Exactly How to Even Out Your Skin Tone

July 07, 2022
Jennifer Hussein
By: Jennifer Hussein | skincare.com by L'Oréal
Exactly How to Even Out Your Skin Tone

Whether it’s one dot or a large patch of hyperpigmentation, skin discoloration can be tricky to treat. These marks can be caused by everything from acne scars to sun damage and may look different depending on your skin type, texture and regimen. But if you’re looking to even out the look of your skin tone, it is usually possible with the right products and routine. Ahead, we spoke with Dr. William Kwan, a dermatologist, the founder of Kwan Dermatology and a Skincare.com consultant, about how to do it.

What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?

Dr. Kwan says that in order to create the right action plan for your uneven skin tone, you have to find out what’s behind it. While he says that active acne can lead to red and brown marks, pimples aren’t the only factor that can lead to an uneven skin tone.

You may, for example, want to cut down on the amount of time you spend exposing your skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Dr. Kwan says that sun exposure can also lead to premature age spots and skin discoloration. According to a study published by Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, excessive UV exposure can lead to an array of skin issues in regards to appearance, one of the major ones being skin discoloration and pigmentation.

According to the International Dermal Institute, your hormones can also play a role in an uneven skin tone. The Institute notes that periods of heightened estrogen levels (think: pregnancy) can actually leave you more susceptible to skin pigmentation and melasma, a skin condition that leads to brown or gray-brown patches on the skin.

How to Improve Your Skin’s Tone

There are a few ways to help improve the appearance of your skin’s tone for a more even-looking complexion. Find Dr. Kwan’s best tips, ahead. 

TIP 1: Use a Product to Help Exfoliate and Brighten

Dr. Kwan recommends investing in an exfoliating and brightening product to help fade the look of dark spots and marks over time. Try the Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner with Witch Hazel or the OLEHENRIKSEN Glow OH Dark Spot Toner.

After toning, a brightening serum can also help address uneven skin tone. We love the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum or the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Dullness Vitamin C Serum.

Tip 2: Apply Retinol 

Dr. Kwan also recommends incorporating retinol into your routine to address an uneven skin tone. According to a study published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging, retinol can help tackle the signs of photoaging, which includes discoloration.

It’s important to remember, however, that retinol is a powerful ingredient and can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight. Make sure you introduce your skin to retinol in small amounts and low concentrations, and apply it right before bed in the evening. During daytime hours, apply broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher diligently and take other sun protection measures. We like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum with 0.3% Pure Retinol or the Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum to get you started. Unsure if retinol is right for you? Check in with your dermatologist for advice.

TIP 3: Practice Proper Sun Safety Measures

Exposure to the sun’s harsh UV rays can lead to an uneven skin tone, so Dr. Kwan advises that it’s best to avoid excessive sun exposure and to keep your skin guarded with broad-spectrum sunscreen daily (yes, even on cold or cloudy days). In addition to sunscreen, be sure to wear protective clothing and seek shade when possible. Two sunscreens to try? The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral SPF Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid and SPF 30 or the Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen with SPF 30.

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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