A common occurrence as we age, finding the right skincare routine for an even skin tone can seem like a quest. We explore the causes of uneven skin tone, including dark spots, and explore various even skin tone treatments.
1. Beware the sun: The causes of pigmentation: uneven and aging skin
As a barrier organ, in addition to protecting our bodies from pathogens (a bacterium, virus, or other microorganism that can cause disease) our skin also serves to shield our bodies but from physical and chemical stress. Due to our daily exposure to the environment around us, our skin is subject to gradual aging, including dark spots, for which the sun's rays are mostly responsible.
In addition to UV damage, pollution is among the most significant environmental stresses that trigger and intensify this(1).
Other extrinsic factors, linked to our environment and lifestyle, affect the appearance of skin aging(2). Beyond the sun exposure, a known major trigger of skin damage since UVB, UVA, and infrared (IR) rays are known to alter skin pigmentation and cause aging, other environmental factors include industrial pollution, urban exposure and tobacco.
2. Make self-care your priority: How your lifestyle can even skin out
Lifestyle also has a major impact on skin aging and can cause an uneven skin tone. Our sleeping habits, daily work stress, alcohol and tobacco consumption, exercise (or lack of), nutrition and medication all have a significant knock on effect on pigmentation, DNA repair, skin immunity and barrier function.
In addition to UV damage, pollution is among the most significant environmental stresses
Fatigue and stress both trigger the secretion cortisol: a chronic stress hormone. Cortisol secretion inhibits collagen formation, decreases amino acid uptake, and diminishes protein synthesis. Our skin relies on collagen to get an even skin tone and to stay healthy.
3. Clean up skin pollution: a big cause of uneven skin
Pollution damages our skin also causing an uneven skin tone. The face, neck and hands are the most exposed to these risks. The various polluting agents that cause skin aggressions are: ozone and nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and particles in suspension(3).
These atmospheric pollutants attach to the skin and mix with sebum; under the effect of UV light, they generate free radicals. They can cause skin allergies, eczema, etc. Pollution also aggravates certain skin conditions. Air pollution may accelerate skin aging, especially in the development of pigmentation marks and, to a lesser extent, to wrinkle formation. A high number of dark spots were also seen in the patients who were most exposed to air pollution(4).
4. Anti-aging for uneven skin tones: Use protection against UVA-UVB
To treat an uneven skin tone, we need to consider prevention. By applying a daily SPF to the face, we can obtain an even skin tone as use of a balanced UVA-UVB sunscreen provides strong photoprotection(5). Efficient daily UV protection, including UVB and UVA absorption, is necessary to avoid the cumulative effects of sun exposure. In vitro and in vivo photoprotection studies showed that, in addition to UVB protection, a cream or spray also containing sufficient UVA protection is essential to reach a significant prevention efficacy against UV ray induced damage and so get even skin(5).
5. Go deep with exfoliation for even skin
To obtain an even skin tone exfoliation is indispensable. In addition to helping you get even skin, exfoliating unclogs pores and minimises other aging signs like fine lines, forehead wrinkles and dark spots. Deeply cleansing your skin will get rid of dead skin cells, a toxic build-up and kickstart the production of new and healthier-looking skin - protected by SPF of course.
1. Dupont E et al, Beyond UV radiation: A skin under challenge (2003)
2. Krutmann & The Environmental Medicine Research Institute of Dusseldorf, Environmentally-induced skin and lung aging(2012)
3. Vierkötter et al, Study on the influence of Air pollution on Lung function, Inflammation and Aging (2010)
4. L’ORÉAL RESEARCH clinical studies
5. C.Marionnet et al, Exposure to Non-Extreme Solar UV Daylight: Spectral Characterization, Effects on Skin and Photoprotection (2014)