Causes of Uneven Skin Tone And How To Treat It

Uneven skin tone can be a major hindrance in looking beautiful. Read all that you need to know about uneven tone and how to treat it.

By Amanda Palmer
Causes of Uneven Skin Tone And How To Treat It

Uneven skin tone

All of us wish to have celebrity like flawless skin. While some have a good skin naturally, some have to really work hard to get it. Some people have an uneven skin tone which poses as a major hindrance to beautiful skin. The skin is dark and patchy in some areas and light in the other areas. Uneven skin tone causes the skin to look ugly and patchy. Uneven skin tone is more noticeable from near and often the person with uneven skin tone shies away from getting too close to others.

Many people have been camouflaging their uneven skin tone with makeup. But this calls for a tedius procedure of applying concealer and foundation whenever you step out. But none need to live with uneven skin tone. It can be cured but first one needs to diagnose the reason behind the occurance. 

Uneven skin tone can happen due to a number of reasons. Here we shall study all the possible reasons of uneven skin tone, the natural remedies and the chemical remedies to cure the tone

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Causes of Uneven Skin Tone

Uneven skin tone is scientifically known as hyperpigmentation. It mostly occurs due to an overproduction of melanin in the skin. Melanin is responsible for a person's skin and hair color. Melanin pigment in the skin also protects the skin from dangerous UV rays from the sun. When the melanin pigment production is normal in the skin, the person gets an even skin tone but an overproduction of melanin results in an uneven skin tone. The resulting dark patches make a person look  12 years older with an aged skin. 

But why does the body suddenly start producing excess melanin?

Well, the answer to this can be different in different cases:

  • Sun Exposure: Sometimes, too much of sun exposure causes excess melanin production and sometimes hormonal changes trigger excess production. The harmful UV light from the sun damages the skin and causes brown spots and uneven skin tone. The skin protects itself against the harmful sun rays by producing an excess amount of skin pigment. This is proved by the fact that the other parts of the body which remain covered rarely develop uneven skin tone or dark patches. They are mostly seen on the exposed skin of the face, neck and arms. 
  • Pollution: The unhealhty polluted air enters the skin and form dark spots resulting in an uneven skin tone. 
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes in the body occur during pregnancy, stress or with age. This often causes hyperpigmentation in the body. Sometimes, hormonal changes also occur because of wrong medication or contraceptives. This hormone-related hyperpigmentation is called Melasma.
  • Scarring: Scarring of the skin can be caused due to acne lesions or skin injury. This scarring results in uneven skin tone. 

Natural Remedies of Uneven Skin Tone

Whatever the causes of excess melanin production in the body, the good news is that it can be easily cured. These remedies are economical and most of them can be easily found in your kitchen. You also do not need any external help with these remedies. The effects are slower than chemical treatments but are safe and free of side-effects. Here we have listed 15 natural remedies for treatment of uneven skin tone. 

1. Drink water

This is one of the most economical remedies to cure uneven skin tone. As skin is made up of 75% of water, drink sufficient amount of water will keep your skin hydrated. Sufficient amount of water will detox your skin and cleanse it from inside out improving the skin tone remarkably. 

2. Use a Sunscreen

The sun emits harmful UV rays which cause tremendrous amount of damage to the skin. Applying sunscreen regularly will preven the UV rays from causing any harm to the skin and regular use will eradicate your uneven skin tone over a period of time. A good sunscreen is one with SPF 15 or more. One of the most important remedies, a good sun block also prevents your skin from premature ageing. 


3. Use a suitable moisturizer

Using a suitable moisturizer for your skin is very important even if you have an oily skin. There are different types of moisturizers available according to different skin types. A moisturizer provides the required nourishment to the skin and prevents it from getting too dry. A suitable moisturizer is one of the daily remedies you should use to make your skin tone soft and supple. 

4. Use Baking Soda

Uneven skin tone sometimes develops due to scarring and sun exposure. The dry flaky skin settle on the skin resulting in dark patches. A paste of baking soda on the skin works as a mild abrasive useful in gently scratching the surface of the skin to reveal the healthier and even toned skin from beneath.

