10 Causes for Dull and Tired Skin & How to Treat it

10 Causes for Dull and Tired Skin & How to Treat it

10 Causes for Dull and Tired Skin & How to Treat it

Why does my skin look dull and tired all the time? Fact: we all want lush, glowing skin that looks like we’ve just woken up in a Disney film. You know what glow I am talking about, the one the magazines always mention when discussing gorgeous celebrities. Everyone from your postman to Emma Watson desire luminous skin. However, having radiant skin is not always possible. Sometimes dull skin is unavoidable, especially with the hectic lives we lead. 

Our skin sheds dead cells on a regular basis, but if this process is interrupted somehow or isn't functioning properly, your complexion can take on a dull skin and sickly appearance. There are many reasons this could be happening. Even things as minor as not cleansing properly can contribute to your skin becoming ashy. However, don’t worry too much. We are here to help you get your skin back on track. 

At Poko, we know how important good skin is, especially when it comes to self-confidence. Here, we’ll give you the lowdown on why your skin has lost its glow with a list of potential reasons, along with how you can regain your radiant skin with a few top tips

What is dull skin?

Dull skin is defined as skin that lacks shine and appears flat or uninteresting. In contrast to radiant skin, which is more translucent and uniformly reflects light, dull skin frequently has an uneven skin tone or texture, causing light to reflect less evenly.

Especially in winter months, you might find yourself staring into the bathroom mirror wondering “why does my skin look tired and old?” You might think you’re doing everything right, but your skin care routine could be missing a few key elements that are vital for skin with a healthy glow.

dull and tired skin

What causes dull skin?

To get your radiance back, you first need to look at our list of the ten most likely reasons your skin looks dull. If you feel like you've lost your glow, chances are one of the following are to blame.

  1. Ageing

One of the reasons the process of ageing is so dreaded is because of the havoc it wreaks on the skin. When you’re young, your skin is firm, plump and radiant thanks to an abundance of two essential proteins that maintain the skin’s structure: collagen and elastin. Unfortunately, their production slows down as you age, and your skin won’t have as much collagen and elastin as before. Furthermore, your skin’s hydration levels shift as you get older, making your skin drier. This, along with the years of accumulated sun overexposure and free radical damage, can result in dull skin, blotchy skin.

  1. Dead skin cells

Our skin naturally sheds millions of dead skin cells every day, leaving healthy skin in its place. However, sometimes dead skin cells build up on the skin. Not exfoliating or cleansing your skin correctly are some reasons this could happen. These piled up dead cells prevent your skin from reflecting light, making your skin looks dull. This can become increasingly common as you age, since your skin's ability to regenerate declines as you get older, causing dead skin cells to build up. 

  1. Dehydration

If you don’t drink enough water, the moisture level beneath your skin’s surface decreases, and your skin becomes dehydrated. Dehydration is easy to spot - sagging, roughness and wrinkling of the skin are all signs that point towards dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin is also less likely to repair itself, resulting in more noticeable marks from hyperpigmentation or acne scars. All of this combined makes skin look sallow and tired.

It's important to note that even if you have oily skin, your skin can still become dehydrated if not adequately moisturised or cared for. Dehydrated skin can also flake and experience breakouts, as the skin will produce an excess of oil to make up for the lack of hydration in the skin.

  1. Free radicals

Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells in the body and can have a devastating impact on the skin. The dirt and chemicals found in pollution create free radicals on the skin, damaging collagen and increasing pigment production. In short, free radicals speed up the signs of ageing in your skin, such as dullness resulting in dull skin.

  1. Lack of sleep

When you sleep, your skin repairs itself thanks to a rise in melatonin (the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle) levels and a decrease in cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Interrupted or lousy sleep can affect your skin and impact radiance.

Lack of sleep

Research shows that even just one night of bad sleep prevents skin cells from performing at their optimum level. Sleep deprivation can significantly reduce the skin’s radiance and can cause a loss of elasticity, exacerbating the appearance of wrinkles.

  1. Not removing makeup before bed

As you probably know by now, going to bed without removing your makeup is a big no-no. When you pass out without removing your makeup, you leave a layer of used makeup and dead skin cells on the skin's surface, preventing skin from breathing and repairing itself as you sleep. Besides leading to dull skin, wearing makeup to bed also heightens your risk of getting a nasty breakout and premature ageing. 

  1. Skipping SPF

Sun exposure is a major culprit for dull and tired skin. Exposing your skin to UV radiation results in the formation of free radicals. As mentioned above, free radicals damage collagen and increase pigmentation, leading to dull skin & uneven skin. Every time you skip SPF, even on cloudy days, your skin is vulnerable to sun damage.

  1. Stress

Stress is the cause or catalyst of almost every skin problem or condition. From breakouts to ashiness, stress is always present as a possible culprit. 

Have you ever noticed how you get pale when stressed? This happens because your fight-or-flight response kicks in when you're anxious and diverts blood away from your face to the rest of your body. Because of the lack of blood in your face, your skin will look lifeless.

