What Is Uneven Skin Tone – Causes, Treatments & Prevention

What is uneven skin tone?

Basically, uneven skin tone is discoloration or hyperpigmentation patches contrasting with your natural skin tone. And unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable with it.

Moreover, darker skin tones have little luck hiding it. Foundations and concealers are awesome for covering this, but treating them is better.

If you stumbled on this article because you are lacking in what uneven skin tone is, you are in the right place. You can learn more about the skin gradient and how to treat it.

What Is Uneven Skin Tone?

Uneven skin tone is a skin condition with varying skin colors or tones of your skin shade. It moves from light to dark or blotchy appearance on the skin. The term means a facial flush or contrasting skin color.

Uneven skin tone develops due to darkening of the skin pigmentation (a reaction caused by excessive melanin production) or patches appearing on the skin.

While it can be a discomfort, uneven skin does not relate to severe medical conditions. The reaction is more cosmetic than medical. However, there are times when uneven skin tone appears due to medical illness.

During such unexplained and sudden blotch on the face, it is best to seek medical help. Therefore, uneven skin tone is harmless and treatable in most cases.

Uneven skin tone for black skin

Uneven skin is common for everyone at different levels. The skin is exposed to different triggering that create this unbalanced skin. However, for dark skin, uneven skin tone causes a blotch of black and is more prominent.

While you would think uneven skin shades would be harder to spot the darker your skin, it is the opposite. Your spot becomes more apparent with your darker skin. So, if you, a dark-skinned complexion, have blotches of uneven skin spread across your face, it is due to more active and faster melanin production in your skin.

Contrary to beliefs, darker skins are more sensitive; therefore, they experience varying changes with little irritation or reaction.

What Causes Uneven Skin Tone

Uneven skin tone is an umbrella term for different hyperpigmentation that appears on the skin. It is based on the over secretion of the pigment by melanocytes (pigment cells) in a way to protect the skin. The following reasons are known to cause uneven skin tone on the skin.

1. Sun exposure

The UVA/UVB radiation from the sun can cause the breakdown of skin cells and protective glands (lipids) on the skin. To prevent this, the skin overproduces melanin. This thereby leads to the darkening of the exposed parts of the skin.

That is why you see parts like the arms and legs darker than the thighs, torso, or back. They are covered by clothes away from the sun.

2. Inflammatory reactions

This is based on the skin’s response to reactions like acne, eczema, burns, or wounds. Inflammatory hyperpigmentation is one of the most common causes of uneven skin. These skin issues leave a blotch or scar on the skin, even after treatment.

Melanin works overtime during the healing process, which causes a reaction or darkening of the affected spots.

3. Hormonal changes

When your body is going through a fluctuation in hormones, it may cause uneven skin tone. This is prominent during pregnancy and the use of birth control or drugs in general. Contraceptives may cause a shift or imbalance in hormones; therefore, hyperpigmentation is a side effect.

4. Aging

This is another cause of uneven skin tone. Like hormonal changes, the body’s cells are reducing or breaking down. This may lead to changes, including hyperpigmentation.

Also, the skin becomes weak, and collagen, lipids, and other components protecting the skin are less likely to. Therefore, the skin hyperpigmentation increases.

SEE: Essential Oils Best for Hyperpigmentation

5. Pollution

Polluted air can cause a change in skin pigmentation. More exposure to corrosive or harmful pollutants in the environment can lead to the overproduction of melanin to protect the skin. Smoke, dust, chemicals, and gas can affect the skin.

The buildup over time can corrupt the skin, changing shades of the skin in patches.

6. Skin issues

Melisma is a known discoloration of the skin, it appears on the face – nose, cheeks, forehead, and cupid’s bow area are prominent – and other parts of the body’s skin.

Other skin conditions are rosacea and psoriasis. These skin conditions can also leave hyperpigmentation marks on the skin, causing uneven skin tone.

7. Dry skin

When your skin is malnourished, it shows. Dry skin can leave patches on the face and body. These patches turn to uneven skin too. The discoloration can look ashen also. This is why you need to drink lots of water and moisturize your skin regularly.

8. Use of wrong skin care products

Uneven skin tone is more of a side effect in cases like this. Using bad products or unbalanced components can cause reactions, including burns, which lead to hyperpigmentation.

Using the wrong skin product does more harm than good. It can lead to a chain of reactions on the face, which leads to uneven or blotched skin.