5. Yogurt Mask

Yogurt contains natural bleaching agents which help to gently exfoliate the skin and remove the layer of dead skin cells. Yogurt also naturally lightens pigmentation, uneven skin patches and sun tan. It is a very safe and economical remedy which gives quick results. You can just massage your skin with yogurt or leave it for sometime to dry and rinse it later on. This treatment can be done twice or thrice a week as it is completely harmless. 

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6. Milk Powder Paste

Just like yogurt, milk has natural bleaching agents which are very effective in removing the sun tan or the dark spots which have occured due to pigmentation or scarring. This treatment can be used twice a week for curing uneven skin tone. You are required to apply a paste of milk powder on your dark spots and rinse off with water after 20 minutes. 

7. Sugar Scrub

Sugar works as a natural scrub and exfoliator. It efficiently helps to even out uneven skin tone leaving the skin soft and supple. It is helpful in gently scraping away dead skin cells thereby revealing the new skin underneath. You need to add some water in sugar to make it like a paste. Scrub with this mixture on the skin to remove dark spots. This treatment can be used on dark elbows and knees also. 

8. Sandalwood mask

Sandalwood has been used in ancient Indian Ayurvedic treatments for beauty since a very long time. You need to make a paste of Sandalwood with milk or water and rub it on the face in gentle circular motions for sometime. The natural properties of sandalwood remove the uneven patches on the skin rendering it soft and with an even tone. 

9. Turmeric

Turmeric has been used since a very long time in Indian beauty treatments. Indian people make a turmeric paste with lemon or water and apply it on the skin to remove the dark patches and rendering an even toned skin.

10. Raw Papaya

Papaya is rich in Vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant. IAntioxidants help to fight the free radicals causing damage to the skin. It contain Papain which helps to break down the inactive proteins and also removes the dead skin cells. Raw papaya pulp can be used to massage on the skin to render an even skin tone. 

11. Tomato Pulp

Tomatoes are helpful in balancing the skin pH, tightening the skin pores, removing sunburn, reducing skin irritation, treating acne and also evening out the skin tone. Tomatoes have powerful antioxidants along with sufficient amounts of vitamins A and C.Tomatoes also contain lycopene, which helps in fighting free radicals in the body. 

12. Nutmeg, cinnamon, honey and lemon mask

This combination works very well for removing dark spots and rendering an even skin tone. The cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants which fight the free radicals in the skin. Nutmeg reduces inflammation and also cures the acne scars. Honey detoxifies the skin and the lemon helps to build the collagen in the skin and also lightens the appearance of skin blemishes and uneven tone. You can use this paste thrice a week to do wonders to your skin. 

13. Honey and Oats

Oats is a wonderful exfoliator. When mixed with honey, the oatmeal help in breaking out the dirt and exfoliating skin abruptions to render a smoother looking skin with an even tone.  Honey contains powerful antibacterial properties which reduce the size of the scars on the skin and makes it soft and supple. 

14. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural skin lightener because of the presence of citric acid in lemon. Lemon juice has ample amount of vitamin C which is greatly beneficial to the skin. One can massage the face gently with lemon juice and wash after 5 to 10 minutes. Those who have a sesitive skin should dilute it with water. 

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15. Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Using a natural toner like Apple Cider Vinegar Toner clears the excess dirt and opens up the pores leaving the skin to breathe freely. The antibacterial property of the vinegar clears the excess oil and restores the PH balance of the skin. The result is an even skin tone and a flawless skin. 

Importance of Toners in treatment of uneven skin tone

Toners are very essential in treatment of uneven skin tone. Toners refine and reduce the size of skin pores when used regularly. 

There are various types of toners available in the market. They are available in three types: Alcohol-free, skin tonics and Astringents. They are even sold as 'freshners' and 'skin tonics'. 

A toner should be selected based on the skin type. Alcohol-free toners are best suited for dry-skin people. They do not dry out the skin and restore the PH balance of the skin very gently. The skin tonics works best for people with normal, oily or combination skin type. The skin tonics remove excess oil from the skin and keep the face clean.

Recently, there has been a hype in the fashion sector about using alcohol-free toners. But their major drawback is that they do not remove the excess oil. They only suit people with dry skin as they restore the lost moisture. 

