Dull skin essentially refers to a lack of radiance in the skin where it typically loses the ability to reflect light effectively, due to the build up of dead skin cells on the surface. Dull skin can appear dry, lacklustre, ashy and uneven.
Skin is made up of three layers, the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis, all three of which vary significantly in their anatomy and function. The epidermis constantly renews itself, with the new cells being made in the lower layers of the epidermis. These move to the surface within four weeks, with the dead skin cells falling away naturally as tiny flakes of skin, or they are removed by skincare activities such as washing and exfoliation. This process keeps the skin smooth, creating an environment for light to reflect more easily and evenly. If the skin is dry and covered with dead skin cells, the light scatters instead of being reflected, leaving it with a dull appearance
Dull skin can also be caused by ageing – as collagen is poorly renewed and the pace of cell renewal decreases as we get older, thus making the glowing effect on skin harder to achieve.
Not getting enough sleep also has an impact by reducing the ability of the skin barrier to hydrate itself and produce collagen, leading to dull skin.
Over exposure to the sun can also dull then skin by drying it out and depleting its levels of essential fatty acids, leaving skin looking and feeling dry, flaky and rough. Sun damage also slows down the rate of skin cell renewal, causing a build-up of old, dead skin cells that result in dull, congested skin.
By ensuring the stratum corneum (skins uppermost layer) is adequately moisturised and relatively free of dead skin cells, it appears more translucent and reflects light more evenly, leaving skin to glow.