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Brighten a Dull Complexion

You want to present the best face possible to the world. To many people, a bright, glowing complexion often means health and happiness. When your complexion looks dull and ashen, however, the face you present might suggest that you're tired, worn down, ill or even older than you are.


On top of being the largest organ in your body, your skin is the most significant feature of your face and serves as a major indicator of overall physical health. If your skin looks sallow, don't give up. Turn away from the mirror and find out what you can do to restore a healthy, more youthful glow to your face. Diet changes, skin care products and a dermatologist's care all can help brighten a dull complexion.

Cosmetic procedures are not the only remedy for unhealthy skin, nor are they the most effective. In fact, staying hydrated remains one of the simplest and least expensive ways to maintain skin health. A healthy diet can greatly improve your complexion, too. Recent studies are beginning to link choices in diet and overall skin health, and scientists believe that certain foods aggravate some skin conditions while others increase skin health. Healthy foods that are rich in nutrients most likely strengthen skin cells and skin tissue, promoting a robust complexion [source: Science Daily].

Other non-surgical ways of rejuvenating your skin include moisturizing, exfoliating and, if you decide to, wearing the right makeup. The following pages will explore ways in which you can remedy a dull complexion and improve the overall health of your skin. As with all physiological concerns and conditions, you may want to consult your doctor to learn the best possible solutions for your individual skin type and well-being.

Read on to learn more about the ways in which your lifestyle impacts the face you put on every day.

Complexion-Brightening Procedures

If you still feel dull and ashen, it may be time to see the dermatologist. Doctors may suggest a chemical peel, dermabrasion or laser surgery. To make an informed decision, you should understand what happens during each of these skin resurfacing procedures.

Chemical peels are exactly what they sound like -- a doctor applies one or more chemicals to your skin to peel back a dead or dying layer and reveal the brighter layer underneath. Chemical peels may also help reduce lines and acne scars and even skin pigment. They do carry risks, however. Any chemical can be harmful, and the substances used in chemical peels can cause blistering and scarring or change your skin tone. If you decide that you want to try chemical peels, be sure to have a doctor perform the procedure. Even though some states permit others to apply chemical peels, doctors are best equipped to deal with any complications and give you appropriate information [source: Ohio State University Medical Center].

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning surgically scrape the skin, and doctors usually reserve them for deeper skin problems, such as acne scarring. If you simply want to perk up your skin, dermabrasion and dermaplaning may not be the best solution for you.

Microdermabrasion is likely a better choice for skin brightening. Instead of scraping the skin, surgeons use a tool that sprays tiny abrasive crystals over the skin; a vacuum removes the dead layer of skin. You will not notice a difference immediately with microdermabrasion. Swelling and crusty skin is normal, followed by several weeks of redness.

Laser surgery goes deeper than microdermabrasion, and doctors mainly reserve the procedure for acne scarring and sun-damaged skin with wrinkles. Laser surgery uses light waves to vaporize the top layer of skin, exposing new skin beneath. As with any surgery, there are preoperative and postoperative steps you have to take, and you should discuss potential risks with a qualified doctor before making a decision [source: American Academy of Facial, Plastic and

Reconstructive Surgery].

If you can't or don't want to change your skin, then you have one more option. On the next page, learn some easy makeup tips to hide dull skin.