What is dull skin?

Dull skin refers to the lack of shine and lustre of the skin making you look tired and unhealthy.  The appearance of your skin depends on how light bounces off your skin.  Pigmentation, unevenness, blemishes and pimples can contribute to the appearance of dull skin.

Such factors are dependent on how much sun-exposure you’ve had, your hormonal system and genetics. This in turn affects how quickly your skin cells turn over, the variability of pigmentation and the right amount of oil production. At times, insufficient exfoliation and accumulation of dirt and debris can contribute to the appearance of dull skin. Dull skin tends to affect patients that are usually over 20 years of age and may significantly impact on self-esteem.


What causes dull skin?

1 The natural ageing process

As your skin ages, the speed of surface cell renewal slows down. This can result in a build-up of dead skin cells on the surface of your face. This results in the natural glow of your skin being hidden so your facial skin looks dull. In addition to this, production of collagen and other components in the deeper layers is slowed down and reversed as you age.  Collagen is a natural protein in your skin that provides strength and elasticity creating healthy and youthful looking skin. During your 20’s collagen production starts to decrease leading to a slowing down of skin cell growth. The underlying structures of the skin are just as important as the top layer of the skin in determining how light bounces of your skin.  The firmer and taught your facial skin, the less likely you are to have dull skin.

2 Variable pigmentation

Dull skin can also occur because of pigmentation issues of the skin.  Melanin is the skins pigment and its production is determined by sun-exposure, genetics and hormonal changes. When there is patchy pigmentation due to conditions such as melasma or solar lentigines, light is absorbed and reflected to varying levels and the skin of your face can appear dull.

3 Dry skin

If your skin is dry as a result of pre-existing eczema or changes in the weather or indoor heating, your skin can look dull and lack lustre.

4 Inadequate hydration of your skin

If you have been skipping your moisturising routine or haven’t been using the right products, your skin may look dull. Hydration of your skin is imperative from the top layer of the skin to the lower parts the skin and subcutis. An effective moisturiser for your skin type and condition will help your skin cells reflect light better and appear glowing and youthful. You may benefit from seeing our dermal therapist or the pharmacists of Skin Plus Pharmacy next door to our facility for further guidance to help you choose the right products for your skin type. In addition to this, dermal filler injections with hyaluronic acid also plump the skin allowing the skin to shine.  Skin Boosters, which are lightweight filler injections, are a great way to boost the appearance of your otherwise dull skin.

5 You are not exfoliating regularly

A regular exfoliation routine is essential for healthy and youthful looking skin. Sloughing dead skin cells from the surface of your face with an appropriate exfoliation product can make your skin appear brighter.

6 Not cleansing your skin appropriately

We know there will be times when you’re too tired and exhausted to remove makeup before sleeping. Making sure you remove all your makeup before bed will help you avoid clogged skin pores, which can make your skin look dull. There are many toxins and pollutants in the environment that also need to be removed morning and night. This is best done with an appropriate cleanser for your skin type.  If you do not suffer from dry skin or eczema, a cleanser with alpha and beta-hydroxy acids may be the best way to go.

8 You are using the wrong skincare and makeup products

If you are using the same skincare and makeup products you were using a few years ago (or longer), it may be time to change. Using skincare products that don’t address your skin type and condition can result in dull skin. If you’re using matte foundation and your skin is dry, it will make your face look flat. We can help you choose the most appropriate skincare products for you.


How to reduce the likelihood of dull skin occurring

While dull skin is sometimes thought as a side effect of getting older, you can prevent it happening. Using sun protection everyday combined with effective medical and prescription grade cosmeceuticals can protect and strengthen your skin as it ages.


Treatments for dull skin

If you have a dull complexion, it can affect your self-confidence. We take the time to thoroughly assess your daily skin care habits and lifestyle to find out what may be causing your dull skin. Once we have isolated a cause/s of your dull skin, we use a combination of topical skin care and cosmetic and laser treatments to safely and effectively enhance the appearance of your skin.


Topical skin care for dull skin

Also known as Vitamin B3, Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that can visibly improve uneven skin tone, dullness, enlarged pores and fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide also plays a role in repairing skin damage while protecting the skin from environmental damage. This helps your skin look healthier and more youthful.


When you use skin care products with Vitamin C, your skin tone evens while preventing the development of fine lines and wrinkles. The proven antioxidant properties of Vitamin C can also protect your skin from environmental pollution, improve hydration and helps your skin glow with health.


Retinoids (a form of Vitamin A) are an essential ingredient to help restore your skin’s youthful appearance. Using skin care products with retinoids can improve the tone and texture of your skin while promoting a firmer and healthier look. The effects of over the counter retinols can take up to 12 months to appear whereas prescription retinoids act much faster. So be mindful about wasting your time and money purchasing expensive cosmeceutical grade retinols when higher-grade dermatologist level retinoids can give you so much more benefit at a much lower cost. Retinoids should not be used in pregnancy.


Our topical skin care solutions for dull skin include:

  • Cleansers containing AHA’s and BHA’s
  • Facial creams with high strength niacinamide, prescription strength Vitamin A, Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants.
  • Prescription cosmeceuticals dispensed from Skin Plus Compounding Pharmacy next door to our clinic
Cosmetic and laser treatments for dull skin

Our cosmetic and laser treatments for dull skin include:

  • CO2 laser: The gold standard for laser cosmetic treatments that emits a laser beam that’s absorbed by your skin to rejuvenate it.
  • RF micro-needling: This uses a combination of micro-needling and radiofrequency (RF) energy to improve fine lines and wrinkles, tighten skin and improve skin elasticity. It is important that well-trained professionals using medical grade, robust devices rather than shopping centre grade equipment and poor training do this treatment. We are highly trained in this technique and use a highly effective RF device.
  • Laser Genesis: This laser treatment pulses micro-beams of laser energy into the dermis, just below your skin’s surface to decrease redness, shrink enlarged pores, soften fine lines and wrinkles and can even calm the appearance of rosacea.
  • Chemical peels: Our range of chemical peels range from mild glycolic peels to Jessner’s peels to help improve and even out skin tone.
  • Dermal fillers: Our dermal filler treatment helps your skin absorb and retain moisture, making it look more youthful and healthier. This can help lift dull skin to obtain the ‘light reflex’ and reduce your dull skin.
  • LED phototherapy: LED is widely used to heal and rejuvenate the skin. It effectively stimulates collagen and reduces red and dull skin to restore healthy glowing skin.
  • Pigment laser: This laser treatment reduces skin pigmentation that occurs as a result of excessive melanin production. Our pigment laser treatment reduces skin discolouration and evens out dull skin tone resulting in a natural youthful radiance.


At Melbourne Skin & Dermatology our high-quality specialist skin services are tailored for each patient. Our highly skilled team of dermatologists, dermal therapist and cosmetic nurse are committed to improving your skin condition.

Request your appointment today.

Specialist Skin Services

As an all-round specialist dermatology clinic, we work with our patients to achieve their goals and always maintain professional standards.

Scroll to Top