Uneven pigmentation and skin texture problems are widespread and can be caused by a variety of factors. The most prevalent cause of uneven skin tone and texture is hyperpigmentation, which is the result of excessive melanin production in the skin. In addition to genetics, environmental factors, acne, scarring, and hormone shifts all have a role in this skin condition’s development and progression. Areas of discoloration, roughness, bumpiness, or redness are never attractive and can be distressing and even harmful in extreme circumstances. The first step in receiving treatment for an issue with an uneven skin tone or texture is determining what is causing it.
Uneven skin tone is an umbrella term for a variety of skin discolorations, such as sunspots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It can also refer to a variety of skin imperfections such as dry areas, an accumulation of dead skin cells, fine wrinkles, or blotchiness. Uneven skin tone and texture can be indicators of a decline in skin health or damage caused by a variety of reasons, including but not limited to UV radiation, pollution, and even the medications you take.
Uneven skin tone can affect everybody, however, the cause can vary from person to person.
The most prevalent reason for an uneven skin tone, according to Dr. Krishna, is sun exposure without proper protection, which results in solar spots. As protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, the skin responds to sunlight by creating more melanin. Sunburns and sunspots are not something that melanin alone can combat.
Sunspots and other signs of sun damage are more common in those who are fair-skinned, have light hair and eyes, have a history of skin cancer, or have moles or freckles.
Spots of the sun are not dangerous and should not be viewed as a sign of doom. However, they indicate a higher chance of developing skin cancer from exposure to the sun’s rays, thus it is important to protect your skin from sun damage. And there is never a bad time to begin!
Airborne particles, such as smoke, dust, chemicals, and pollutants such as carbon dioxide, wreak havoc on the skin. They permeate it and covertly produce free radicals, which deplete collagen and elastin.
Antioxidants are the most effective means of controlling free radicals; melanin comes to the rescue. Antioxidant characteristics of melanin eliminate these harmful particles and protect the skin’s vital proteins. “Your immune system enters a natural state of defense, and your skin begins manufacturing excess melanin,” explains Dr. Krishna. The result is an uneven skin tone.
Acne, as well as accidents such as cuts, burns, and eczema flare-ups, can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation2 scars or dark areas (PIH). “When your skin is undergoing the healing process,” explains Dr. Krishna, “our natural defender, melanin, is activated.”
All skin types are susceptible to PIH, however darker skin tones are affected more frequently3.
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation resulting from hormonal fluctuations. Melasma can occur in women who are pregnant, taking contraceptives, or getting hormone therapy. It may take more time to determine the appropriate treatment strategy because the underlying reason for hormonal shifts varies from person to person.
Your dermatologist may advise you to contact your primary care physician for further evaluation if they suspect a hormone imbalance is to blame for your skin problems.
If you have melasma, consult your dermatologist to determine the optimal hormonal treatment for your hyperpigmentation.
There are so many things that might affect your skin’s condition and how even your skin tone is (or isn’t), that having the flawless complexion of your dreams is, well, a dream. A pimple’s contribution to your skin’s overall appearance is just as important as that of melasma’s, so treating both is necessary for an even skin tone. As this is no simple task, we consulted with some of the best doctors in the country to learn how to fix the myriad problems that contribute to our varying skin tones.
Neal Schultz, MD, a New York City dermatologist, has identified two primary factors—texture and color—that contribute to the appearance of an uneven skin tone. It’s important to reduce redness, black patches, and roughness, he says, if you want a successful therapy. He further explains that we need to take care of our skin to avoid the excess pigment from returning as rapidly as it is removed, as the body can produce it faster than we can get rid of it. What is the procedure for carrying them out?
You may be confused as to why we’re discussing your skin’s texture in the context of your skin tone. Large pores and fine lines create an uneven texture that not only makes it difficult to apply products properly, but also creates shadows and dark patches. Schultz adds that the way light interacts with the skin accounts for 75 percent of the skin’s overall tone. “What happens to the light—does it bounce back or does it scatter? Light reflects off a smooth surface, making your skin look brighter and evening out any dark patches you may have.” This means that exfoliation is essential for achieving an even skin tone because it removes dead skin cells, reduces pore size, and smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles.
In order to remove the dead skin cells that clog your pores and discourage collagen creation, most dermatologists think that chemical exfoliation is more reliable than physical, and Schultz suggests utilising a mild glycolic acid treatment as your chemical exfoliator. The Glycolic Peel from Caudalie does wonders for your skin, including reducing the appearance of pores, enhancing the skin’s texture, and giving you an instant glow.
