Lifeless skin is a major bummer. So, where does dull skin come from?
Dry, ashy and blotchy skin tones occur due to various factors, and can often be an indication of your body’s general health. If your skin appears dull and tired, it could be due to the reasons below.
The heart and blood vessels are responsible for maintaining a continuous flow of blood throughout the body. This provides all the body’s tissues with a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients, and carries away carbon dioxide and other waste products. When blood circulation is poor, an inadequate flow of blood to a particular area of the body can result in too little oxygen being delivered. In the face, when circulation is poor, blood may not reach the outermost layers of the skin, leaving you with a dull, ashy or pallid complexion.
The skin is constantly shedding cells – dead skin cells on the face are completely natural. When skin cells die, new cells are brought to the surface, bringing with them the moisture and lipids that bring a healthy glow to your face. However, if cell turnover is slow due to age or other factors, dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface of the face, creating a barrier that blocks the skin-brightening effects of blood vessels, causing your complexion to look dull. Excessive oil production can also disrupt the skin’s natural shedding process.
As we age, many of our skin’s natural functions become less vigorous: blood capillaries diminish and cellular renewal slows down. Collagen synthesis decreases and the skin loses the ability to retain texture, firmness, moisture and tone. Plus, cell turnover starts to slow down after the age of 30, leaving dead skin cells to build up.
Smoking restricts blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach your skin, resulting in an ashy complexion or an unhealthy greyish skin tone, as well as wrinkles, sallowness and general aging of skin. This is known as “smoker’s face”. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which displaces the oxygen supplied to in the skin, and nicotine, which has been reported to reduce blood flow, leaving skin dry and discolored. Cigarette smoking also depletes many nutrients, including natural anti-oxidants such as vitamin C, which help protect and repair skin damage.
A proper diet and vibrant skin are closely related. As skin is an organ, it requires appropriate nourishment to maintain its health and appearance. If you are eating foods that are rich in fats, preservatives and salt, you bring toxins into your body that depletes water out of your skin cells. Not drinking enough fluids, and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol also sap your skin of the moisture it requires to stay bright and supple.
Pollution is one of the main sources of skin damage as toxic free-radicals in the air can cause skin to age prematurely, particularly on the face. Exposure to daily pollution can actually cause reactions in the skin that inhibit the way it builds and repairs itself. In addition to pollution, dirt and sun exposure can strip the skin of moisture, making it appear dry and rough. Dry weather, particularly in arid climates and during winter time, may also cause the skin to look dry and flakey as it loses its natural moisture.
Everything from water intake to an age-related decline in facial skin-cell turnover can contribute to how bright your complexion is. Once you evaluate your way of life to determine the causes of your lifeless complexion, and learn the best way to go about treating dull skin,you’ll be on your way to maintaining a healthy-looking complexion.