealthy lifestyle, lack of proper skin care, and nutrition may make your skin dull, lifeless, and pale. Taking care of dull skin is not tough. While few people seem to be blessed with good spotless skin, it takes considerable time and effort every day to maintain clear, glowing skin naturally. Your food choices, your cleansing, moisturizing, toning routine, the amount of water you drink, the amount of exposure to environmental stressors, the regular use of sunscreen, anything and everything can affect how your skin looks and feels.

To help your dry, sallow, dull skin regain its natural glow and radiance, we have listed some tips and tricks to help you get started. Scroll down.

What Is Dull Skin?

Dull skin is one of the most common dermatological complaints. This condition is characterized by skin that has lost its radiance or glow. Dull skin looks aged, exhausted, unappealing, and unhealthy. It may also have an uneven tone and texture. Spots, blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles, etc. can cause your skin to lose its natural glow and make it look dull.

Dull skin is not just the direct result of aging; many other factors play a role in making your skin look dull.

What Are The Causes Of Dull Skin?

In today’s day and age, our lives revolve around hectic schedules. This lifestyle pattern does not leave us with the time or the energy to incorporate a proper skincare regimen into our daily routine. Here are a few factors that cause dull skin:

  • Pollution: Be it the commute to work and back home or a short trip to the grocery store – you are constantly exposed to pollution. The smoke and dust suspended in the air can cause the skin pores to get clogged. Eventually, this can affect the natural glow of your skin and cause other skin-related issues like acne, pimples, and uneven skin tone.
  • UV Rays: The sun’s rays are usually the strongest between 9 AM and 4 PM. The UV index is very high during this period and can cause significant damage to your skin. Walking out in the sun without applying sunscreen can cause dull skin (1).
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated is key to good skin. It helps in making lackluster skin look supple and replenished. Lack of hydration can make your skin look dehydrated, tired and dull.
  • Stress: Stress is the most common complaint today. You could feel stressed at work or in your personal life. What most people often overlook is its impact on health. Your skin shows clear signs of stress in the form of acne, pimples, and dullness of skin.
  • Diet: A proper, well-balanced diet is imperative to maintain healthy skin. Consuming nutrient-rich foods will ensure that your skin is well-nourished. The modern lifestyle takes a toll on our eating habits, forcing us to neglect our diet. This can cause dull skin (2).

The stats presented in the graph below illustrate the estimated size of the global skincare market from 2012 to 2025. The global skincare market is expected to be worth 189.3 billion USD by 2025.

Global Skincare Market Value (billion USD)

Source: Statista

How Can You Tell If You Have Dull Skin?

Dull skin is characterized by:

  • Aging skin: Your skin can develop wrinkles and fine lines. In some cases, this can happen as a result of photoaging.
  • Uneven skin tone
  • The appearance of blemishes and spots
  • Loss of natural glow of the skin

If your skin shows any of the above signs, you may be having dull skin. Here are some easy tips to brighten dull skin at home.

Natural Remedies To Brighten Skin

  1. Lemon
  2. Sugar Scrub
  3. Honey
  4. Chocolate Mask
  5. Aloe Vera
  6. Walnut Scrub
  7. Yogurt
  8. Cucumber
  9. Pineapple
  10. Neem

1. Lemon

Use lemon to brighten dull skin
Image: Shutterstock

Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C has an anti-pigmentary effect, thereby improving complexion and brightening the skin (3).

You Will Need
  • 1-2 lemons
  • Sterile cotton pad
What You Have To Do
  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl.
  2. Apply this juice to your face with a clean cotton pad.
  3. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

Caution: Lemon juice can cause a stinging or a burning sensation on your skin. Please do a patch test before trying this remedy. Make sure you apply sunscreen before you go out as lemon juice can make your skin photosensitive.

2. Sugar Scrub

Sugar can help remove dry skin and dead skin cells due to its slightly abrasive texture (4), (5). This can help in making your skin look brighter.

You Will Need
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a sealable container and add olive oil and honey to it.
  2. Add half a cup of brown sugar to this and mix well.
  3. Scrub your face with this mixture in a circular motion to encourage exfoliationi  XThe process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a physical or chemical tool. .
  4. Rinse thoroughly with water after 4-5 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 times a week.

3. Honey

Use honey to brighten dull skin
Image: Shutterstock

Honey contains fructose, glucose, and alpha-hydroxy acids that can help decrease excessive pigmentation, thereby making your skin look brighter and more supple (6), (7).

You Will Need
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Squeeze the lemon to collect the juice.
  2. Add a tablespoon of honey to this and mix well.
  3. Apply it to your face and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

Caution: Lemon juice can cause a stinging or a burning sensation on your skin. Please do a patch test before trying this remedy.

4. Chocolate Mask

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. Cocoa exhibits antioxidant properties that can help neutralize oxidative stress (8). This means that it can help reduce the deterioration of skin cells and dullness of skin.

