Uneven skin tone? Our expert tips may help

Uneven skin texture is one of the most prevalent and stubborn issues we deal with as we age, but these days it is possible to improve our complexion.

Clear, even skin has long been considered the hallmark of youth and vitality.

However, it can be hard to achieve – lifestyle and genetic factors tend to work against us as we age, contributing to uneven skin tone issues such as sun hyperpigmentation, age spots, freckling, melasma and other common skin issues.

Thankfully, nowadays, there’s a multitude of products and services that target and treat uneven skin.

But before you jump in, here’s what the experts say.

How the sun can influence uneven skin tone

UV damage can not only prematurely age your skin and increase your skin cancer risk, it may also cause hyperpigmentation.

Leading Australian integrated facialist April Brodie says UV exposure doesn’t cause all forms of uneven skin, but it can worsen the condition.

“One of the biggest problems among my clients is the idea that there’s no need to wear sunscreen unless they’re outdoors and it’s sunny,” April says.

“You won’t get burnt indoors because glass blocks out the part of UV radiation that burns the skin; however, glass doesn’t completely block out the part of the UV spectrum that causes pigment and ageing.”

Skin expert Jacqueline Brennan says sun exposure can play a major role in causing hyperpigmentation.

Often, sun-induced hyperpigmentation is the delayed remnants of unprotected sun exposure in our younger years.

“To prevent further darkening, it’s crucial to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays by using daily sunscreen,” Jacqueline says.

Other factors that may cause uneven skin tone

Sun damage is not the only culprit.

Jacqueline says hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause are common causes of melasma, while certain medications, skin trauma and inflammation from conditions such as acne or eczema can also contribute to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

“Genetic predispositions, especially in clients with darker skin, can increase their susceptibility to melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” Jacqueline says.

“It’s essential to consider these factors and seek guidance for managing and treating hyperpigmentation effectively.”

There’s also growing debate about blue light exposure and its link to hyperpigmentation, but ongoing research is needed to better understand its effects.

Best ways to treat hyperpigmentation

“While treatments can fade dark spots, managing hyperpigmentation requires ongoing efforts and a combination of approaches,” Jacqueline says.

Her top tips for those with uneven skin are consistent skincare, daily sunscreen, and professional guidance.

“Ingredients like hydroquinone, retinoids, vitamin C, kojic acid and niacinamide can be beneficial,” Jacqueline says.

“However, the effectiveness may vary depending on the individual and the type of hyperpigmentation.”

In terms of professional services, Jacqueline recommends chemical peels, laser and intense pulsed light therapy, in addition to microneedling for those with particularly stubborn hyperpigmentation.

Why skin terminology matters

Melasma, rosacea, freckling and hyperpigmentation often get lumped together, but according to Jacqueline, it’s important to differentiate them as treatments vary.

If you experience any of these skin issues, it’s recommended that you seek professional help.

Common skin conditions associated with uneven skin tone:

  • Melasma shows up as brownish patches on the face, usually symmetrical, and is associated with hormonal changes.
  • Rosacea involves redness of the skin, flushing and visible blood vessels on the face.
  • Freckles are those cute small brown spots we often see, caused by a combination of genetics and sun exposure.
  • Hyperpigmentation refers to dark spots or patches on the skin, which can be caused by multiple factors such as sun exposure and inflammation.

Read more on skin texture and fighting the signs of ageing:

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.