So, after a quick poll on our facebook page last week (if you’re not a fan then join us here) we found out that one of your most major skin problems is that (frankly) common issue of an uneven skin tone.
After some poking and prodding of each others faces in the office yesterday, we came to the conclusion that all but one of us – don’t worry, we’ve all stopped talking to ‘the one’ – has parts of our face which are rosier, darker or prone to getting oily or dry spots than others. In short, we’ve all got an uneven skin tone, gutted.
We thought it time to do our research and tackle uneven skin tone head on. Take a look at our guide to why we have uneven skin and what we can do to to improve the look of it…
Why do get uneven skin tone?
When you were small, you might be able to remember that you had gorgeous, clear skin – so what changes?
Skin tone comes from melanin, a compound that produces the pigmentation in your skin cells. Melanin reacts to ultraviolet light, such as that from the sun or from tanning beds. The more light that you are exposed to, the darker your skin’s pigmentation becomes.
You might then wonder why only some of your body is affected even though it has all been exposed. The answer? Some areas of your body contain more melanin than others and therefore receive more exposure to the light. This is what forms the patches of uneven skin tone.
Ways to improve or get rid of uneven skin tone:
Exfoliate your way to even skin
The best way to improve skin tone is to exfoliate regularly. Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin. Without proper exfoliation, dead skin cells mount up and block your pores. Usually, the uneven skin tone and pigmentation is because of the direct contact the outer layer of your skin has had with sunlight. By removing this outer layer, the skin underneath should appear even and normal.
Exfoliation can be mechanical, meaning that you scrub your skin with an abrasive material to slough off the dead cells. It can also be chemical, using creams or lotions with certain enzymes that loosen the substances that hold cells together, causing them to break apart.
Remember, it’s not just your face which requires exfoliation – your skin is your biggest organ and you really need to pay (all of it) some attention. Try shower scrubs and gently work the exfoliating beads in a circular motion across your body.
If you’ve already been to a dermatologist about your skin, you’ll know that there are deeper forms of exfoliation which are proven to help uneven skin tone to a much greater extent.
Microdermabrasion to improve uneven skin tone
Microdermabrasion; the most popular treatment for those with uneven skin tone, acne scarring and fine lines, microdermabrasion is a painless procedure, during which tiny crystals are fired across your skin, removing dead skin cells and producing collagen and elastin.
It is growing rapidly in popularity; you can find treatments offered in many spas, dermatologist offices and laser-hair removal clinics. Find a therapist in your area.
This procedure is also helpful for cleansing clogged pores in people whose skin is too sensitive for topical treatments, such as Retin-A.
Chemical Peels & Chemical Exfoliation
Chemical exfoliation uses enzymes, such as fruit acids, beta hydroxyl lotions or chemical peels to strip away your top layer of dead skin. They cleanse your pores from the inside out and fix uneven skin tone, but it is important to start this process slowly.
Begin with occasional use of a very mild product. Look for a product that contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). Common types of AHAs include glycolic acid (found in sugar), malic acid (from apples) and tartaric acid (in grapes).
All chemical exfoliants are acidic, meaning they have a pH balance of less than seven. The lower a product’s pH, the more effective it will be; however, it will also be more intense, so start with a pH of five or six and work your way down from there.
Lotions and Potions to help uneven skin
Many over-the-counter creams and lotions claim to lighten dark-skin patches and even out skin tone; however, most of these products yield minimal improvements at best and may take weeks or even months to produce any visible results.
For creams and lotions that really work, visit a dermatologist for prescription-strength products.
Retin A – the miracle for uneven skin?
Retin-A is another “miracle” drug when it comes to improving skin tone. Retin-A is a prescription-strength alpha hydroxy acid that helps your skin generate collagen and fight wrinkles.
Another cause of uneven skin tone – although not usually in the face – is cellulite. No matter what you may hear onthe adverts, there is no way to truly get rid of cellulite. But there are things you can do to improve your overall skin tone and, thus, minimize its appearance.
The key to reducing cellulite, like so many other things in life, is nutrition and exercise. Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is high in protein and vitamin C will keep your body active and your skin radiant and glowing. And what is the top mainstay of a skin-friendly diet? Water! Drinking lots of water helps expand your muscles, which minimizes the cellulite’s puffiness.
Finally, fake it with makeup
So, makeup is never going to make your uneven skin tone go away, but it can be an instant confidence booster and part time solution. Always start by using a primer and moisturiser with a HIGH SPF in it. You need your skin to be well moisturised if you don’t want make up to appear flaky.
Apply foundation to your nose, cheeks and chin in a colour that blends perfectly into your skin. Pat on (don’t rub) a cream concealer under your eyes and on any blemishes or spots. Then use a bronzer or creamy blush to bring back the colour to your face.
Apply bronzer with a big fluffy brush to your forehead, cheeks and nose, and dab a creamy blush on the apples of your cheeks for a dewy complexion. Finally, set your face with powder – a step that many makeup artists swear by.
Healthy, glowing skin is within your reach; you just need to know which products to reach for.