When was the last time you felt confident enough to leave the house without any makeup?

Sometimes, we’re just tired. Others, we can’t really pinpoint what’s off, but our skin just isn’t looking its best.

Even if we have no breakouts and minimal redness, the need for foundation and concealer remains.

The cause is discoloration. Ranging from the obvious sunspot to the barely-perceptible acne scar, these little imperfections add up to an uneven skin tone. 

Recently, I’ve been wearing less and less makeup. My skin can breathe, I’m saving money, and I have to be honest – it feels like freedom.

Today, I’ll show you how this is possible for you, too. I’ll show you how to fix uneven skin tone, and how to prevent it from happening again.

​What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?

First, what is uneven skin tone?

Also called hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones might have sun spots (also known as “liver spots”), dark marks, and blotchiness.

Freckles can also be considered hyperpigmentation, but they are tougher to remove. Besides, freckles are awesome. You should keep them.

Freckling is usually the result of genetics and a little sun, anyway. We’re talking about that misshapen blob of slightly darker skin on the cheekbone.

How did it get there?

  • ​​PIH. PIH stands for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. PIH is a type of scarring. Unlike other scars, PIH can be totally flat, no protrusions or indentations. It’s just an area that’s a darker color than the rest of your skin. ​​Injuries and breakouts come with inflammation. An atypically high amount of melanin is dispatched to the area as it heals, and this creates the dark mark. PIH can show up anywhere on the body. It can be seen on the hands and bodies of people who play instruments, where there is a lot of repetitive friction. It’s on the arms and backs of those recovering from terrible eczema episodes.And of course, we see it after a pimple has gone away. While anyone can get PIH, it’s more common in those with darker skin tones, since they have more melanin.
  • Alternate Arrow RightSun damage. Sun exposure is a fact of life on Earth. Everyone, pretty much without exception, will experience some degree of extra pigmentation from the sun’s rays. But how many sun spots you get, and how dark they become, is often up to you. Act as soon as you see the faint spot appearing, and you can knock it back. Darker, more “seasoned” spots are more difficult to lighten. In the last few decades, sun exposure has been of greater concern due to the depletion of our ozone layer. The ozone is what filters UV rays, which are the type of rays that damage our skin. Unfortunately, that means you’re more likely to get sun spots than your grandmother was. On the bright side, the ozone layer might currently be repairing itself, following the ban of certain chemicals.  In the same vein, your skin requires action in order to begin the healing process. Sun spots don’t go away on their own. 
  • ​​Hormones. Did you know that women are more likely to get sun spots? Figures, right? That’s because our sex hormones conspire with the sun to produce more melanin. This can result in a condition we know as melasma. This is even more common during pregnancy, when melasma is known as the “pregnancy mask”. All told, more than half of all pregnant women deal with some kind of facial discoloration while carrying. The truth is, any type of acceleration or disruption in hormone production can cause hyperpigmentation. Many women on hormonal birth control develop an uneven skin tone within months. As with other uneven skin tone causes, this is just a boost in the production of melanin. Hyperpigmentation from pregnancy and contraception often clears up on its own. Typically, after you’ve given birth or quit the contraceptive.  
  • Alternate Arrow Right​​Environmental factors. So far, we now know that inflammation of any kind – from acne to sun – can stimulate excess melanin production. Depending on where you live, some might even regard life as a land mine of inflammation.  Apropos to our struggling ozone layer, pollution has very negative impacts on our skin. If you live in a smoggy area, you might experience a 20% increase in uneven skin tone.  What’s in all of this traffic exhaust and industrial fog? Free radicals. As you know, we do our best to combat these by upping our antioxidant intake. These stick to our cells, causing inflammation. Finally, it triggers an increase in melanin delivery. 
  • Alternate Arrow RightPoor circulation. Perhaps you don’t have obvious discoloration, but the skin looks blotchy or dull. Poor circulation with inadequate blood oxygenation can indeed lead to an uneven skin tone.   How does this happen? A sedentary lifestyle, a tobacco habit, and dehydration all have an impact on your circulation. When your blood is not circulating at appropriate levels, waste is not carried away efficiently, and healing and recovery don’t occur as normal. All of this leads to varying degrees of patchiness.  Poor healing can also mean those acne dark marks stick around longer. 

​Dermatologist Solutions for Hyperpigmentation

If your spots are obvious, and you really want to know how to fix uneven skin tone, a professional might be your best bet. After a consultation, your dermatologist will decide whether or not your situation warrants one of the following treatments.

  • Lasers – Powerful, highly concentrated lasers blast apart pigments that make up spots and imperfections. It may take several treatments, and will easily ​cost thousands of dollars.  
  • Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion sits on the less invasive end of things. This procedure exfoliates more layers of the skin than your scrub at home could ever hope. It’s also cheaper than laser treatments, but you might require more sessions. 
  • Chemical peels – Those curious as to how to fix uneven skin tone on face have certainly come across many chemical peels. Some try it at home, which is definitely risky. The price on these vary. Again, multiple sessions are common. 
  • Microneedling – Microneedling is usually combined with topicals to deliver skin-lightening ingredients deeper into the skin. Hundreds of tiny needles poke miniscule holes in your upper layers, prompting a repair response.

Microneedling, or dermarolling, is done at home by many. However, a professional will use longer needles and greatly reduce your risk of infection. In the end, it can make the $200-per-session price tag worth it.

