- Step 1: Halt the damage Regardless of your particular skin tone issue—brown spots, freckles, acne scarring— prevent an uneven complexion from becoming worse by limiting your time in the sun, and wearing a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 year-round.
- TIP: Pregnancy and some hormonal contraceptives can alter pigmentation and make existing blotches worse, so be vigilant about protecting your skin from the sun if you’re pregnant or on birth control.
- Step 2: Use alpha hydroxy acids Clean and moisturize your skin with products containing alpha hydroxy acids, which even out skin by removing the dead skin cells that contain extra pigment.
- TIP: If you wear foundation, use a liquid one. It’s better at evening out skin tone than cream or powder makeup.
- Step 3: Use the right exfoliant Exfoliate with a product that contains soy, which blocks the transfer of pigment into skin cells, and salicylic acid, which clears away dead ones.
- Step 4: Apply a fade cream If you have dark areas, ask a dermatologist about a fade cream containing hydroquinone, which decreases pigment. Test the cream on a small patch of dark skin; if no irritation develops, apply it twice a day for 12 weeks.
- : Hydroquinone can be dangerous if taken in high doses for extended periods of time—leading some countries to ban it. Use under medical supervision.
- Step 5: Consider natural products If you’d prefer a gentler fade cream, look for one that contains azelaic or kojic acid, arbutin, or bearberry, licorice, or mulberry extract, all of which fade spots by suppressing pigment production.
- Step 6: See a professional For severe or stubborn dark spots, consider chemical peels, laser resurfacing, or microdermabrasion treatments.
- FACT: Sun damage is the main cause of wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.
You Will Need
- Facial cleanser and moisturizer with alpha hydroxy acids
- Exfoliant with soy and salicylic acid
- A fade cream
- Chemical peels
- laser resurfacing
- or microdermabrasion
- Liquid foundation