Toners with alcohol content are actually bad as they remove the oil from the skin. This results in the skin producing excess oil thereby making it oilier. Using alcohol-containing toner might dehydrate your skin and eventually resulting in premature ageing. 

So the best is to buy a toner with a mild amount of alcohol and still better is to consult a dermatologist for a toner that would suit your skin type.

Medicines used for uneven skin tone

There are various medical creams available for treatment of uneven skin tone. Although these are available over the counter, it is advisable to use these creams under a dermatologist's prescription. These treat the pigmentation faster than the natural remedies but these might have some side effects if not used properly or if they do not suit your skin :

1. 10% glycolic acid gel
2. Retinoid cream
3. Hydroquinone cream
4. Cream with Kojic Acid
5. Combination of Kojic Acid, Retinol and Vitamin C
6. Niacinamide
7. Salicylic acid

These creams are available in different combinations and different concentrations. A combination of retinol, kojic acid and vitamin C work by inhibiting the melanin-creating enzyme called tryosinase. Glycolic acid and such other ingredients lighten the dark spots by exfoliating the excess melanin chemically from the top layer of the skin cells. Niacinamide also inhibits the production of the enzyme tryosinase. Hydroquinone bleaches the dark spots of the uneven skin tone by breaking down the granules of the melanin pigment and also inhibiting the tryosinase enzyme.

Side Effects of Topical Ointments

Hydroquinone cream might cause skin irritation. Sometimes, these creams might cause an adverse reaction on the skin leading to redness, irritation, peeling and pain. Sometimes, these symptoms are temporary and subside in some time. But if on application of any of the above mentioned creams, skin irritation, reddening and burning sensation persists, then you are recommended to discontinue use and consult a dermatologist immediately. 

Non-Surgical and Non-Invasive Treatments

If you want your uneven skin tone to be cured quickly with immediate results, then you can consult your dermatologist for cosmetic treatments. These treatments are done for Hyperpigmentation, Hypopigmentation and Uneven Skin Tone. They have to be done uder expert guidance and cannot be tried at home. 

There are a number of non-invasive and non-surgical treatments available:

1. PPx/lsolaz laser treatment:

This is by far one of the best treatments for uneven skin tone. It is a painless treatment and suitable for all skin types. With just five sessions, one can see a remarkable difference in their uneven skin tone. Laser treatment is gaining popularity for treating different kinds of skin problems. In this treatment, light is gently pulsed onto the skin which helps in destroying the bacteria, unwated hair, redness and damaged skin due to sun burn. 
2. Skin Peels:

In this treatment, a mixture of ascorbic acid containing salicylic acid and vitamin C, lactic acid and citric acid is applied to the face. Salicylic acid and Vitamin C encourage the removal of dead skin cells, lactic acid is great for exfoliating and citric acid works as an excellent antioxidant. 

3. Medical Microdermabrasion:

Microdermabrasion is a very effective treatment in removing the dead skin cells. In this treatment, medical grade crystals are passed over skin at very high pressure and later vacuumed up. With this treatment, the blood flow to the skin is stimulated and as a result, fresh oxygen is delivered to the black areas of the skin. This encourages new cell growth.

Uneven skin tone in babies

Some babies are born with uneven skin tone. During the initial few days after birth of babies, these dark patches on skin appear black but slowly these fade away with some completely vanishing away within months. These patches appear more prominent in the first few days, because the hormones from the mother has crossed the placenta and then entered the babies blood stream resulting in some extra swelling which is very temporary. The babies skin is generally cured on its own after a few months but if you want immediate and effective results, you can try some of the below mentioned tips. 

Tips to cure uneven skin tone in babies

There are a few tips to cure the uneven skin tone in babies and to make your baby's skin fair:

1. Gram Flour Paste:

A gram flour paste can be made with mixing raw milk, fresh cream, turmeric and gram flour. This paste can be applied on the baby's skin and left to dry. Later, just rub it off with a damp cloth. The raw milk has anti-bacterial properties. 

2. Fruit Sap:

Fruit juice can be fed to a baby above three months which will help cleanse the epidermis and enhance the baby's complexion. Always make fresh fruit juice at home.

