Uneven Skin Tones: This is the Complete Guide

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What can I do to correct uneven skin tone? Many skincare fans have probably asked these questions at some time. An even skin tone indicates healthy, well-maintained skin. But with endless culprits that lead to dark patches and discoloration, no wonder we often struggle with a tone that’s far away from even. Rest assured, we’ve got you covered; here is everything you need to know to even your skin tone, from what causes it to the best habits and products to control and correct uneven tone.

What causes uneven skin tones?

The umbrella term “uneven skin tone” refers to hyperpigmentation or discoloration that is characterised by an irregular skin color. This can include skin with darker, lighter or more pigmented skin. 

Uneven skin tones:

Uneven skin tone is caused as the result of an excess of melanin — the pigment that gives skin its color. It is UV light that causes melanin to increase in speed. When you spend a lot of time in the sun, the skin tries to defend itself against damage, and that’s how dark patches appear. Dark spots, blemishes, hormonal imbalance and skin inflammation can all lead to uneven skin tone. What can you do to determine whether your skin tone may be uneven?

Uneven skin tones

It’s not difficult to recognize uneven skin tone. But in case you’re not sure yet if uneven tone is what you’re dealing with, here is how you identify it:

  • Colors that are not common
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Redness
  • Coloration
  • Blemishes
  • Dark spots
  • Marks after acne
  • How can I prevent my skin from turning uneven?

    Now, what you came for — how to fix uneven tone. As it’s the case with most things in life, prevention is better than treatment. The same applies to uneven skintone. As such, the best way to keep your skin even and dark patches at bay is to wear SPF daily, whatever the season or weather, with UVA and UVB protection. Antioxidants are another essential part of your skincare kit that should be applied daily to prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc. We recommend you use vitamin C serum, which not only scavenges free radicals but lightens dark patches, too, revealing luminous skin. And if used along with vitamin E and ferulic acid, you can be sure you’ve doubled your protection against free radical damage and minimized chances of hyperpigmentation.[1]

    How can I fix my uneven skin tone?

    Are you suffering from blotchy skin? how toWhat about skin color? We make it easy for you; everything is explained here.

    Retinol

    If you want to fix uneven skin tone, retinol is the MVP. Retinol is the best choice for uneven skin tone. It has the power to stimulate cell turnover and eliminate dead cells. This allows new healthy cells to take their place, giving you a more even complexion. So, use retinol serum in your PM routine, and if your skin can’t tolerate it, you can always appeal to retinol alternatives.

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C can be used to improve skin color and prevent uneven skin tone. This is because it interferes with pigment production by inhibiting tyrosinase — the main enzyme responsible for synthesizing melanin. Coupled with its free radical scavenging power results in one of the best treatments for uneven skin tone — that’s vitamin C for you.

    Niacinamide

    Another great way to recoup your even skin tone is diligently using niacinamide. But can niacinamide lighten skin? You can. It even works very well. Niacinamide not only prevents dark spot formation as it’s an antioxidant, but it prevents the transfer of pigment within the skin, helping reduce dark patches.[2]The great news about niacinamide? It can be used both AM and pm every day. For best-in-class results, we suggest you use a niacinamide-infused serum.

    Tranexamic acid

    Have you ever heard about tranexamic acid? No judge, I didn’t either before working in beauty. So, tranexamic acid is a skincare hero often used in products that address hyperpigmentation due to its ability to hinder the transfer of dark pigment to the skin’s surface, lightening dark spots. Hence, adding a tranexamic acid serum to your routine will bring you closer to an even, bright tone.

    Exfoliators with chemical exfoliators

    You may use a cleanser for hyperpigmentation, plus serums and moisturizers that address uneven tone, but without the weekly exfoliation, everything is in vain. Yep, exfoliation lightens skin. Exfoliating regularly is essential if you want to correct uneven skin tone.
    You can do your skin (and yourself) a favor. Get rid of pigmented cells and make space for more brightening cells. Once or twice weekly, you should use chemical peels to nix unwanted dark patches and take back what is yours: even, glowy skin. Indeed, AHAs, like glycolic acid and lactic acid, are the ones we can rely on to even skin tone.[3]

    Pycnogenol

    While most skin brighteners work best when applied topically to reduce discoloration on the surface, pycnogenol does its magic when taken orally as supplements, working on a cellular level to support brightening. If you’re not familiar with it, pycnogenol is the new buzz in skincare — a thoroughly researched antioxidant with promising depigmenting benefits. The majority of people can tolerate pycnogenol and it has been shown to reduce the production of pigments by as much as 65%.[4] So if you’re planning to fix your uneven skin tone, you should consider pycnogenol.

