Uneven Skin Tones Versus Hyperpigmentation Require Treatments for Removal

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Uneven Skin Tone on woman observing leaf on shrub

Uneven skin tone is quite common. Women can usually hide these spots with makeup. But do you really want to get rid of them once and for all?

Different factors can make your skin change color. Sometimes these are from unhealthy habits or things beyond our control. In other words a dark patch appears there on your skin.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.

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Today we will look at a few routes to get rid of those dark spots.

What is Uneven Skin Tone?

Uneven skin tone is hyperpigmentation meaning darker areas on the skin. These result as age spots or patches. This happens when melanocytes make more melanin. This makes your skin look blotchy with an inconsistent color.

Causes of Uneven Skin Tone

Sun Exposure

Sun exposure is the #1 culprit. Long periods of time out in the sun, naturally produces more melanin in your skin to protect itself. This leads to hyperpigmentation as sun damage.

Pollution

Living in a big city with traffic releasing particles and gasses can contribute to darker facial areas. This penetrates your skin especially your more exposed face.

Hormonal Changes

Melasma (mask of pregnancy) is a hyperpigmentation related to increased hormone stimulation. Usually affecting women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills. However, this can also happen as a reaction to cosmetics or medications.

Age

Mature skin can develop related spots (age spots or liver spots) if you have spent any time in the sun when younger.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This occurs because your skin cells make too much melanin in response to an injury. Discoloration and uneven skin tone are the result.

Acne is also as injury that can lead to scars. An area of skin may darken as a result of scarring. Acne lesions or skin injury may cause this.

Are Hyperpigmentation and Uneven Skin Tone the Same?

They are similar but different. Uneven skin tone is used as an umbrella term when your skin appears blotchy, mottled or contains darker areas of color.

Hyperpigmentation leads to unevenness in color it is the result of inflammation caused by skin damage.

This is when your melanocytes decide to work overtime. So they are putting out more melanin because they have been triggered to do so.

Discoloration simply means darker skin referring to brown areas such as sun spots, age spots, dark spots, liver spots.

Home Remedies for Uneven Skin Tone

Apple Cider Vinegar

Key ingredient acetic acid. It may act as a mild chemical peel.

The remedy

  1. Take equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water to combine in container.
  2. Place the mixture on your dark spots or blemish leaving for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Use lukewarm water to rinse off.
  4. This can be repeated twice daily until desired results are seen.

Aloe Vera

Key ingredient aloin. A natural compound takes away pigmentation along with lightening skin. As well as working effectively not being a toxic hyperpigmentation treatment.

The remedy

  1. Put pure aloe vera gel on dark spots before bedtime.
  2. Use warm water to rinse off in the morning.
  3. Repeat each day until improvement shows in skin color.

Red Onion

We just discussed the extract (juice) in the last post. Allium cepa has been showing up in some products available as scar lighting creams. The dried skin of the red onion in particular is effective at lightening skin.

Look for this ingredient and use as instructed.

Green Tea Extract

Key ingredient catechins (antioxidants EGCG). Also shows a whitening effect when applied to skin. Green tea extract may be purchased (Target, Wal-Mart) and applied as instructed.

The remedy

  1. A green tea bag can be steeped in boiling water for three to five minutes.
  2. Take the tea bag out of water to cool so you don’t burn your skin.
  3. Rub the cool tea bag on your dark spots.
  4. Repeat twice daily until you see desired results.

Milk

Key ingredient lactic acid. Regular milk, buttermilk along with sour milk has all been used to improve skin for decades.

The remedy

  1. Use a cotton ball to soak up the milk.
  2. Rub this over darkened skin areas twice daily.
  3. Repeat each day until you see improvement

Medical Treatments for Uneven Skin Tone

These are treatments available with a prescription or done as a procedure from your doctor. They can be more expensive but are another option for stubborn problems not affected by home remedies.

Hydroquinone

Used to treat:

  • Melasma
  • Chloasma
  • Solar lentigines
  • Freckles
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

FYI since September 23, 2020 Hydroquinone has been banned in the U.S as part of the CARES Act. The EU has also banned concentrations above 1%. Japan and Australia have also put bans on this ingredient.

Cryotherapy Procedure

I have had this done a number of times on my age spots. The dermatologist uses liquid nitrogen to freeze these areas.  It is a common treatment.

Some may find it painful but it’s only for a short moment. After the procedure you may have a bit of pain. A blister or scab usually develops and you may experience some redness along with swelling.

