Blog > Aging > What Causes Uneven Skin Tone & How to Treat it Naturally?

What Causes Uneven Skin Tone & How to Treat it Naturally?

Blame uneven skin on pollution, dust, sun exposure, or lack of care. Uneven skin tone can certainly make us look and feel years older than our actual age. Apart from looking aged, our complexion can take on a lacklustre, tired, and unhealthy appearance. These also emphasize other flaws such as rough skin texture and wrinkles. On the other hand, glowing, smooth, even-toned skin is something that we all covet. A sign of good health, bright, plump, and even-toned skin is a pleasure to behold and a joy to touch and feel!

So how do even skin tone?  While it may seem difficult, it is actually quite simple to tackle uneven skin tone issues and bring smiles and confidence back into your life and skin.  

types of uneven Skin Tone

Uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation?

When you say uneven skin tone, it is generally understood as hyperpigmentation. A condition caused by a spike in melanin production, hyperpigmentation leads to the formation of flat, brown spots or patches that are relatively darker than your overall complexion. As a result, the patches stand out in stark contrast to the surrounding skin. Hence, giving the impression of uneven skin tone.

Melanin is the secret behind the brown and black colour in our skin, hair, and eyes and protects skin from the adverse effects of UV rays. However, excessive pigment production can end up giving a patchy look to your skin. On a more serious note, hyperpigmentation can also be a warning for skin cancer caused by extended exposure to sunlight.  

Causes of Uneven Skin Tone  

Uneven skin tone is a universal problem. However, the causal factors may vary and differ in terms of the extent or seriousness of the condition. The most common contributing factors include sun exposure, hormonal changes, genetics, skin inflammation issues and air pollution.   

1. Sunlight radiation

The sunspots that form when your skin is constantly exposed to sunlight over prolonged periods lay the foundation for an uneven skin tone. When it remains unprotected from sunlight for extended periods, your skin’s defense mechanism takes over to produce excess quantities of melanin as a shield against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. In principle, sunspots can trouble anyone, but it has been noticed more frequently in fair-skinned people or have light hair, eyes, freckles, moles, and a family history of skin cancer. While these spots are not dangerous by themselves, they can sometimes be an indicator of skin cancer. That’s why you need to get sunspots examined and treated without undue delay. 

2. Skin inflammation

Uneven skin tone can often develop after you suffer any skin-related traumas such as acne, chickenpox, eczema flare-ups, or even injuries like cuts, and burns. Upon healing, such trauma leads to the development of scarring or dark spots. Known in medical parlance as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, these spots resulting from excess melanin production give the affected skin surface an uneven tone.  

3. Hormonal imbalances

People in certain specific phases of their lives – for instance, adolescence, pregnancy, menopause - experience heightened glandular activity, leading to the hormonal imbalances responsible for hyperpigmentation conditions. Skin conditions like melasma usually develop in such situations and lead to an uneven skin tone. Similarly, hyperpigmentation can occur in people taking hormonal treatments, anti-pregnancy pills, or certain medications. In such cases, the skin tone may not revert to its original texture after the causal factors are removed. It’s advisable to consult your doctor for more information and advice in such situations.   

4. Genetics and ageing

From our middle-age years onwards, as a part of the ageing process, the skin begins to lose its original plumpness, tone, and smooth feel. Age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles begin to make their presence felt and give your skin an uneven tone. Similarly, genetics can also be a reason for causing some pigmentary conditions, such as melasma, freckles in the skin. 

5. Pollution

Constantly floating in the outdoor air, pollutants such as dust, smoke, vehicular emissions, chemicals, and carbon dioxide are known to damage your skin. After coming in contact with your body, these air-borne pollutants quietly seep in through the pores to generate free radicals that attack the skin’s collagen and elastin reserves. In such situations, the body’s immune system boosts the production of melanin, which is rich in antioxidants, to tackle the menace of free radicals. However, the excess production of melanin also results in the skin developing an uneven skin tone. 

Natural treatments for uneven skin tone  

Natural treatments, coupled with some lifestyle changes, are known to have a reasonable impact in terms of reducing hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone. However, in the more severe cases of progressive cases and for quicker results, doctors usually recommend non-invasive procedures like laser devices.

  • #1 Choose a skincare routine that matches your skin type

The best cosmetic products can turn out to be wrong for your skin type, result in acne, or cause dryness or flaky skin. If you’re the dry skin type, opt for oil or lipid-based products that retain water content in the skin. Glycerin and lactic acid are typical examples of products recommended for dry skin repair. For people with oily skin, non-greasy skincare products such as water-based skin care products that maintain moisture content are ideal as they prevent clogging pores without getting your face oily.  

  • #2 Exfoliate regularly but with care 

Exfoliation clears away the dead skin cells and layers, helping to manage uneven skin tones. You can use natural exfoliators or chemical exfoliators to scrape away the upper skin layers faster. In doing so, new skin layers are allowed to surface. This acceleration of the skin shedding process also reduces superficial pigmentation and uneven skin tone looks better. Twice a week routine is advised for best results. However, choose your exfoliants with care, preferably after consulting with your doctor. Too frequent or too aggressive an exfoliating regimen could prove counterproductive as skin cells can get damaged.   

  • #3 Protect your skin against the sun  

Apply a wide-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or more each day. If you are exercising or doing outdoor sports, avoid or limit your time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember to reapply to sunscreen throughout the day to keep your skin protected. 

  • #4 Make lifestyle change

Introducing a few simple but effective lifestyle changes can help control hyperpigmentation. These include staying hydrated by drinking     between 6 to 10 glasses of water every day, ensuring quality sleep of at least seven to eight hours every day, a healthy and wholesome diet, coupled with regular physical exercise. These lifestyle changes help keep stress at bay and prevent hyperpigmentation, among other stress-induced conditions. 

  • #5 Non-invasive skin treatment procedures

If you’re hard-pressed for time, or looking for quick results, then there are several non-surgical skin treatment procedures that you could explore. Apart from being bloodless, painless, safe, and quick, these procedures also come with no to very low downtime. Popular procedures include lasers, intense pulse light (IPL) devices, medical peels, pulsed radio frequency microneedling, etc. Speak to your doctor for a detailed assessment to determine the suitable treatment for you. 

Get ready to banish hyperpigmentation, invite smooth, toned skin back into your life. 

Uneven skin tone need not be a problem anymore. There are also many non-invasive procedures that can also treat melasma, sunspots, uneven skin tone and texture and age spots. Consult an experienced doctor, who can examine your skin condition and advise you on the best course of action.