Schultz says that if you want an instant glow, you can consider a glycolic acid peel, but warns that not all peels are safe for people with hyperactive pigmentation. Many glycolic peels cause downtime, discomfort, and redness if they aren’t moderate enough, he says. “Peels for the face ought to be quite mild. Inflammation drives these hyperactive, hypersensitive pigment cells, thus it follows that any facial peel that causes downtime, flaking, or redness will produce equivalent inflammation.” He suggests either trying out his BeautyRx Skincare Tetrafoliant Peel ($70) or making an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss the best course of action for your unique skin issues.
Nazarian acknowledges the efficacy of glycolic acid, but warns that one crucial step must not be overlooked. She recommends using wipes or washes with glycolic acid or topical vitamins C and E to get an even skin tone. “These ingredients work by inhibiting the development of melanin, the material that causes skin darkening and evening out skin tone,” she explains. Serums containing vitamin C can quickly oxidise, which reduces their efficacy. Ascorbic acid, according to Schultz, is water-soluble and hence unable to penetrate deeply into the pores because of the oil that surrounds them. A solution? Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is a lipid-based derivative of vitamin C with excellent penetrative properties. 1 This ester does not degrade like the acid does, therefore there will be no off-putting byproducts such as strange colours or odours. If you’re looking for a serum that can brighten your skin and won’t break the bank, try the BeautyRx Skincare Triple Vitamin C Serum ($95).
Dark spots, as explained by Schultz, result from an accumulation of melanin pigment under the skin. The more you don’t exfoliate, the more dead skin cells build up on your skin, and the more hyperpigmentation there will be. This is becoming more concentrated as it accumulates. To begin, exfoliate to remove the excess dead skin cells that are responsible for the discoloration. No additional steps are required after exfoliation, but if you’re concerned about uneven skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation and would like to erase it, according to Schultz, you should try a treatment that inhibits melanin synthesis in the dermis. Freckles, dark patches, and melasma can all be diminished with the use of the divisive but powerful chemical hydroquinone.
The Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum includes 2% hydroquinone, making it more effective than competing products at reducing the appearance of unsightly dark spots on the skin in a shorter amount of time.
However, if redness of the skin is your main worry, there are measures you can do to reduce the problem. Those annoying red spots caused by broken capillaries can be treated with a prescription from King to get rid of them temporarily. In a similar vein to Visine, a prescription lotion called Mirvaso can reduce redness by temporarily narrowing the blood vessels responsible for it. She explains that although the effects are very temporary, they can be rather striking. However, Schultz cautions that after eight to twelve hours, the effects of prescription topicals like Rhofade or Mirvaso may actually worsen.
As both King and Schultz point out, if you want your skin redness to go away for good, you’ll have to commit to treatment in the office, like IPL (intense pulse light). Schultz notes that the red color is due to the enlarged blood vessels. The redness is caused by expanded blood vessels, which is what these do.
Both IPL and the Fraxel 1927 can lighten dark patches on the skin, and Schultz suggests either the Fraxel 1550 or Vivace for minimizing the appearance of fine lines and pores. The hyperpigmentation can be lightened or the skin smoothed with any number of medical equipment and lasers, he explains.
However, if melasma is to blame for your skin discoloration, laser treatment is not the way to go.
Laser treatments may temporarily help this complex pigmentary problem, but Schultz says it will be back in a couple of months.
Nazarian and Schultz are in agreement that using sunscreen will help prevent skin discoloration from growing worse or from returning if you already have an uneven tone. Although it is always preferable to wear sunscreen, people with melasma may choose to switch from a chemical sunscreen to a physical sunscreen, which is made with minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
This is why: Melasma, as explained by Schultz, occurs when the melanin in the skin is stimulated to the point that it becomes super sensitive to harm, with ultraviolet radiation being the most common source of darkening. “To protect from harmful rays, chemical sunscreens absorb the light and convert it to heat. In any case, your skin may interpret the heat it generates as a wound, causing your pigment to increase in response.” As opposed to chemical sunscreens, physical sunscreens simply deflect harmful UV rays away from the skin. The sheerness of Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is one of its best features.
Knowing what not to do when it comes to uneven skin tone is just as important as knowing what to do. A lot of in-office treatments, including microdermabrasion, are well-liked for the improvements they make to the skin’s texture, but they do very little to address hyperpigmentation. There are better options out there for your skin and budget. In all cases, a trip to the dermatologist is in order. “ Many people’s hyperpigmentation is brought on by a leak of melanin beneath the skin. Because microdermabrasion only works on the skin’s surface, it is unable to correct this issue. Although microdermabrasion can help with mild sunspots, it is most effective in enhancing the skin’s texture.
A skin tone that is even is bright, smooth, and free of dark patches.
There are a number of causes of an uneven skin tone, but texture and pigmentation are the most common.
We cannot synthesize vitamin C, but it is important for the development and maintenance of all of the body’s tissues. No matter your skin tone, this helps to improve collagen, fade discoloration, and protect itself from free radicals.
Thank you for reading!