How to banish lacklustre skin and get that enviable glow

Glowing skin is all the rage – you just have to spend two minutes on Instagram to realise that matte, cakey makeup has moved over to make room for natural, dewy complexions instead. Glowy, Instagram-able skin wouldn’t be what it is without plenty of highlighter, but there’s no denying that a natural glow far outweighs the ones we create with makeup.

Lacklustre and dull skin is very common in South Africa and an increasing number of women look for foundation and other makeup products to cover ashy complexions. We believe in tackling the root of skin concerns before trying to cover them up, but what exactly causes the skin to become dull?

The causes
Like with all skin concerns, there are various different factors that could lead to dullness. The most common one, is dead skin cells. Our skin constantly sheds dead and dry skin cells, but if this process is not working optimally, the complexion may take on a dull appearance. Millions of tiny skin cells shed every day and not all of them fall off naturally. If you don’t do anything to remove these cells, the build-up will result in a grey-ish tint on the skin. This build-up also prevents the skin from reflecting light, resulting in a typical lacklustre appearance.

Sleep-deprived? Not maintaining a healthy diet? Smoking? Unhealthy lifestyle choices have a major effect on your skin’s ability to glow. As do pollution, smog and fossil fuels. And who would have thought, but even the sun plays a role. In some cases, stress and hormonal fluctuations are also to blame.

The solutions

To get rid of those dead skin cells that build up on the skin’s surface, we recommend a gentle exfoliation once or twice a week. A gentle facial exfoliator, a vitamin A (retinol) serum and professional peels every couple of weeks should all do the trick. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this may damage the skin’s barrier and lead to sensitivity and dehydration.

Drinking plenty of water is a common tip for beating dullness, and for good reason. Water ensures skin stays hydrated from the inside and increases the volume of blood flow to the skin’s surface, which is responsible for a dewy glow. If too little blood flow reaches the skin, it may appear pale and dull. You can also increase the skin’s hydration levels by applying a hydrating moisturiser twice a day. Look out for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides to ensure your skin gets plenty of moisture.

Change up your lifestyle
A healthier lifestyle won’t just give you glowing skin; it will also slow down the signs of ageing, give you more energy and increase longevity. To increase blood flow to the surface of the skin and increase its radiance, give up smoking, eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg, avoid oily, salty and processed foods, get plenty of exercise and stick to a daily skincare routine.

Invest in vitamin C and SPF
Although dullness is not the same as pigmentation, discolourations on the skin may also contribute to its dull appearance. To brighten the skin and help fade discolouration, we recommend using a vitamin C serum or moisturiser in the morning. Not only is vitamin C a powerful antioxidant that fights harmful free radicals, but it’s also a great pollution-fighter, making it ideal for beating dullness when you live in the city.

The key in finding a solution to dull skin is to first determine what is causing it. Sometimes this can be done very easily, simply by looking at the causes and identifying the likeliest possibility. Other times, it may be near impossible to determine without an expert’s input. If your skin is stubborn and just won’t shed its ashy appearance, we recommend paying a visit to Skin Renewal. Their team of experts will help identify the cause of your dull skin, and determine which products and treatments will get you glowing again.

This post was sponsored by Skin Renewal.

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