​The Best Home Remedies for Uneven Skin Tone

  • 1Fruit acids. Among all of the dermatologist-recommended ingredients for uneven skin tone, you’ll find vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to brighten the skin, and this includes lightening darker areas. It’s also a potent antioxidant. If you want to use vitamin C for your uneven skin tone, you can use the purest source: fruit. Mash some strawberries and/or kiwi to make a mask. Or, simply rub a slice all over your skin and let it sit for 30 minutes.A lot of sources will recommend lemon. Lemon is actually too acidic for skin, and can damage your skin’s acid mantle. Signs of such damage include redness, peeling, and breakouts.

    ​vitamin C serum – click for price

    If you want to play it safe, use avitamin C serum – click for price. A good stable, vitamin C solution won’t come in a clear bottle (sunlight spoils vitamin C).

  • 2Turmeric. Turmeric is a centuries-long remedy for dark marks and acne scarring. Although, it is best to use it when a spot is new or in the process of forming. 

    That’s because its superpower is reducing inflammation – the inflammation that spikes melanin production. Using a turmeric mask twice a week is a simple, effective way to stop dark areas from progressing. And like vitamin C, it has a brightening effect.


    To make a turmeric mask, mix a tablespoon of yogurt and ¾ of a teaspoon of ground turmeric together. If you like add a drizzle of honey. Spread it on and leave it for ten minutes before rinsing. Any yellow staining will fade within a day or so. 

  • 3Neem. Struggling with uneven skin tone on body? Some people are lucky enough to forget that breakouts can happen to anyone. For dark marks left behind after acne, big bites, and more, there’s neem oil. neem oil

    ​neem oil – click for price​​​neem oil – click for price


    Word of warning: pure neem oil – click for price does not smell good. It reminds me of chicken soup.


    But if you can get past the odor, it really works.

  • 4Dairy. For ages, women have been slathering yogurt on their faces. Mostly for two reasons: lactic acid and probiotics. Truthfully, exfoliants like baking soda (don’t use it) and facial scrubs (no walnut shells, please) can be damaging to skin. 

    Scrubs can create small, jagged tears in skin which might actually create scars themselves. Additionally, they can disrupt your skin’s delicate pH. For this reason, we go for acidic, or chemical, exfoliation. It sloughs off damaged top layers without tearing.



    To be fair, the lactic acid content in yogurt and milk isn’t strong enough to rid you of obvious spots. Still, it makes an incredible mixing medium for skin-lightening ingredients like turmeric and strawberry puree. Combine it with other remedies for best results.

​Preventing Hyperpigmentation

Whether you go pro or DIY, preventing future spots should be at the forefront of your skincare plan.

Here are six ways to ensure continuing success.

  • 1Wear SPF. Lots of it. No, your foundation doesn’t count. Foundations, tinted moisturizers, and BB creams with SPF are not effective because we aren’t using a full nickel-sized amount. If we are, the makeup itself may be diluting it.

    Before applying any makeup, apply a mineral sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to the face. I recommend mineral formulations as they’re more tolerable. A tinted version – click for price can prevent any white cast that may make you look ashy. Apply twice daily.


  • 2Do NOT pick at your skin. How’d you get that acne scar? In many instances, it’s because you were touching it. Popping a pimple is never harmless for this exact reason – it leaves a scar.

    Even removing a scab early on can lead to a dark spot that sticks around for months

  • 3Hydrate. Tell the truth, you knew this involved drinking more water. Sorry, but your skin needs it in order to bounce back. Similarly, applying moisturizer is a key way to leverage your body’s natural defense against inflammation and scarring. 

    Balance is important here. If you tend to have drier skin, a richer moisturizer may be necessary. If you’re acne prone, don’t skip moisture.


    For you, a formula specifically for oily skin will work wonders.  

  • 4Speak to your OBGYN. Sometimes, our current method of birth control isn’t working out. You wouldn’t necessarily switch due to the melasma. Still, your doc should be aware of every single side effect you’re experiencing.

    Some gynecologists may recommend a lower dose of hormones, or advise that it should taper off after some time.

  • 5Diet and exercise. What’s my favorite way to fight inflammation? Diet. The best way to get the blood moving? Exercise. It’s that simple; eat a whole foods diet, get moderate exercise five days a week, and enjoy better, brighter skin.
  • 6Patience. If you’re trying a new topical product, or visiting an aesthetician for treatments, you probably won’t see results overnight.

    A good rule of thumb with creams, peels, and other treatments is to give it six weeks. However, that’s only so long as long as there are no adverse reactions.


​Final Word

In today’s world, hyperpigmentation is hard to avoid. The influences are, quite literally, all around us.

From pollutants to the sun’s rays, we all have to deal with a few spots at some point. Furthermore, age and lifestyle can decide how many marks we get. 

There are many options for treating them, though. For instance, a dermatologist may recommend lasers, peels, and other deep exfoliators.

Meanwhile, natural ingredients like fruit can brighten our skin and provide gentle exfoliation in one shot. 

Ultimately, how uneven your skin gets is mostly up to you. If you do the following, you can shorten or stop dark marks altogether:

  • Wear SPF daily 
  • Eat an antioxidant-rich diet 
  • Balance your hormones
  • Never skip moisturizer 
  • Keep your hands off of pimples and scabs 
  • Stay the course with any treatments to allow the results to manifest 

Finally, I need your take on hyperpigmentation. Do you know how to fix uneven skin tone?

If you’ve ever been pregnant or on birth control, did you struggle with melasma?

Are there any products or remedies you think work best? 

Share below, and you can help our community get clearer, smoother, even-toned skin.