What is Uneven Skin Tone and How Can You Manage It?

Uneven skin tone is a common skin care concern. It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as sun exposure, aging, and genetics. Fortunately, there are ways to manage uneven skin.

uneven skin concerns and tips to treat

What is Uneven Skin Tone?

Texture and tone are two important aspects of skin care. Texture refers to the feel of your skin—for example, if your skin feels rough and bumpy—while tone refers to the color of your skin.

Understanding the difference between texture and tone may help you choose the right products for your skin type and achieve the best results.

What causes uneven skin tone? 

Your skin gets its color from a pigment called melanin. One of the main causes of uneven skin tone is pigmentation disorders, where your skin produces too much or not enough melanin. Too much melanin causes hyperpigmentation, and hypopigmentation is where you have too little melanin.

Hypopigmentation is often caused by injuries to the skin, genetic conditions, or diseases such as vitiligo.

Hyperpigmentation has many causes including sun damage, inflammation, certain medications, and acne. Acne can cause both hyperpigmentation and scarring, which can lead to an uneven complexion.

uneven skin tone causes

Finally, aging can also cause uneven skin tone. As we age, our skin cells regenerate more slowly and our collagen production decreases. This can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and a loss of elasticity. All of these factors can contribute to an uneven complexion.

Let's take a closer look at these causes below.

We all know that too much sun can be bad for our skin. But did you know that ultraviolet (UV) rays can also cause uneven skin tone? When the sun's UV rays penetrate the skin, they can trigger the production of melanin, resulting in dark spots or patches.

UV rays can also cause inflammation and damage to skin cells, which can lead to premature aging and a loss of elasticity. So, if you're concerned about uneven skin tone, it's important to protect yourself with sunscreen.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that in small amounts are not necessarily harmful, but can cause damage to our bodies if we are overexposed to them. They are produced naturally by the body, but can also be produced by overexposure to UV radiation, cigarette smoke, and pollution.

The overproduction and accumulation of free radicals in the body is known as oxidative stress. This can cause premature skin aging, wrinkles, and pigmentation spots. Free radicals can also damage the skin's natural barrier, triggering inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

According to the World Health Organization, 93% of the world's population is affected by pollutants in the air that can cause a number of skin problems.

Luckily our body produces antioxidants to protect against the effects of surface free radicals. In order to help protect our skin from the harmful effects of pollution, it’s important to use products that contain antioxidants and other supportive ingredients such as Cetaphil Restoring Lotion.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common skin condition that can occur after any type of inflammatory skin injury, such as an acne breakout, bug bite, burn, or cut. The injury triggers the overproduction of melanin, resulting in dark spots or patches on the skin. These spots can be any color, but they are usually darker than the surrounding skin.

Hormonal changes can also cause some skin changes. Melasma is a skin condition that results in brown or grayish skin spots and patches, usually affecting the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, and above the upper lip. More common in women, pregnancy is a common trigger for melasma and hormonal changes associated with menopause or taking birth control pills can also trigger it.

There are other causes of melasma, including sun exposure and certain medications. Although there is no one method of treatment, it’s important to protect your skin from UV rays by using sunscreen.

As we age, our skin tone can become uneven. Sun damage can cause ‘age spots’—brown spots and other discoloration on areas of our skin, which can range from several millimeters to a few centimeters.

Our skin’s collagen production, which is responsible for its elasticity and firmness, also decreases as we age. This is why wrinkles and fine lines start to form and uneven tones are more noticeable.

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, can help with uneven skin tone. Niacinamide is an important nutrient that helps keep our skin looking healthy. It can also help with moisture loss, protecting the skin from environmental damage.

tips to prevent uneven skin tone

3 Top Tips to Help Prevent Uneven Skin Tone

There are three important steps to include in your skincare routine to help you manage and prevent uneven skin tone.

Exfoliation can help improve your skin's appearance by removing dead skin cells and revealing healthy, glowing skin underneath. Exfoliating can also help enhance your skin's texture and reduce the appearance of pores. Want to get started with exfoliation? Try Cetaphil Health Radiance Gentle PHA Exfoliating Cleanser or Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub.

It's important to moisturize your skin every day – it not only helps keep your skin healthy-looking, but it can also prevent dryness and flaking. Moisturizers can be used to keep your skin hydrated, help reduce fine lines, and improve the integrity of your skin's natural barrier.

For maximum effectiveness choose a moisturizer formulated for your skin type, such as Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Renewing Cream for sensitive skin. It contains niacinamide and can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and boost resilience.

Sunscreen is essential for protecting yourself from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. It's also important to reapply regularly, and wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. 

You should also wear protective clothing and avoid being in the sun during peak hours. If you do find yourself in the sun, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to help keep your skin safe, such as Cetaphil Healthy Radiance Whipped Day Cream SPF 30.

The Bottom Line

Uneven skin tone is a common issue and there are things you can do to help improve your skin’s appearance. Be sure to exfoliate, moisturize, and use sunscreen. If you’re looking for products specifically designed to manage uneven skin tone, check out Cetaphil products for uneven tone and dark spots. With the right care you can achieve even, radiant skin!