Stress also causes cortisol to increase, impacting blood flow and skin repair. This prevents skin cells from functioning properly and leaves skin looking haggard.  

  1. Unhealthy lifestyle

Leading a healthy lifestyle is vital if you want luminous skin. Smoking, eating too many processed foods, not exercising, and drinking alcohol can significantly impact your skin’s health and brightness. What you put into your body shows on your skin, so ensure you eat healthily and quit any harmful habits such as smoking.

  1. Using too much matte makeup

While using matte makeup is a great way to ensure your skin doesn’t get oily quickly, it is not a good idea to use it too often. You may be using it to avoid your face looking like an oil slick come 3 pm, but by doing this, you are also causing your skin to lose its radiance. You are basically absorbing the glow as well by absorbing the oil, since it is our skin’s natural oils that nourish our skin and add to its radiance.

Now that you know what causes dullness, here are a few top tips for treating (and avoiding) it.

How to treat dull and tired skin?

Avoiding and treating dull skin is not the ordeal you may think it is. Your skin can go from washed out to vibrant in just a few simple steps.

  1. Incorporate antioxidants into your skincare routine

Antioxidants are molecules that protect your skin from free radicals in various ways. For starters, they shield the skin from harmful environmental factors such as UV radiation, which can cause dull, dry skin. Antioxidants like vitamin C, protect the skin from UV rays by neutralising free radicals and preventing them from causing dark skin tone marks, fine lines and a sallow appearance. Antioxidants such as vitamin c also penetrate the skin and repair damage that leads to dullness.

Antioxidants chart

Introducing antioxidants into your skincare routine is one of the best things you can do for your skin and is super simple. Simply look for products containing ingredients such as:

  • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) 

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) 

  • Vitamin A derivatives (retinyl palmitate)

Alternatively, you could look for products that contain plant and fruit extracts, as these are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C , E and A.

For Vitamin C try out our Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser


For Vitamin A try out our  Soothing Serum
  1. Remove makeup before bed

We don’t mean to harp on about the taboo of wearing makeup to bed, but it is crucial to avoid doing so. As mentioned before, the used makeup and dead cells clog your pores and form a mask that smothers your skin. At night, you have to take extra care when washing your skin to ensure you get rid of the dirt and grime accumulated during the day. Going to bed without removing makeup will stop your skin from regenerating while you sleep and could lead to nasty breakouts and irritation that strip skin of its radiance. Make sure you remove your makeup properly, or you can say goodbye to glowing skin.

  1. Remember your SPF

When it comes to sun overexposure, prevention is key. Never go a day without slathering on SPF after moisturiser. Even if you are staying indoors, you should be applying a good sun cream. UVA rays & UVB Rays can penetrate through clothing and even windows, damaging your skin cells without you realising it. This damage leads to a dull, uneven skin tone complexion and prematurely ages skin. While it is almost impossible to avoid all sun exposure, you can limit the damage by using a good SPF.

  1. Hydrate your skin

To stay hydrated inside and out, you need to ensure that you are drinking enough water every day and eating food with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables. However, if you somehow find your skin is dehydrated, boost your skincare routine and avoid a lacklustre complexion by incorporating as many hydrating factors as possible. We recommend using a moisturiser that draws moisture out of the air into your skin, such as our Light Hydrating Moisturiser. Non-comedogenic, the Light Hydrating Moisturiser hydrates skin without blocking pores and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. 

  1. Cleanse and exfoliate 

To get rid of all the built-up dead skin cells and clogged pores, it is essential to wash your face morning and night. We suggest double cleansing at night to make sure you remove every last trace of dirt that accumulated throughout the day. Use makeup remover, micellar water or oil cleanser to remove makeup and then follow with a cleanser such as Poko’s Purifying Gel Cleanser. Containing niacinamide, AHAs, and hyaluronic acid, the Purifying Gel Cleanser encourages skin cell growth and diminishes blemishes, leaving behind even, radiant skin.

Woman exfoliating skin

Our AHA Exfoliating Treatment is another excellent addition to your skincare routine. Exfoliating your skin regularly is essential to slough away dull skin, dead cells and stimulate the skin below. The AHA Exfoliating Treatment is formulated with a unique AHA combination that removes dead cells and fights against fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and scars - all of which would lead to dullness and dull skin. 

Beat dull skin and tired skin with Poko

It’s time to regain your glow. Life is too short to have ‘meh’ skin. If you want to fast track the process of recovering your radiance, why not try our Glow-Up Skincare Gift Set? This set includes three Poko favourites guaranteed to help fight dullness and brighten skin: the Brightening Rosewater Toner, Correcting Eye Cream, and Luxury Facial Oil


As you can see, dull skin is not the end of the world. With a few simple steps and premium CBD Cream products, your skin will glow like never before. 

If you liked reading this, read our blog on the Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles

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