You Will Need
  • ¼ cup of melted dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2-3 drops of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Melt the bars of dark chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Add a tablespoon of milk and a few drops of honey to the melted chocolate.
  3. Mix well and let it cool down.
  4. Apply the mixture to your face and neck and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Wash off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can apply this face mask once every week.


protip_icon Did You Know?
Dark chocolate consists of 50% to 90% of cocoa solids to make it suitable to be the main ingredient of a chocolate mask.

5. Aloe Vera

Use aloe vera to brighten dull skin
Image: Shutterstock

Aloe vera contains aloin, which acts as a melanini  XA group of natural polymers produced in cells (called melanocytes) that impart color to the skin, hair, and eyes. production.” ]inhibitor and helps reverse the effects of hyperpigmentation (9). This, in turn, can help brighten dull skin.

Shanique Buntyn, a YouTuber, shared her experience of using aloe vera for 5 days for her skin. She said, “My skin has cleared up a lot. The dark marks aren’t as dark and I don’t have any redness or pimples ().”

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
What You Have To Do
  1. Slice open an aloe vera leaf to extract the gel.
  2. Mix a tablespoon of the gel with a teaspoon of brown sugar.
  3. Apply this scrub to your face and neck and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Rinse your face thoroughly with water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 times a week.

6. Walnut Scrub

Walnut scrub can be used as an effective home remedy to brighten dull skin. Walnut contains tyrosinase inhibitors that can reduce pigmentation and brighten dull skin (10).

You Will Need
  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 5-6 crushed walnuts
What You Have To Do
  1. Grind about 5-6 walnuts in a grinder.
  2. Mix the crushed walnuts with a cup of yogurt.
  3. Apply it to your face and neck and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wash off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once every week.

7. Yogurt

Use yogurt to brighten dull skin
Image: Shutterstock

Yogurt is a popular product used extensively in traditional medicine to treat skin-related conditions. Yogurt is a natural source of L-cysteinei  XA conditionally-essential amino acid that promotes detoxification due to its antioxidant nature. , a compound that inhibits tyrosinase activity (11). This helps reduce pigmentation and brightens dull skin.

You Will Need
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix half a cup of yogurt and a tablespoon of honey.
  2. Apply the mixture to your face and neck.
  3. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes and wash off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 times a week.

8. Cucumber

Cucumber is a rich source of vitamin C and other bioactive compounds that inhibit tyrosinase activity (13). This, in turn, can reduce pigmentation and dull skin.

You Will Need
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel
What You Have To Do
  1. Cut half a cucumber evenly and add it to a blender.
  2. Add a tablespoon of aloe vera gel and blend it until you get a fine paste.
  3. Apply this mask and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can use this face pack once a week.

9. Pineapple

Use pineapple to brighten dull skin
Image: Shutterstock

Pineapple is a rich source of bioactive sulfur-containing compounds that can reduce pigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase activity (14). These compounds can help in dull skin treatment.

You Will Need
  • 1-2 slices of pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons of gram flour
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend one or two pineapple slices in a blender.
  2. Add two teaspoons of gram flour to this paste and mix well.
  3. Apply this paste to your face and neck and let it dry.
  4. Wash your face with warm water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can use this face pack once a week.

10. Neem

Neem inhibits tyrosinase activity, which means that it can reduce excessive pigmentation of the skin and brighten dull-looking skin (15).

You Will Need
  • A handful of neem leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Blend a handful of neem leaves to make a fine paste.
  2. Add honey and yogurt to this paste and mix well.
  3. Apply this paste to your face and neck and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wash off with warm water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can use this face pack once a week for brighter-looking skin.

The above remedies can help you get rid of dull skin naturally. Listed below are a few tips that you need to follow to prevent your skin from looking dull and drab.

How Can I Prevent My Skin From Looking Dull?

  • Exfoliate your skin with natural facial scrubs once every week to ensure that it is free of dirt and pollutants.
  • Cleansing your skin before sleeping every night makes sure that it does not lose its natural glow.
  • Make sure to keep your skin moisturized after using cleansers or makeup products. This will help in making it look healthy and bright.
  • A healthy diet can keep your skin healthy and gives it a natural glow. Also, remember to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
  • Smoking has a direct effect on the health of your skin. Smoking makes your skin lose its natural glow and gives it an aged look (16).
  • Always remember to apply sunscreen on your face, arms, and legs before you step out into the sun. This will ensure that your skin is protected from UV-induced damage.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Applying coconut oil, almond oil, or shea butter can help in moisturizing the skin to prevent dullness.

You can also try out some Korean skin care practices to combat dull skin. Learn more about them below.

