Whether you’re dark, fair, dusky, or something in between, all skin tones are equally gorgeous. Our natural skin colors are dictated by our genes, which we have limited control over. What we can control is learning to accept and love it. Loving the skin that you are in means taking care of it: the right way.
Uneven skin tone is a common problem today and yes, we feel you. Fear not, we're here to tell you how to get even skin tone in five easy, simple, and dermatologist-approved tips. We also included some useful information and home remedies for people who love to do DIY skincare.
First Things First: What is an Uneven Skin Tone?
Skin tone is determined by the amount of pigment called Melanin produced by the skin. This explains why some areas of your face have different color compared to the rest, such as the lips and eyes. Uneven skin tone is all about hyperpigmentation: the irregular darkening of the skin. Brown spots occur when melanin clusters together to form patches on the surface of the skin.
What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?
Exposure to Sunlight
The number one cause of uneven skin tone is unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays. Brown spots develop due to the overproduction of Melanin, which is produced to help protect your skin from UV light. Frequent exposure to sunlight can lead to Melanoma or skin cancer.
As we age, dark spots appear more visible than ever. These age spots or liver spots come from direct exposure to UV rays every single day. This explains why older people have more brown or red spots present on the skin.
Your hormones can affect your skin tone too! Uneven skin tone is caused mainly by two hormones present in our body: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones can play an essential role in regulating the body’s synthesis of melanin.
Dust and dirt from air pollution penetrate to the skin and can cause a lot of damage. "Pollution can cause uneven skin tone, accelerated aging and even skin cancer," says Doris Day, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. A landmark study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology compared women living in urban and rural environments over 24 years and found that those exposed to increased pollution had more dark spots and wrinkling.
Wrong Skincare Products
Your skincare routine might do more damage than good. There are certain chemicals in products that is considered toxic to the skin such as parabens, phthalates and certain fragrances. All-natural ingredients such as vitamin C can dramatically decrease hyperpigmentation, thereby decreasing the amount of brown spots.
How to Get Even Skin Tone in 5 Easy Steps
1. Use Good Sunscreen Daily
Since the sun is the main culprit for dark spots, a daily dose of sunscreen is the key. A good sunscreen a day takes the dark spots away! Dr. Lawrence E. Gibson, a dermatologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota has the right tips:
- Avoid sun-peak hours
There are certain hours of the day when the sand, concrete and snow reflect more UV rays. Generally, it is best to the sun at 10 o’clock in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.
- Use quality sunscreen products
It is recommended to use water-resistant, broad-spectrum coverage products with an SPF of at least 30. Using good quality sunscreen products blocks the UV rays which help decrease the appearance of brown spots.
2. Cleanse and Exfoliate Everyday
Not just the sun, pollution is a serious threat to our skin too. Cleansing and exfoliating is an essential part of your skincare routine. Cleansing removes the excess oil, dirt and bacteria that can potentially cause acne and uneven skin tone. On the other hand, exfoliating removes dead skin cells. Dead skin cells that are built up can clog your pores and lead to red acne breakouts, which in turn can change the evenness of your skin tone.
Using the right cleanser and exfoliant can do wonders to your skin. It is always good to use milder ones to avoid irritation. The following are some mild ingredients to watch out for in skincare products:
- Vitamin E
- Green Tea
- Jojoba oil
3. Use Topical Antioxidants
Our cells undergo degenerative damage every day, and it is important to add antioxidants to our lifestyle. The red and brown spots in our skin due to the sun and pollution is a form of damage. Antioxidants fight off and reverse the damage which makes uneven dark spots lighter, making the skin brighter. The following are the antioxidants good for the skin’s health you need to watch out for in choosing the right skincare products:
- Vitamin C
- Retinol (Vitamin A)
- Vitamin E
- Coenzyme Q10
4. Eat Well and Achieve Healthier Skin
It is no secret that a healthy diet do good things to the body. There are certain foods that can trigger hormonal spikes and can cause breakouts. It is best to stay away from refined sugars, flour, caffeine, cola and processed foods for a healthier skin.
