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Remedies for Uneven Skin Tone
By Jill Levy
May 27, 2023
When it comes to helping to improve the appearance and health of your skin, you may have heard about the benefits of products that can help improve uneven skin tone appearance, such as niacinamide for example (or vitamin B3).
What does uneven skin tone look like exactly, and what causes it? It typically appears as dark patches, freckles or “age spots” on the skin that stand out due to being discolored. Unevenly toned skin can develop anywhere on the body, but most often it’s found on the face, neck, and hands — all areas that often get a lot of sun exposure.
How can you help even out the appearance of your skin tone? Find out below which products and dermatological treatments may help.
Uneven skin tone, also known as hyperpigmentation, describes the darkening of small patches of skin. It’s usually the result of an overproduction of cells known as melanocytes, as well as melanin, the pigment responsible for giving skin and hair its color.
You may be more likely to develop the appearance of uneven skin tone if your skin is medium to dark, due to having more melanin in your skin. There are six shades of skin tone— including pale, fair, medium, olive, brown and very dark brown/black. The middle three tones are most likely to develop hyperpigmentation, although it can occur with anyone.
What generally causes the appearance of uneven skin tone? Uneven skin tone can develop due to several factors, such as:
Sun overexposure: One of the primary causes of freckles and dark spots is sun overexposure (or exposure to UV light). The sun's ultraviolet rays can lead to an overproduction of melanin, which in turn can cause dark spots or a generally darker skin tone (aka “a tan”).
Normal hormonal fluctuations: Normal hormonal changes, such as pregnancy and menopause, can also cause an increase in melanin production, sometimes leading to changes in skin tone’s appearance.
The natural aging process: Normal aging skin regenerates less, leading to the appearance of age spots and more.
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help contribute to healthy, even-looking skin. Here are tips for helping to improve the appearance of one’s skin tone. However, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen.
A top summer skincare tip is using a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen with at least SPF 30+ to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Dermatologists recommend doing this every day, especially when spending time outdoors.
A balanced diet rich in antioxidants, greens, vitamins, and minerals can help promote healthy skin and skin tone. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, proteins such as fish and eggs, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds are all great for your skin.
Another convenient way to boost your intake of greens is to drink Organic Supergreens every day, which is made with ingredients such as grasses and berries. To help promote a healthy gut, which is linked to your skin’s health, eat probiotic-rich foods, too, and avoid sugary, processed products.
Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Dehydration can make your skin dry and lead to the appearance of fine lines and discoloration. Also eat hydrating foods like watermelon and citrus fruits.
Smoking and excessive alcohol can negatively impact your skin and contribute to a variety of skin outcomes, including the appearance of uneven skin tone.
Regular physical activity increases blood circulation, promotes detoxification, and helps promote a normal, healthy response to inflammation.
Your skin rejuvenates itself while you sleep; therefore, getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining healthy skin.
Maintaining a regular skincare routine — including cleansing, moisturizing, and exfoliating— can go a long way in keeping your skin’s overall tone and texture in good shape.
Use gentle, non-irritating products that are suitable for your skin type, such as soaps and lotions that are alcohol and fragrance-free. Also be sure to avoid picking at your skin, which can cause scarring and discoloration.
Many creams, serums and lotions are available that contain ingredients that can help to improve the appearance of skin tone. Here are some ingredients to consider adding to your skincare routine:
Helps to support an overall healthy skin barrier, fight dullness and reduce redness.
Acts as an antioxidant to help promote healthy skin. In addition to applying vitamin C serum to your skin, aim to consume more from your diet or vitamin C supplements to help support your body’s natural production of collagen.
Used to even skin’s tone, promote healthy skin texture, and promote skin’s healthy, normal aging.
Can act as an exfoliant, and may help to reduce melanin production and therefore improve the appearance of skin tone.
This skin-lightening agent can help reduce the appearance of dark spots; however, it should be used with caution as it can have side effects, especially among people with sensitive skin.
Note: Collagen can help to generally support skin health, including the skin’s texture. For example, Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein Beauty Within formula contains a phytonutrient beauty blend, probiotics and vitamin C that together support overall skin health and skin elasticity.
Multi Collagen Protein is made with a clinically studied fermented eggshell membrane collagen ingredient that can improve the appearance of crow's feet after 28 days, promote healthy hair thickness and growth while reducing hair breakage, and generally keep skin looking healthy.
If you consult and visit a dermatologist for help treating uneven skin tone, the treatment that your doctor recommends will typically depend on the severity of your hyperpigmentation and also the underlying cause.
Here are some of the most common dermatological treatments used to improve skin’s tone and appearance:
Chemical peels: These use acids to remove the top layer of the skin, promoting new skin growth.
Microdermabrasion and dermabrasion: These physical exfoliation techniques remove the top layer of skin, encouraging skin cell turnover which can make skin look more even, smooth, and bright.
Laser treatments: Lasers can target dark spots and either break up the melanin or remove the top layer of skin.
Microneedling: Tiny needles create micro-injuries to the skin, stimulating collagen production and skin cell turnover.
Again, you should always consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any of these.