The combination of time, environmental damage, and bad beauty habits can take a toll on your complexion. Learn what you can do to get your glow back.
As you age, your skin becomes thinner and can begin to look tired. Environmental damage also can take the glow out of your complexion and leave you with dull skin. If you find yourself yearning for the dewiness of younger skin, there are ways to help restore the glow to your complexion.
Bad Habits Lead to Dull Skin
Your skin begins to age as early as your twenties. Skin starts to lose its elastic qualities and dead cells do not slough off as quickly, leaving you with dull, dry skin that has lost its glow. In addition to normal aging and your own genetics, factors that can cause your skin to appear dull include:
Sun exposure. Over time, too much sun exposure can damage your skin, causing it to appear rough, leathery, and blotchy. Sun exposure is more likely to lead to dull skin if you have a fair complexion.
Cigarette smoking. If you smoke cigarettes, the normal age-related changes in your skin happen even faster. People who smoke are more likely to develop a yellowish tint to their skin, and their skin often appears more leathery than that of nonsmokers.
Low humidity. If you're exposed to low humidity year-round because of overheating in winter and air-conditioning in summer, your skin can be left feeling dry and itchy.
Stress. Being under stress can cause your skin to become drier and dull looking.
Product overuse. Using skin care products that dry your skin, which may include soaps, antiperspirants, and fragrances, can leave your skin looking lifeless.
How to Banish Dull Skin
There are many ways you can help achieve the appearance of younger skin, but the best way to avoid dullness is to prevent it. Follow these steps to prevent a drab complexion or regain your glow:
Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater every day, even if it's not particularly sunny; another option is to use a daily moisturizer with SPF 15.
Avoid sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds.
Keep out of direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm, when the sun's rays are the most intense — wear a stylish, wide-brimmed hat if you're taking a walk during your lunch hour.
If you smoke, stop; this can help improve your skin tone no matter how long you've been smoking.
Use a humidifier in your home and drink water throughout the day to help keep your skin hydrated.
Use mild facial cleansers instead of harsh soaps (or any soap you might use on the rest of your body) when you bathe.
Switch from water-based makeup and powder formulas to creams, especially for foundation and blusher.
Take lukewarm, rather than hot, baths and showers — and fewer of them — to avoid drying out your skin.
Techniques to Rejuvenate Your Complexion
You can take more serious action to help restore the glow of younger skin by:
Moisturizing. Use more targeted creams and moisturizers to give your skin back its younger look. Try over-the-counter products with alpha hydroxy acids or see a dermatologist for a prescription for Renova (or Retin-A if your skin is oily) to encourage cell turnover, brighten your complexion, and make it appear fresher.
Talking to your doctor. Sometimes dry skin can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Treating a health condition such as diabetes or kidney disease can sometimes help combat dull skin.
Consulting a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. If a change in skin care products isn't making enough impact, consider a medical approach to regaining the look of younger skin. Treatments include:
Chemical peel to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells, helping to restore the skin's glow and a more youthful appearance
Dermabrasion, a procedure to remove layers of dead skin and stimulate the deeper layer of skin (dermis) to rejuvenate, which will diminish the appearance of fine wrinkles
Laser resurfacing, a more aggressive procedure that uniformly removes a certain thickness of skin and exposes newer, fresher looking skin
If you're concerned about dull skin, consider all the options for helping restore your glow. Often, a few changes in your skin care routine can leave you with a fresher, younger-looking appearance.