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Dull skin, dark spots? Try these Dermat-approved solutions

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No matter what you try, sometimes you simply can’t escape those pesky dark spots, dull patches and all-around meh-ness ...yes, we’ve all been there. So, when nothing seems to work, you need to call in the bigwigs a.k.a skincare experts. Lucky for you, we got in touch with Dr. Jaishree Sharad, Medical Director, Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic to give us the 411 on how to reach your #GlowGoals. Because let’s be real, the more help we have, the better.

What causes skin dullness?

Villain #1: Stress! Stress! Stress!

You and your skin need to chill out! A chaotic lifestyle elevates levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which affects blood flow to the skin and affects skin repair. Also, when you’re stressed, your skin secretes more oil and you will notice pimples pop up as your oil glands go haywire. Bottom line: Stress management is key.

Villain #2: Lack of moisture

If you’re dehydrated, your skin will be too. Dehydration decreases blood volume and flow to the skin, which can make you look pale and dull. Long story short: If you want to get glowing, drink up! Eight glasses of H20 every day is perfect to turn that dehydration station around.

Villain #3: Environmental elements

Air pollutants, UV rays, and humidity can cause havoc on your unprotected skin. UV exposure can make the skin more susceptible to pigmentary changes and leave you with an uneven skin tone. So, go on, slather on the SPF.

Villain #4: Unhealthy lifestyle

Eat smart! A diet filled with junk food, sugars, and milk products can seriously impact your skin—we’re talking acne and skin dullness. They break down the collagen and elastin over time and leave you with a dreary complexion. And if you are a smoker, take heed! The harmful chemicals present in cigarettes make the skin more prone to UV damage and can destroy the skin's structural framework, i.e. collagen and elastin. The end result? Wrinkles and fine lines.

Villain #5: No Beauty Sleep

Skimp on sleep and your complexion will pay the price. How you ask? Well...when you’re in dreamland your skin goes into “renew and repair” mode and fixes the damage caused during the day. Not to mention, lack of zzzz can also lead to fluid retention in certain pockets of the skin which can cause puffy eyes.

Villain #6: Out of control hormones

Our hormones affect everything - from our mood, food cravings to our skin. Fluctuating hormone levels during puberty, menopause, PCOS, pregnancy can cause major changes in skin texture and structural integrity which can then lead to dark patches and breakouts.

Six Ingredients To Achieve Your Glow Goals

Glow Giver #1: Vitamin C

If you guessed Vitamin C, then you’re 100% correct! This antioxidant protects your skin from free radicals and minimises the damage that you cannot see. Here’s everything it does—strengthens skin's barrier, speeds up collagen production & fights fine lines and wrinkles. Besides reducing dark spots and brightening up your visage. Yes, it does that too.

Glow Giver #2: Azelaic Acid

Dr. Sharad counts on this unsung hero, Azelaic Acid to brighten your skin tone while improving the evenness of your skin texture. Found in grains like barley and rye, this exfoliating acid can help fade some of the marks left behind after acne and reduce the look of blemishes. But, be warned: It’s not the best bet for dry and sensitive skin types.

Glow Giver #3: Kojic Acid

Kojic Acid is often used to zap dark spots and brown patches from acne. It works by blocking the production of melanin in your skin, i.e., the pigment that causes skin to darken. So, with less melanin production, your dark spots will become less visible and the existing melanin will be broken down naturally.

Glow Giver #4: Arbutin

Like Kojic Acid, Arbutin goes to work on dark spots, acne scars and patchy skin. Its ability to penetrate the epidermal layer and stop melanin production makes it the perfect spot-fading treatment. What’s more: It’s gentler than other skin brighteners and is well-tolerated amongst all skin types. Also, it’s gentle enough to be used in combination with Vitamin C and other AHAs—we’re talking Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid.

Glow Giver #5: Liquorice

This natural skin brightener contains active chemicals that restrict tyrosinase, the enzyme that causes pigmentation. It also does an outstanding job at tackling age spots, sun damage and melasma. Not to mention, it is fantastic for calming redness and inflammation, making it a fool-proof option for sensitive skin.

Glow Giver #6: Niacinamide

If you’re struggling with dark spots, uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation, definitely give skin brightening Niacinamide a try. It will keep your melasma from going off the rails, thanks to the fact that it regulates pigment production and keeps skin looking radiant and even-toned.

Dr Jaishree Sharad

International mentor, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery

Board of Directors, International Society of Aesthetic and Dermatologic Surgery

Medical Director, Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, Mumbai

Editor in Chief, Aesthetic Dermatology, Current Perspectives ( Jaypee medical Publishers)

Author, Skin Talks ( Penguin Random House Publishers )

Author, Skin Rules (Penguin Random House Publishers )

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