Have More Even Skin Tone With Plant Derived Ingredients & Some Extra Care Tips
I’m quite sure that almost everyone over the age of 25 can point out a spot or two somewhere on their body that wasn’t there before the accumulation of sun damage. We all have it to some degree. When I was in my 20’s, I participated in a long stint of boating for a couple of summers, which lead to severe sun spots on my shoulders and chest. Since then, after using glycolic and TCA products along with some natural skin lightening ingredients, I’ve been able to virtually eliminate them all.
Aside from a good sunscreen, I personally feel the best defense to preventing excessive sun exposure is to literally cover up. I have a selection of long sleeved t-shirts that I wear when I head out to do my cardio here in Georgia. Yes I will sweat and it will be extremely hot in the summer, but I will save my skin.
Just a thought about TCA and sun damage. When my mom was alive, she had some precancerous skin on her face. Her doctor gave her some deep TCA peels in his office, to those specific areas of concern. This helped, in my mom’s case, to remove and lift away those problematic top layers. It worked well for her, and it is an option but not the end all solution for everyone.
I’m know there are people out there with opinions about TCA, but the reality is, it is a very good ingredient that can help with a variety of skin related issues with medical studies to back that up.
I definitely do not think people should do strong peels at home. I do think there are products on the market that include a small percentage of TCA, in which you can use in the comfort of your own home, without any complications. With that being said, let’s move on.
History of Skin Tone Lightening Practices
Historically, skin bleaching actually started in the Victorian era with the age of powder and paint, the precursor to us wearing foundation. European women were literally painting their faces with lead paint. Queen Elizabeth I was known to take arsenic complexion wafers, which were essentially little bits of poison to give her that ghostly look.
We do not in any way want to condone or promote the idea of lightening your skin beyond it’s natural skin tone but instead give each of us an opportunity to bring your natural skin tone back to a place where it was before the sun damage. The best way, most natural way to do that, is with plant derived ingredients that are gentle and will not in any way be considered “skin bleaching”.
What Causes Uneven Skin Tone?
There are three primary reasons why our skin tone can start to look uneven or acquire sun spots:
Acne scarring is a significant reason why we end up seeing some sun spots on our skin. Acne and scarring both can create discoloration in skin that can have a lasting effect. If you have acne, don’t wait to treat it after the fact when scars have formed. Choose products that treat and prevent acne including cleansers and spot treatments. If you are accumulating some scarring while you are still experiencing acne, you can start to fix it now, with a variety of products that will help gently exfoliate away these spots and/or naturally correct these pigmentation issues.
Another big contributing factor is sun damage, as I’ve mentioned. As you’ve probably heard time and time again, sun damage exacerbates skin aging at a rapid rate. 90 percent of the signs of aging come from unprotected UV exposure. Uneven skin tone is one effect of sun damage: others include fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. The good news is you can prevent some of this. Don’t leave the house without wearing sunscreen, even on a cloudy day. Use products with antioxidants to protect against pollutants
Of course, good old fashioned aging, not related to sun damage, can also impact impacts uneven skin tone. And while you can’t prevent your skin from aging, you can use the proper products to help with the process. A good eye cream and moisturizer are essential.
Tips For a More Even Skin tone
There are a few things you can do to get on the right path with evening your skin tone and fading sun spots and discoloration caused by the environment and aging:
Exfoliate. Even people with sensitive skin can use an exfoliation product. Start gentle and work your way up. Here’s a product to consider trying because of it’s gentle yet effective disposition: Our Papaya Enzyme Face Mask.
Wear Sunscreen and Cover your Skin. Sometimes a good sunscreen isn’t quite enough, especially when you’re traveling in parts of the world or times of the year that the sun is predominate. Wear sunscreen AND a hat, and long sleeves. It’s actually good for you to get a few minutes of sun exposure, every day if you can, to replenish your Vitamin D, but after a few minutes, cover up and enjoy the rest of your day.
Find some products with natural skin lightening ingredient that can fit into your skin care routine and take the gradual approach to fade those spots and unevenness while also hydrating, cleansing, etc.
