Whether it’s a first date, a job interview, or just a regular day on the town, having great skin is a definite confidence-booster! What better way to make a lasting first impression than by showing off a perfect complexion (and a big smile)?
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t blessed with perfect skin naturally, so we rely on our skincare routines and the perfect products that help us achieve the complexion we desire…especially those of us with uneven skin tone.
Below, I’m going to discuss some skin troublemakers and share my tips to help you prepare for that big day you have planned!
Uneven Skin: How Does It Happen?
Well, to be honest, pretty much anyone can have an uneven skin texture. Hyperpigmentation — the irregular darkening of the skin — is very common among all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. It’s caused by an overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment responsible for our hair and skin color, and shows up as dark patches and spots. You may also notice post inflammatory hyperpigmentation after an injury, such as a burn, or an inflammatory condition, such as an allergic reaction.
Other conditions, like rosacea, also cause our complexions to become uneven. Rosacea is facial redness (think cheeks and nose) and sometimes comes with swollen bumps or visible blood vessels. Rosacea is commonly found in middle-aged women with fair skin.
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Hormones (yes, we’re groaning too) are also a guilty party in the Uneven Skin Tone Brigade. Ever heard of melasma? No? What about the “mask of pregnancy”? They’re one in the same. Melasma is hormone-related hyperpigmentation caused by an increase in hormone stimulation. It’s most common in (you guessed it) pregnant women, women who take contraceptives, and women going through menopause.
If acne wasn’t annoying enough, it’s another culprit. Cysts, whiteheads, and blackheads definitely don’t help our skin look smooth. Acne is caused by clogged pores, excess sebum production (our skin’s natural moisturizer), and bacteria. Other triggers could be diet, hormones, or certain medication.
Environmental Factors Contribute, Too
Aside from regular ol’ genetics and aging (things we can’t control, much as we wish we could) there are a variety of environmental factors that contribute to uneven skin tone as well.
- Sun Exposure
We can’t stress it enough: you can love the sun and your skin. You just have to protect, protect, protect! When your skin is exposed to UV rays, it causes sun damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 90 percent of aging is caused by the sun. This means brown spots and uneven skin tone as a result of melanin that your body produces to help protect your skin naturally. So do your skin a favor, and SPF it up every day!
While we may not think about their impact on our skin, air pollutants are all around us. Tiny particles of debris, smoke, or dirt can go deep into the skin’s layers, which can cause dryness, loss of elasticity, and more wrinkles and brown spots. Toxins in the air can also lead to allergic reactions, redness, inflammation, and acne.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
If you’ve got a big “first impression” on the calendar, there’s no better time than right now to get even…with your skin tone, I mean! The sooner you start preparing, the better. There are a variety of natural remedies and affordable products on the market to help you in your skin quest.
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen
Hyperpigmentation is often caused by sun exposure. Applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily is the best defense against brown spots. One of my mantras is prevention is easier than reversal! I personally love Suntegrity tinted sunscreen because it’s designed for the face and it gives great coverage — while evening out your skin tone at the same time!
- Exfoliate for evenness
One easy way to give your skin a great glow: Slough off those dead skin cells and buff your complexion through exfoliation. 2-3 times per week keeps your skin looking and feeling rejuvenated.
- Figure out your skin type
Sensitive? Oily? Dry? Comination? Acne-prone? If you don’t know, you absolutely should. Determining your skin type is the best way to find the right products for your skin — from foamy soaps to full-coverage foundation. Keeping your skin calm and clean can help combat the effects of hyperpigmentation.
- Read labels
Once you know your skin type, check the ingredients of your favorite products before you purchase. See what the active ingredients are — look for Activated Charcoal to help remove pollutants; Oligopeptides, Niacinamide, and Zinc Glycinate to help control melanin production; and Retinol to restore skin.
There are a variety of products and options on the market to help get your skin ready to make the perfect first impression. Follow these steps, take great care of your skin, and be patient — you’ll have great skin in no time, and achieving a fabulous first impression will be a cinch!