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How to brighten dull skin and boost radiance

How to brighten dull skin and boost radiance

23 Aug 2023

Radiance is a hallmark of youthful, healthy-looking skin and sometimes the complexion can use a brightening boost. In addition to skin discoloration, several factors can contribute to a dull appearance, but knowing how to brighten skin with smart every-day choices and the proper skincare regimen can help restore a lit-from-within glow.


When trying to figure out how to brighten your skin, it can be helpful to identify what’s causing your dullness. Among the possible reasons are a buildup of dead cells that prevents fresh, new cells from reaching the skin’s surface, debris and pollution that accumulate on the skin throughout the day, and lifestyle choices – as dehydration, a less-than-ideal diet, and lack of sleep can all contribute to dull-looking skin.


Brightening the appearance of your skin can be as simple as making a few tweaks to your daily routine.

  • Stay hydrated. The skin (and the body as a whole) need adequate hydration to perform their best. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s also wise to limit alcohol consumption as its dehydrating effects can impact the skin.
  • Mind your diet. The quality of the foods we put into our bodies can have an effect on the appearance of the skin, and healthy choices can help enhance radiance from the inside out. Omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish (such as salmon), chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseed can help brighten dull skin by reinforcing the skin barrier, reducing inflammation, and encouraging the production of new cells.1
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity boosts circulation to help deliver essential nutrients to every cell within the body—including those in the skin.
  • Prioritize sleep. A lack of sleep can have an array of negative effects on the skin, including impairing the skin barrier and decreasing collagen production.2 The skin uses this downtime to regenerate itself, and without enough sleep the skin can appear dull and tired-looking.


In addition to healthy habits, a proper skincare regimen can help improve the appearance of dullness and promote skin radiance. It’s especially important to wash your face at the end of the day to thoroughly remove the debris and pollution that can contribute to skin dullness.

Exfoliation is one of the most effective ways to improve dull skin, and there are several ways to reduce the buildup of dead skin cells. Exfoliating cleansers, serums, other skincare treatments that contain alpha-hydroxy acids are a proven way to reveal glowing, healthy-looking skin. In addition to chemical exfoliation with acids, physical exfoliation manually sweeps away dead cells. (Learn more about the difference between physical and chemical exfoliation here.)

If you're wondering how to brighten dull skin, consider these proven SkinCeuticals products.

C E Ferulic: Vitamin C has been proven to brighten the skin on its own, and the addition of vitamin E and ferulic acid makes this daily antioxidant serum even more effective. Proven to provide superior protection against damaging environmental free radicals, this potent, award-winning serum also helps improve visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles as well as loss of firmness.

Discoloration Defense: In addition to dark spots and uneven skin tone, discoloration can lead to a dull appearance as well. This daily corrective serum features a synergistic blend of 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES to effectively improve the appearance of skin discoloration, uneven skin tone, and overall brightness in as little as two weeks.

Retinol: This highly effective ingredient increases cellular renewal. It helps improve discoloration and brighten the skin by promoting the shedding of dull, damaged cells and bringing fresh, new cells to the surface. SkinCeuticals offers three retinol concentrations for new users and skin that has already demonstrated retinol tolerance.

Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight: With a free-acid value of 10% glycolic acid, this nighttime treatment accelerates cellular renewal to promote skin clarity and brightness. The effective exfoliating formula features a triple-action soothing complex to support the skin barrier, and it can be used as an alternative to retinol for cell renewal through exfoliation.

Daily Brightening UV Defense SPF 30: This multi-tasking daily sunscreen offers broad-spectrum chemical-based sun protection and a blend of 1% tranexamic acid, 2% niacinamide, and 0.3% phenylethyl resorcinol to target existing discoloration. The hydrating formula is also infused with mica to provide all skin tones with an instant brightening boost.


There are several professional in-office treatments that can improve dull skin and restore its radiant glow—as well as address other skin concerns such as acne, discoloration, and visible signs of aging. Including chemical peels, laser treatments, and more, professional treatments that brighten dull skin also enhance the results achieved with skincare at home.

To discover how to brighten your skin with skincare or learn more about professional treatments, use our online Regimen Finder, visit one of our SkinCeuticals SkinLab locations, or schedule an appointment with a SkinCeuticals Skincare Professional for a one-on-one consultation.

1 Cao C, Xiao Z, Wu Y, Ge C. Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients. 2020; 12(3):870.
2 Kahan, V., Andersen, M. L., Tomimori, J., & Tufik, S. (2010). Can poor sleep affect skin integrity?. Medical Hypotheses, 75(6), 535-537.


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