Eating the right food makes your skin glow. Take note of the following tips for a more glowing and youthful skin:
Drink Enough Water
Water keeps you hydrated and flushes out the toxins in the body. Health experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon a day.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits such as citrus, tomatoes and red grapes are natural sources of vitamin C and flavonoids known to make the skin glow. Green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and broccoli are good sources of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Consume Essential Fatty Acids
Consuming the right fat can be very good to the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna can make the skin thicker, supple, and moisturized. The healthy fat found in avocados is essential in keeping the skin more flexible and moisturized.
5. Lasers, Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion
Seeking a good dermatologist is a good route towards a healthier and more even skin tone. Procedures such as lasers, chemical peels and microdermabrasion can help you achieve this.
Lasers are able to target the sun and penetrate deeper layers of the skin barrier to reveal a fresh layer of skin cells. They are generally done in a few treatments to ensure there is a healthy cell turn over and are painless and non-invasive.
Chemical peels use hydroxyl acids like lactic acid or glycolic acid to exfoliate the top layer of the skin. This will help to even the skin tone and peel off to form a new layer of the skin.
Microdermabrasion involves micro crystals that will help to scrub and remove the top layer of the skin which can renew and tone the texture of the skin and create an even skin tone.
Multiple treatments may be required, but it is important to consult a dermatologist in your area who is able to determine which method is best for your skin.
How to Get Even Skin Tone Using Home Remedies
You can get an even skin tone using the things you already have at home without spending too much. Here are some of the do-it-yourself ways you can try at home. Always remember to perform a patch test before trying these out.
Oatmeal + Tomato Juice
Your favorite breakfast meal is a staple that can naturally exfoliate your skin. Mixing oatmeal and tomato juice does the trick. Combine tomato juice with oatmeal and stir well. Afterwards, take the solution and apply then gently rub it on your body or face and rinse it after 20 minutes. Repeat this process every day until your skin tone becomes fully even.
Sugar + Others
Like oatmeal, sugar is also a pantry staple that helps exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. You can mix it with other ingredients such as chocolate, coconut oil, green tea, banana, honey and vanilla. The possibilities are endless actually, just be creative and take note of the foods that we mentioned earlier.
Lemon & Honey
Blend Lemon and honey, apply it all over your face/neck and wash it off after 15 minutes. Lemon and honey are none for clearing blemishes and skin tightening.
Milk & Papaya
Mix together papaya pulp and organic raw milk, apply it all over your face/neck, and wash it off after 15 minutes. Papaya contains alpha hydroxy acids that help in skin exfoliation and milk has lactic acid that helps in brightening the skin.
Sandalwood, Turmeric and Milk
Mix together into a paste powder of sandalwood, turmeric and milk and apply it all over your face/neck and wash it off after 15 minutes. Sandalwood has been known to reduce dark spots and turmeric is an antibacterial. Milk will help to give a glow to your face.
Cucumber & Lemon
Blend cucumber and lemon, apply it all over your face/neck and wash it off after 15 minutes. This will reduce dark spots and inflammation and help contribute to an even skin tone
Lemon, Sugar and Coconut Oil
Use a few drops of lemon juice and coconut oil and mix it with a teaspoon of sugar and apply all over your face and wash it off after 15 minutes. Lemon will brighten skin and the sugar acts as an exfoliant removing dead skin cells while the coconut oil will sooth skin.
Uneven skin tone is caused by a variety of reasons such as sun exposure, pollution, aging, hormonal imbalance and bad skincare products. To prevent uneven skin tone, one must be mindful of their environment and do a consistent skincare routine using the right products or home remedies. Do these easy skin care tips on a regular basis and experience good benefits on your overall skin health.
Having a more even skin tone doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes hard work and patience. Taking good care of your skin and developing a personal skin care routine can be a little tiring at first, but it is definitely worth it once you see good results. Always remember to love and take care of the skin you’re in!