    Skincare products for uneven skin tones

    Regardless of your (serum) preferences, trapping all the goodness with a brightening moisturizer that aims to even tone will work in tandem with the serum, giving you more chances to wave goodbye to dark spots. A skincare regimen for uneven skin tones looks something like the following:

  • Begin with a mild cleanser
  • Use a moisturizer to finish the process
  • Your targeted treatment should be applied
  • Brighten your skin with a moisturizer.
  • Glycolic or Lactic acids can be used to exfoliate the skin once a week
  • Every day, apply SPF
  • You can achieve flawless skin by creating a customized skincare program that suits your needs. If you are looking for dramatic results, there is always the option to have in-office treatment like deep chemical peels or dermabrasion. These might leave you with clearer maybe-they’re-born-with-it skin from one day to another. Talk to your dermatologist about which options might be best. 

    These are the best products to correct uneven skintones

    To even your skin tone just abide by all the above tips and make sure you’re using targeted products that address discoloration, like the ones I’m about to share. These are the top products for uneven skin color:

    SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum

    SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum boasts 5% niacinamide, 1% kojic acid, 3% tranexamic acid, plus 5% a mix of enzymes that aim to exfoliate and brighten the skin. This powerful cocktail of brighteners says more than enough about this serum’s ability to even tone and bring to light the best version of your skin.

    SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum

    SkinMedica Lytera2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum is a great choice if your goal is to have a perfect tone. It claims it can reduce hyperpigmentation and even improve the skin’s tone within two weeks. The potent blend of niacinamide phenylethylresorcinol and tranexamic is no surprise. And no worries about potential dryness as it’s also spiked with peptides and ferment extracts to soothe.

    Alignments of Skin 35% Vitamin C Correcting Serum

    Do you want a potent formula? The best product for uneven skin tones with vitamin C. This is a winner.

    Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Crème

    Moisturizers work more gently as they don’t sink into the skin. So, if that’s what you want, Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Crème should be on your radar. It boasts three vitamin C sources, antioxidants and hydrators to help you get the most out of your skin.

    Murad Vita – Triple Exfoliating Face Facial

    This product contains three types of exfoliants, one each for chemical and one for physical. It is designed to remove pigmented skin cells, leaving you with smooth, bright skin. It is best for those with uneven skin tones.

    Bibliography

  • Lin FH, Lin JY, Gupta RD, Tournas JA, Burch JA, Selim MA, Monteiro-Riviere NA, Grichnik JM, Zielinski J, Pinnell SR. Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Oct;125(4):826-32. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-202X.2005.23768.x. PMID: 16185284.
  • Hakozaki TA, Minwalla DL, Zhuang J. Chhoa A, Matsubara AA, Miyamoto KA, Greatens AB, Hillebrand GG. Bissett DL. Boissy RE. Effect of Niacinamide on skin pigmentation reduction and melanosome transfer suppression Br J Dermatol. 2002 Jul;147(1):20-31. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04834.x. PMID: 12100180.
  • Tran D, Townley JP, Barnes TM, Greive KA. Anti-aging skin care products that contain vitamins and alphahydroxy acids improve the biomechanical properties of facial skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014;8:9-17. Published 2014 Dec 19. doi:10.2147/CCID.S75439
  • Leis Ayres, E., dos Santos Silva, J., Eberlin, S., Facchini, G., Vasconcellos, C. and Da Costa, A. 2022. In vitro effect of pine bark oil on melanin synthesis, tyrosinase activity and production of endothelin-1 in cultured melanocytes. J Cosmet Dermatol, 21: 1234-1242. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.14202
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