Skin is a reactive organ affected by everything from hormones to UV. Any injury to the skin, even an inflamed pimple, triggers the skin’s defense mechanism: melanin. Over time, all these insults to the skin add up, resulting in patches of excess pigmentation and uneven tone.
With such a complex system of triggers, is even tone even possible? Definitely. Achieving and maintaining even tone requires a regimen focused on fading surface pigment and preventing pigment formation, and you can do it with four basic steps. Here’s your simple four-step guide to even tone.
For achieving and maintaining even tone, exfoliation is critical. The top layer of the skin, the epidermis, is mostly dead skin cells that are constantly shedding off and being replaced as new healthy cells make their way to the surface. A complete cell cycle takes about thirty days. Exfoliation speeds the process, revealing brighter, smoother skin sooner. Another benefit of exfoliation? The clearing of dead skin cells and oil from pores, reduces the chances of breakouts and inflammation that can fuel hyperpigmentation.
What’s the best way to exfoliate? You can do it with physical agents—granules, a scrub, a brush, a buffing pad—or chemical means—retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, enzymes, or peels. I prefer the chemical exfoliants because they are easier to control. People tend to over-exfoliate with scrubs and spinning brushes.
Vitamin A propionate speeds the skin’s natural 30-day cell turnover cycle to about 14, disrupting the transfer of pigment to skin cells and breaking up surface pigment. L Mandelic will also do the same to the skn.
Acids remove the upper layers of dead skin cells, leaving skin renewed, brightened, and free of cellular debris. Mandelic acid is an excellent choice when even tone is your goal because, in addition to its cell renewing action, it’s also an inhibitor of the enzyme responsible for melanin production.
Other good choices are:
- Lactic acid (gentle exfoliator that smooths texture)
- Kojic acid (a melanin inhibitor with photoprotective effects)
- Glycolic acid (a potent accelerator for cell turnover)
- Mandelic/ Latic blend is great with far less down time.
Brightening agents work in the deeper layers of skin to interrupt pigment production and block it from reaching skin’s surface. They may also have an antioxidant effect that protects against pigment-inducing UV or environmental damage. Here are some of the top performers.
Vitamin C is known for its ability to prevent and repair UV damage. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse that interacts with copper to inhibit the melanin-stimulating enzyme tyrosinase, reducing pigment formation and encouraging a brighter, more even tone. It also has potent photoprotective effects that block melanin triggers. It gets an exponential boost when paired with cell defending vitamin E as in our Pure C + E antioxidant serum.
Niacinamide blocks melanin from reaching the surface of the skin and prevents additional UV damage. Its cell renewing properties can also help speed the reduction of existing pigmentation. Niacinamide is an all-around advocate for healthy skin, boosting ceramide production, contributing to healthy cell function, and reducing inflammation. My clients love my Niacinamide Moisture cream.
Peels (done by your aesthetician) rely on acids to remove the top layers of skin. The exfoliative effects spur cell regeneration, kickstart collagen, fade discoloration, and peel away impactions to rapidly improve texture and tone.
Daily sunscreen is a must to protect against the melanin-triggering effects of UV. I love my tinted zinc-based sunscreen. I also have a moisturizing SPF 30.
How long does it take to fade dark spots?
Pigment is rooted deep in the skin, which means the process is not fast. It has to travel up to the surface to be sloughed away layer by layer. Following these four steps will accelerate the process and maintain your even tone. It takes four to six weeks to begin to see results. Your equation for success: Regimen + Consistency + Time.
For more information, book an Advanced Skin Consultation from the red BookNow button on this page. We can talk.