Possible permanent side effects could be age spot gets darker, skin around age spot gets light or a scar occurs. This is rare when a board certified dermatologist does cryotherapy.

Laser Resurfacing Treatment

Laser has the ability to lighten scars or age spots. To treat age spots fast one or two laser treatments can be done. This could possibly last longer versus a skin lightening cream.

However this procedure may cause some side effects. There could be crusting as well as temporary darkening of age spots. You won’t see these with creams but they do tend to fade quickly.

To treat darker skin laser procedures could make your discoloration worse. Use caution when considering laser treatment. Always choose a specialist who has experience treating hyperpigmentation.

Clinical Strength Peels

Peels have three levels:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Deep

A chemical solution is absorbed by your skin. Your skin then exfoliates and peels resulting with a new layer of skin.

Light peels consist of more gentle acids such as salicylic acid that can be done quickly. Recovery time is short up to several days.

Medium peels may require sedatives or pain relievers.

Deep peels require sedation. They use a strong ingredient called phenol. The recovery time can last up to 2 weeks. Although the redness may last for several months.

Chemical peels are very effective for treating hands with age spots. Comparing chemical peels with cryotherapy a study found 47% having chemical peel had a 50% lightening with age spots. Along with the skin tends to heal quicker with the chemical peel  versus freezing (cryotherapy).

Professional Microdermabrasion

Professional microdermabrasion can treat many skin conditions like:

  • Light scarring
  • Sun damage
  • Discoloration

A dermatologist will smooth away skin during this procedure. It assists to thicken the collagen in your skin with taking away the thicker, damaged surface layer. You’re left with a more youthful appearance.

There’s usually no recovery time. But you may have some redness, dryness or peeling lasting several days after the procedure. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association this has been very effective especially along with a chemical peel.

After the procedure there may be mild redness that usually goes away in a couple hours. You may also see flaky skin for 3 or 4 days.

Uneven Skin Tone on woman's face
Photo by Michelle Leman from pexels

Products to Remove Dark Spots

Urban Skin RX Even Tone Cleansing Bar

Voted best overall by Byrdie 

Key ingredients azelaic acid, kojic acid and niacinamide 4.8oz sells for $13 Amazon

PCA Skin HQ Free Pigment Gel

Voted best Hydroquinone-Free by Byrdie

Key ingredients azelaic acid and kojic acid $64 Amazon

Specific Beauty Intensive Skin Brightening Serum

Voted best for Dark Skin by Byrdie

Key ingredient is Retin-A  purchase through Birchbox.com

Garnier Skin Active Clearly Brighter Dark Spot Corrector

Voted best budget by Byrdie

 $13 Amazon

Clinique Radical Dark Spot Corrector + Interrupter

Voted best classic by Byrdie

$55 Sephora

Steps to an Even Skin Tone

Skin Lightener

Skin lighteners to look for are products that lighten existing spots. The ingredient in some cases can also slow down the making of melanin.

Ingredients:

  • Azelaic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Kojic acid
  • Retinoid
  • Vitamin C

Never use liquid bleach on your skin. Steroids or mercury may be in skin lightener products from other countries and not listed on labels.

SPF Every Day

Protect your skin from the sun always. This is a big cause of hyperpigmentation. Sun exposure leads to sun damage (age spots) later in life.

Exfoliate

Existing hyperpigmentation can be helped by removing that layer of dead skin cells. This allows your serums and moisturizers to absorb better.

Ingredients That Help

Look for the right products. To help remove pollution ingredients should include activated charcoal. To help control melanin production; Oligopeptides, niacinamide and Zinc Glycinate. Retinol will help restore skin.

Wrapping it up

Having an uneven skin tone is very common. It is a major cosmetic concern. This gives us so many routes to treat or remove them.

Uneven skin tone is the result of hyperpigmentation. Protect your skin from the sun and pollution that causes this.

Hyperpigmentation can be treated with creams or lotions. There are also home remedies and medical procedures. Be careful of possible compounds that may harm your health or allergic reactions.

Be patient removing hyperpigmentation may take time. Skin care treatment needs to be vigilant. Don’t give up.

What type of spots do you have?

Header Photo by Michelle Leman from pexels

Mary
Mary is the founder of All About Our Skin. Former esthetician and CPC. Enjoys researching skincare and has been studying our skin for the past fourteen years.
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