Apart from fine lines and wrinkles, dull or uneven skin tone is another thing that can make you look and feel older than you actually are. It doesn’t just give the skin a tired and lackluster appearance, but also makes other skin imperfections and signs of aging more visible. This can then undermine your confidence or make you feel self-conscious.
What exactly is uneven skin tone?
In essence, uneven skin tone refers to areas or patches in the skin that are darker than your normal complexion. It is often understood as hyperpigmentation, a condition caused by an increase in melanin production that leads to the formation of flat and darkened patches.
Visible skin discoloration is its most common telltale sign, but uneven skin tone can also be characterized as rough/bumpy texture, and dry patches in the skin. It usually occurs on the face, neck, and arms, and manifests in the form of age or sun spots, melasma, and other pigmented conditions.
What causes uneven skin tone?
Uneven skin tone is a common condition that almost anyone experiences. Its extent and reasons for occurrence, however, vary from person to person. Below are the most common contributing factors of uneven pigment throughout the skin.
Sun or UV exposure – Repeated or prolonged sun exposure causes UV damage that can lead to the formation of brown or dark spots. These darkened patches in the skin occur as a result of excessive melanin production, which is also your body’s way of trying to protect you against ultraviolet light.
Pollution – Tiny airborne pollutants can enter and linger in your pores. They can compromise the barrier function of the skin, which can increase your vulnerability to different skin problems. Pollution, furthermore, generates free radicals that can trigger cell damage that can lead to uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, and skin sensitivity.
Hormones – Melasma, a type of pigmentation that occurs as brownish or grayish patches on the face, is said to be caused by changes in hormone levels. It is common among pregnant women, which is also the reason why it is referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”. It can also be a side effect of hormonal treatments, birth control pills, or certain types of medication.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – Darkened or pigmented patches can occur as a result of skin injury, trauma, or inflammation. Acne, for instance, can leave marks or scarring after the blemishes have healed. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) can also occur due to burns, skin conditions (eczema or psoriasis), and incorrect use of certain treatments, such as peels, dermabrasion, and lasers.
Managing uneven skin tone
There is no single treatment or skin care tip that can help you tackle uneven pigment throughout the skin. As there are a number of culprits, there are also several ways to manage or improve uneven skin tone.
Prioritize sun protection – As pigmentation can occur due to UV exposure, make sure to practice sun protection measures every day. These include wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, limiting sun exposure during peak hours, and wearing sunglasses, hats, or protective clothing, especially when outdoors.
Exfoliate gently – Proper exfoliation can slough off dead skin cells, while also getting rid of dirt, excess oil, and other impurities that can build up on your skin. Just make sure to exfoliate with care or use gentle exfoliants (salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinoids). Avoid scrubs or abrasives, as they can irritate the skin and lead to more uneven skin tone.
Use a treatment serum – Certain marks and spots can fade on their own over time, but this can take months or even a year. Some can be persistent and may need a little help in lightening them. Quality brightening serums (or those with vitamin C or niacinamide) can help reduce their appearance. Just do take note that results from topical treatments can take several weeks to a few months to show and are usually temporary.
Get a facial or chemical peel – Both are aesthetic treatments that can exfoliate the skin and help tackle uneven skin tone for a clearer complexion. In-office treatments such as medical-grade facials or chemical peels can also help remove superficial layers of damaged skin, which can help fade discoloration and improve the appearance of signs of aging and other skin concerns.
Consider skin resurfacing – This non-surgical aesthetic procedure treats the outer layer of the skin, creating micro-injuries that help generate collagen. It resurfaces the damaged layer while helping stimulate the formation of new and healthy skin. It can give your complexion an even, smoother appearance.
What skin resurfacing does is cause your skin to form a natural protective dressing after the treatment. This will peel off after three to five days, revealing clearer and glowing skin. It can be used on the entire face and help treat or improve:
- Sun-damaged skin
- Age spots
- Acne marks and scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin texture
Improvements show up on the third or fourth day or when the skin has peeled off. You may also need to wait for about one or two weeks to see visible improvements in your skin’s tone and texture. Results will also continue to improve over time as collagen grows or increases in production.
Book a consultation today
If pigmentation or uneven skin tone is making you feel self-conscious, reach out to us. Apart from skin resurfacing, we have other non-invasive procedures that can manage or improve different skin concerns. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore and book a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to find out how we can help.