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9 minutes

Does the skin on your face look dull and tired? Do you miss having a radiant complexion? Don’t worry, Olay is here to help. Get the lowdown on what causes dull skin and how to regain your glow-rious complexion with our five top tips on how to brighten dull skin.

What is dull skin?

Dull skin is skin that looks lacklustre, flat, or even grey, and may even feel rough or bumpy to the touch. What causes dull skin? It’s the result of dead skin cell build-up on the surface of your skin, and it can happen at any age and in any weather.

Why does your skin look dull?

To get back your skin’s original lit-from-within look, it’s crucial to understand why your complexion may have lost its healthy radiance. Dull skin can be caused by:

  • Dead skin cells.
    You shed millions of dead skin cells each day, which can pile up on top of each other like dust particles on a surface. This layer of dead skin prevents your skin from reflecting light and can give your face a more ashy look. As you age, your skin’s surface renewal ability declines, causing an increase in the build-up of dead skin cells.

  • Free radicals.
    Pollution doesn’t just affect your lungs, but your skin, too. The dirt and sulfur dioxide in the air create free radicals (unstable molecules that cause damage to the cells in your body) on your skin, damage collagen and stimulate pigment production, causing your complexion to look tired and drab.

  • Stress.
    When you’re stressed, your fight-or-flight response kicks in, diverting blood flow from your face to other parts of your body, such as your muscles, resulting in a less lively, dull look.

  • Lack of sleep.
    While you sleep, your skin has the chance to renew and repair itself. This occurs thanks to an increase in your body’s melatonin levels, a release of human growth hormone that enables tissue repair, and the decrease of cortisol, which is your body’s stress hormone. Just a few bad night’s sleep are enough for the visible signs of fatigue to appear, and this can include having a dull complexion.

  • Dehydration.
    When you don’t drink enough water or if the weather is especially dry outside (say, during wintertime), the amount of moisture below your skin’s surface can decline, leaving you with skin that looks deflated and dull, instead of plump and bright.

  • Leaving your make-up on overnight.
    When you forget to remove your make-up before going to bed, you’re essentially preventing your skin from renewing itself by not letting your pores breathe. This can lead to irritation and premature ageing.

  • Skipping exfoliation.
    Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. If you’ve skipped this step in your skin care routine, this might be one of the reasons why your face looks dull and tired.

  • Unhealthy lifestyle.
    Smoking, a lack of exercise, and a diet consisting mainly of processed foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat can all wreak serious havoc on the brightness of your complexion.

6 simple steps that help brighten dull skin

Now that you know some of the factors that might contribute to your dull skin tone, it’s time to reclaim your innate brightness and do away with dullness once and for all, with some help from Olay.

Detox & Glow Daily Cleanser

Detox & Glow Daily Cleanser

Detox & Glow Daily Polish


Here are six skin tone brightening tips so that your skin achieves that healthy glow you crave:

1. Remove your make-up. To get rid of the built-up dirt and oil clogging your pores, wash your face morning and night. At night you need to be extra careful to remove make-up and grime. Try Olay Cleanse Detox & Glow Daily Polish Cleanser. It lifts away dirt and caked-in make-up, leaving your skin clean, refreshed and radiant-looking.

2. Moisturise. No matter the weather, apply a moisturiser with sun protection that helps blocks both UVA and UVB rays, such as Olay Regenerist Whip SPF 30.

Regenerist Whip Light Moisturiser With SPF30




3. Exfoliate. Exfoliating a few times a week allows new skin cells to emerge, revealing a radiant glow. You can exfoliate in many different ways, from washcloths to skin cleansing brushes.

4. Incorporate Vitamin C into your beauty routine. Vitamin C is a nutrient-rich antioxidant known for its powerful skin-brightening and anti-aging capabilities that helps neutralise free radicals and limit the damage caused by excessive sun exposure, amongst other things.
In addition to following a diet rich in ascorbic acid, get an extra boost of skin-brightening Vitamin C by using the Olay Vitamin C + AHA24 Gel Face Cream. Its breakthrough formula contains Vitamin C combined with Lactic Acid and Niacinamide to strengthen your skin barrier.

Olay Vitamin C + AHA24 Day Gel Face Cream

Vitamin C Day Cream Face Moisturiser + AHA



5. Pamper yourself with a face mask. For the ultimate brightening bedtime nourishment, consider adding a face mask to your skin care routine. Olay Regenerist Overnight Miracle Firming Mask intensely hydrates your skin throughout the night, leaving it moisturised, looking firmer, lifted and smoother.

6. Change your habits. For more healthy-looking skin, try to consume high-fibre and high-protein foods that are rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids; put down your cigarettes for good; and enhance circulation to your skin by throwing in a couple of cardio workouts during the week.

For an even livelier complexion, browse our skin care products that are designed for dull skin and add Olay Regenerist Luminous to your skin care routine, a lightweight serum that gives you glowing and fresh-looking skin.

Perfect your skin-brightening regimen with Olay

Now that you know why your skin looks dull and how to regain your glow, it’s time to perfect your skin-brightening regimen. Check out our article on how to cleanse your face for an effective step-by-step guide, because cleansing your skin is the cornerstone of glowing, radiant skin. You’ve got this!


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