What Ingredients are Good For Assisting in a More Even Skin Tone?
The following ingredients are proven to help naturally lighten skin that has acquired some sun spots, pigmentation issues, and overall discoloration from aging and damage:
Licorice. Licorice root contains two ingredients that help with pigmentation: glabridin and liquiritin. Glabridin helps to retrain tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin which leads to pigmentation. Liquiritin helps to break up and remove melanin and pigmentation in the skin. In addition to helping with dark spots, licorice can be soothing and help even out your skin tone. Licorice is Native to Eurasia, it has a long history of use from China to Ancient Egypt to Central Europe.
Kojic Acid. Kojic acid is derived from mushroom-like fungi during fermentation, and is the second most common natural lightening agent. It prohibits the production of melanin and penetrates the upper layers of the skin causing a lightening effect. Kojic is an excellent natural option that is safe for everyone. Kojic is derived from Aspergillus Oryzae typically grown in East Asia.
Arbutin. Arbutin is a natural form of hydroquinone derived from the bearberry plant. It is a safer and effective alternative to hydroquinone and is less cytotoxic to the melanocytes. Look for arbutin in brightening face lotions and dark-spot correctors. Use it gradually in the first few weeks to make sure your skin doesn’t react negatively. You can then increase the frequency of use. Also, as always, make sure you are wearing sunscreen. Arbutin is typically derived from bearberry leaves, which is normally grown in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia.
Citrus Extracts. Lemon juice and orange peels are natural skin bleaching agents. They contain lots of vitamin C, which plays an important role in producing the collagen fibers that help support your skin and keep it firm. When applied topically, Vitamin C has been shown to slow down hyperactive melanocytes. These are the cells that produce melanin in the basal layers of the skin which causes the skin to tan or become darker. Citrus trees are grown worldwide and very commonly maintained in Florida and California.
Niacinamide. Niacinamide, or vitamin B3, can be used to fade age spots and lighten discoloration of the skin. It’s effective with hyperpigmentation because it decreases the number of melanin transferred to pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) to skin cells by more than half. It doesn’t stop the production of melanin, but it reduces the amount that is transferred to the skin. It is extremely stable and not affected by heat or light like other chemical ingredients. Niacinamide is derived from nuts, seeds, and green vegetables worldwide.
Vitamin C. Vitamin C is another popular brightening alternative found in many brightening serums. Vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant that is beneficial for patients with hyperpigmentation. It works by brightening hyperpigmented spots on the skin, but not lightening normal skin.
Willow Bark Extract. Willow bark extract is a beta hydroxy acid that helps to exfoliate the skin and encourage cell turnover. That’s because it’s related to salicylic acid. White Willow Bark extract is composed of salicin, the natural form of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid helps to shed dead skin cells from your skin to allow new and healthy skin cells to regenerate. Willow bark is grown worldwide.
Lactic Acid. If you have sensitive skin or are just looking for something mild, products containing lactic acid may be what you need. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk and is an alpha hydroxy acid, so it is one of the mildest ingredients you can use for skin lightening. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, lactic acid penetrates the skin causing mild exfoliation. It’s also a melanin suppressor.
Because it decreases your melanin production, you should wear sunscreen and protective clothing to protect the treated areas from sun damage.
Papaya/Papain. Your favorite tropical fruit may help brighten your skin, too. Papaya contains alpha hydroxy acids, which are effective in cell turnover and exfoliation. And papain (an enzyme found in papaya) exfoliates the skin, giving you a lighter, brighter complexion. Papaya was originally grown in southern Mexico (particularly Chiapas and Veracruz), Central America, and northern South America.
We have a few really popular products that are formulated to naturally assist you with your quest for diminished sun spots and uneven skin tone:
At some point, regardless of the color of our skin, we all will experience some unevenness to our skin tone and will want to find a way to naturally correct it. There are some solid tips here, as well as some ingredients to keep and eye out for, while you pursue adding this to your skin care routine.
Jeanette @ claribelskincare.com | Owner, Formulator & Herbal Expert