3. Oil Massage:

A warm oil massage helps to improve the circulation of blood. It also helps to make the baby's skin soft by adding an extra layer of moisture to the skin. 

4. A baby body pack:

A pack of turmeric, sandalwood paste and saffron with raw milk can be applied on the skin and left to dry for 15 minutes. Wipe it later with a damp cotton cloth.

5. A baby scrub:

A mixture of chick peas, turmeric and fresh cream works as a good scrub for your baby's skin. Apply the mixture and leave it to dry. Rub it off with a damp cloth after some time. 

These above mentioned remedies can be used to curing some uneven or dry skin patches on your baby's body. Always apply a good moisturizer to your baby after bath to restore the moisture. 

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Prevention of Uneven Skin Tone


Uneven skin tone can occur due to hormonal changes or due to skin problems. While some reasons arenot in your hand, you can definitely prevent the occurance of uneven skin tone due to pollution, sun exposure and neglect of your skin. You need to protect the skin on daily basis from the harmful effects of sun rays by stepping out with a good sun block . A good moisturizer with SPF works towards nourishing your skin and also preventing the harmful rays of the sun to cause any damage. Another important causes of uneven skin tone can be a dehydrated body. One needs to drink plenty of water to flush out toxins from the body.

Lastly, you need to indulge in moderate activity ranging from regular exercise or walking regularly to stimulate blood flow and increasing your heart rate.  If your heart rate increases, your body will pump fresh blood to the skin evenly.

Best Cosmetic Creams for Uneven Skin Tone


If you have been wondering on what creams to purchase for the treatment of your uneven skin tone, then below is a list of the best creams for treating uneven skin tone. These are cosmetic creams manufactured by renowned brands. According to a survey done last year, these below have topped the list:

1. Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector & Optimizer:
This product features a dual chamber with two different formulas that work together for the treatment of uneven skin tone. There is a dark spot-fading serum on one side and the other side has a soothing serum which soothes out the irritation. Both the formulas are expelled together at the same time on pressing the dispenser to prevent and repair simultaneously. 

2. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution

This formula is an efficient anti-aging cream. It has licorice root extracts which help brighten your skin tone. The antioxidant ferulic acid is great for protecting the skin against sun's rays. The retinol in the combination cures the fine lines and wrinkles by working on the cell renewal process. 

3. Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Nourishing Face Moisturizer:

This is a very effective daily moisturizer that works towards brightening your skin. The SPF 25 present in the moisturizer protects the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. 

4. Karuna Brightening+ Face Mask

The exfoliating salicylic acid and the brightening plant extracts present in this face mask help to render the skin brighter, smoother and softer in just a few minutes. 

5. Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub:

This skin scurb works towards evening out the skin tone. Grapefruit has shown properties to treat dark spots. It scrubs off the dead skin cells gently thereby reducing the discoloration. 

6. SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

The SkinCeuticals serum is an excellent cream to even out skin tone. It has shown remarkable changes in a 60% of the people who have tried it over a periof of 12 weeks. 

Uneven skin tone on black skin

It is easier to treat the uneven skin tone on fair skin with laser treatment but laser treatments do not always work on black skin. Indian people with dark skin or black-skinned people also have uneven skin tone. The laser treatments do not accurately target the darker spots in black-skinned people. On the contrary, it might make the discoloration worse in Indians or black-skinned people. 

For Indians with dark skin or black-skinned people, the safest treatment is a series of peels. Such people should use products that contain anti-inflammatory or skin-lightening benefits such as mulberrry extract, bearberry extract, licorice root extract and azelaic amino acid. Ferulic acid and vitamic C also show tremendous benefits on Indian skin or black skin. Ferulic acid is a powerful plant-based antioxidant that increases the properties of vitamins and protects the skin from sun damage. Vitamin C also works as a powerful antioxidant that has skin-lightening properties. It also helps fight against free radicals and UVA damange. 

Weather conditions differ in different countries. In some countries like India, uneven skin tone could arise due to excess sun exposure. Indian skin is more prone to sun damage because it is close to the equator and has excessive sunlight throughout the year. Sunshine is like an attack on the skin. Indian people should wear a good quality sun block on regular basis to keep their skin even toned. 



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