Korean Skin Care For Dull Skin

Incorporate these Korean skin care techniques into your daily routine for glowing skin:

  • Double Cleanse: Cleanse your skin with an oil cleanser to get rid of makeup and follow it up with a foaming cleanser to deeply cleanse your pores.
  • Use Sheet Masks: Use sheet masks weekly for an extra boost of hydration that will leave your face looking radiant.
  • Tap, Not Rub: Apply active serums and gently tap them into the skin for better absorption instead of rubbing or massaging them.
  • Use Rice Water: Make your own rice water mist using the cloudy water in which rice has been soaked for an hour. Pour this water into a glass container and let it ferment at room temperature for 1-2 days. Use it once or twice a day for a quick dose of dewy glow.

Infographic: Top Foods To Add To Your Diet To Prevent Dull Skin

Your skin can become dull and dry due to stress, pollution, improper diet, and dehydration. Though there are several ways to restore the glow of your skin, you can also prevent it by hydrating your skin from within. You can add more water to your diet through readily available fruits and vegetables.

Check out the infographic below to know the top foods you can have to prevent dull skin.

top foods to avoid to your diet to prevent dull skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Dull skin, a common dermatological complaint, is characterized by the loss of the healthy glow to the skin and the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. Photodamage, stress, pollution, poor diet, lack of hydration, and certain lifestyle factors like smoking may cause your skin to appear dull. You can use several natural remedies to brighten the skin and restore its natural radiance. Lemon, sugar scrubs, honey, yogurt, cucumber, pineapple, aloe vera, and chocolate are some effective ingredients used in home remedies to revive dull skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my complexion?

You can improve your complexion by following a strict skincare routine that includes keeping your skin clean, eating nutrient-rich foods, and following simple home remedies to brighten dull skin.

Are skin-lightening products safe to use?

Skin-lightening products containing hydroquinonesi  XWhite aromatic compounds that are found in nature and used to lighten the skin and treat pigmentation. are not all safe as they can cause skin irritation and rashes. Hence, do not use them without consulting a dermatologist.

Do skin-lightening products brighten skin instantly?

No, skin-lightening products can take at least 6-8 weeks to show a visible change. This is because they are formulated to reduce the production of new melanin, not to act on the melanin already present in the skin.

Are there any treatments I can use to help brighten my skin?

Other than natural home remedies listed in the article, chemical and invasive treatment procedures can help brighten your skin, including skin creams that contain AHAs and Vitamin C, chemical peels for exfoliation, mechanical exfoliation through microdermabrasion, and laser and light therapy that employ intense light beams.

How can I protect my skin from environmental damage that causes dullness?

Dirt, pollutants, and UV rays are the primary reasons for dull skin. Cleanse and exfoliate the skin regularly to remove external dirt and contaminants. A sunscreen is the best way to protect the skin from sun damage.

Key Takeaways

  • Pollution, stress, photodamage, and poor diet can cause dull skin.
  • Ingredients like lemon, honey, sugar scrub, cucumber, aloe vera, and chocolate can help brighten the skin.
  • Eating a healthy diet and drinking water regularly adds a glow to your skin and prevents dullness.
  • Applying sunscreen and exfoliating once a week can protect your skin from damage and pollution.

Revive dull skin and regain your natural radiance with an amazing and simple face mask. Watch this video to help get back your healthy and glowing skin.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin., Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24101874/
  2. Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare, PRS Global Open, US National Library of Medicine
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5172479/
  3. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605218/
  4. The Development of Sugar-Based Anti-Melanogenic Agents. MDPI, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849039/
  5. Skin Care with Herbal Exfoliants, Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology, ResearchGate.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224892687_Skin_Care_with_Herbal_Exfoliants
  6. Honey as a Complementary Medicine. Integrative Medicine Insights, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5406168/
  7. A Fairer Face, a Fairer Tomorrow? A Review of Skin Lighteners. MDPI.
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/48d7/6c8cea60d6873d73ddf8d173cb1b4b70271b.pdf
  8. Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health. MDPI, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/
  9. On the novel action of melanolysis by a leaf extract of Aloe vera and its active ingredient aloin, potent skin depigmenting agents. Planta Medica, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22495441
  10. Protective effect of Juglans regia L. against ultraviolet B radiation induced inflammatory responses in human epidermal keratinocytes. International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29655676
  11. Systemic skin whitening/lightening agents: What is the evidence? Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology.
    https://www.ijdvl.com/article.asp?issn=0378-6323;year=2013;volume=79;issue=6;spage=842;epage=846;aulast=Malathi
  12. Skin whitening agents: medicinal chemistry perspective of tyrosinase inhibitors. Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010116/
  13. Exploring cucumber extract for skin rejuvenation. African Journal of Biotechnology.
    https://academicjournals.org/article/article1380726732_Akhtar%2520et%2520al.pdf
  14. Sulfur-containing constituents and one 1H-pyrrole-2-carboxylic acid derivative from pineapple [Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.] fruit. Phytochemistry, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20843530/
  15. Critical review of Ayurvedic Varṇya herbs and their tyrosinase inhibition effect. Ancient Science of Life, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4623628/
  16. [Cigarette smoking and its influence on skin aging]. Przegla̧d lekarski, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23421102
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