SEE: Easy And Practical Ways To Use Potato For Skin Lightening

Uneven Skin Tone Treatment

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliation is the act of removing dead skin cells, leaving the skin with a clear, bright skin tone. Exfoliation removes the darkened part of the skin to reveal newer, brighter skin. Depending on your skin type and sensitivity, you can use chemical or physical exfoliators.

This method is the first essential treatment for uneven skin. It is a natural skincare treatment required to keep your skin clear and healthy.

2. Try over-the-counter treatments

This includes spot treatments and target products like serums. These two treat specific skin concerns or issues. Brightening serums or hyperpigmentation spot creams will target the issues and reduce the darkened skin over time.

Active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and arbutin are great treatments for combating hyperpigmentation.

SEE: Here’s Why You Need Retinol to Defy Age

3. In-house treatment

Getting treatment at the skin clinic, dermatologist, or other medical treatments produces a much faster result. However, try this treatment only if you have a severe case of uneven skin or OTC products are not working for you.

  • Chemical peels: This treatment is pretty common in getting clear smoother skin. It involves using chemicals to exfoliate the skin, revealing new, clearer skin.
  • Microdermabrasion: This is the use of a tool to remove hyperpigmentation on the skin.
  • Microneedling: This treatment uses little needles as a tool to remove dead skin cells and stimulate rejuvenation and increase collagen production in the skin.
  • Laser skin therapy: This treatment uses a laser to also remove the top layer of skin. This treatment should be done under the strictest conditions, including under the supervision of licensed personnel.

4. Try home remedies

Another way to reduce uneven skin complexion is to try home remedies. If you have some products, or ingredients lying around in your house, you can use them to keep your skin complexion clear.

For instance, baking soda is a natural exfoliant that helps remove dead skin cells. You can make a scrub using baking soda, lemon, or honey. Honey has antioxidant properties that treat the skin. Meanwhile, lemon has vitamin C, which is a brightening agent.

Another treatment you should try is turmeric, yogurt, or lemon juice. If you have sensitive skin, turmeric and yogurt are enough. Apply the mixture as a mask on your face to even out your skin.

You can use a milk wash if you are feeling generous. Adding gram flour because of its skin-lightening properties would improve the results immensely.

Similarly, the classic tomato and lemon juice blend help to remove dead skin cells and balance the pH level of the skin.

SEE: Here Are Tips for Flawless Even-Looking Skin Tone

Tips for Preventing Uneven Skin Tone

  • Apply ample sunscreen to avoid UV radiation penetrating the skin
  • Moisturize your skin daily to keep it hydrated and protected
  • Do not forget to exfoliate your skin regularly
  • Treat skin conditions before they heal, not after
  • Use foundations and concealers to blend your skin if using makeup
  • Stop smoking to improve your skin texture
  • Do not skip the cleanse-treat-moisturize-protect stage in your skincare routine
  • Drink lots of water
  • Maintain a good sleep routine and hours
  • Go for regular skin consultations and treatments

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to have an uneven skin tone?

Yes, it is. Most, if not all, have uneven skin tone. It doesn’t always have to be the face alone. However, it is more prominent to have uneven skin on the face. Nonetheless, it is a skin condition that should be treated.

Is uneven skin tone the same as dark spots?

No, it is not. Dark spots are due to acne, sunburn, and inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Dark spots have varying shades on your face, cumulating to uneven skin tone. However, they alone are not uneven skin tone. Therefore, dark spots cause uneven skin tone.

Are dark circles also uneven skin tones?

No, they are not. Dark circles only form around the eyes. They appear due to varying reasons that have to do with stress, aging, or a bad skincare routine. If you care for your eye area, dark circles will not appear. However, having them will make you have different skin shades, thereby looking uneven.

Will makeup clear your uneven skin tone?

It will hide it. You can use makeup to hide uneven skin complexion, not clear it. Using concealer and foundation or other pigmented face products on your face will blend your color, creating a smooth, clear, and bright skin tone.

Can you get uneven skin tone from using makeup?

If you only use bad makeup products or shades that do not blend with your complexion, you will have an uneven skin tone caused by the pigmented products. Therefore, use only products suited for your skin complexion.


Uneven skin tone is the appearance of colored patches that range from your natural color to a darker shade. They are often caused by hyperpigmentation (oversecretion of melanin) on the skin. While some people are comfortable with their complexions, others are not.

You can follow essential treatments to get a clear shade on your skin. Nonetheless, exfoliating is the best measure for taking care of your skin. Additionally, using sunscreen is also a preventive measure that has stood the test of time.

If you care about your skin and do not want uneven skin tone, make sure to not stop the TLC treatments.

Thanks for reading.

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