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  5. How To Manage Uneven Skin Tone With Ayurveda?

Concealers, foundations and what not! You do so much to hide those uneven patches on your skin to sport a flawless look. Isn’t it? But, do you know you can manage them with natural remedies too instead of covering them up with makeup every time? Thanks to Ayurveda.

“Prabha, your skin radiance is a function of Pitta. Just like fire provides heat and light, healthy Pitta confers good metabolism and radiant skin,” says Dr Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

Scroll down to know what causes uneven skin tone and how you can manage it naturally.

What Is Uneven Skin Tone?

The lack of uniformity in skin tone due to the occurrence of dark patches can give you an uneven skin tone. The primary cause behind an uneven skin tone is hyperpigmentation. These dark patches on the skin can form due to various trigger factors such as sun damage, hormonal imbalance, injury, age, medical or a skin condition.

With some skin conditions, hypopigmentation or the lack of melanin formation in certain areas can also cause uneven skin tones. Hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone can happen in any area of your body that has suffered from some kind of skin damage.

Why Is Your Skin Tone Uneven?

Unevenness in skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation can happen when a part of your skin suffers from trauma or sun damage. As a defence mechanism, melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) in that area produce excess melanin to assist the healing process. This over-production of melanin by stimulated melanocytes [1] leads to darkened patches on your skin, giving you an uneven skin tone.

In the case of hypopigmentation, which can happen after an injury or due to a skin condition, the affected area may turn a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone.

The belief that dark skin tones are due to the presence of excess melanocytes is false. Skin tone depends on the activity of melanocytes and not their number. More active melanocytes result in higher production of melanin that leads to darker skin tones.

How Does Uneven Skin Tone Look Like?

woman with uneven skin tone

According to Ayurveda, uneven skin tone caused by hyperpigmentation is often characterised by ‘shyama varna mandalas’ or circular/ oval dark patches. The area affected by these dark blackish or brownish patches may have a rough texture. Dark spots, liver spots, age spots, sunspots are various terms used to refer to hyperpigmentation caused by a particular trigger factor.

What Causes Uneven Skin Tone On The Face?

As per the ancient Ayurvedic texts, uneven skin tone from Hyperpigmentation or ‘Vyanga’ is a ‘Kshudra Roga’ (minor skin disease) caused by the vitiation of the Vata and Bhrajaka Pitta Doshas. Bhrajaka Pitta is a subdosha that is present in our skin and regulates our body temperature and skin pigmentation. Aggravation of this subdosha can cause an imbalance of ‘varna’ or skin tone leading to hyperpigmentation.

According to dermatologists, uneven skin tone can result from several factors that can trigger the melanocytes into releasing excess melanin into the epidermis.

1. Sun Damage

One of the primary functions of melanin apart from giving you your unique skin colour is protection against UV ray damage [2]. Being black in colour, melanin can absorb most of the UV rays and prevent their penetration into the epidermis. Therefore, in case of intense sun exposure, when your skin cells detect direct DNA damage by UVA and UVB rays, the melanocytes are triggered to produce excess melanin to protect your skin. However, this defence mechanism of your body can leave you with dark patches on your skin known as sunspots, which is a result of hyperpigmentation.

2. Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Or Hypopigmentation

The function of melanocytes in skin inflammations [3] is still under research. In the case of skin inflammation, certain inflammatory mediators can trigger the melanocytes into releasing excess melanin, causing hyperpigmentation. In other cases, these mediators can inhibit the synthesis of melanin resulting in hypopigmentation. In both scenarios, your skin can develop dark or light coloured patches, giving you an uneven skin tone.

Certain skin conditions that can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation are psoriasis, erythema and inflammatory acne.

3. Hormone Induced Hyperpigmentation

In skin conditions such as Melasma, hormones are the major trigger factors in causing uneven skin tone on your face. Hormonal imbalances, especially of estrogen and progesterone, can cause excess production of the pigment melanin leading to dark patchy skin on the face.

4. Age

Uneven skin tone due to Senile Lentigo or age spots are common among people above the age of forty. These dark spots on the face or hands are usually a result of hyperpigmentation caused by photodamage. It is mostly seen in people who have a lighter skin tone.

5. Smoking

Studies have shown melanocyte activation in the presence of tobacco smoke [4]. This is why skin pigmentation amongst smokers is quite common. Darkening of lips, gums are the common symptoms of tobacco induced hyperpigmentation resulting in uneven skin tone.

6. Dry Skin

Dry, damaged skin can often result from an impaired epidermal barrier. With the skin barrier weakened, your skin cannot withhold essential moisture. This can lead to irritation and inflammation and activation of melanocytes. Activated melanocytes release excess melanin into your skin, causing dry, dark patches and an uneven skin tone.

7. Allergic Reactions/ Skin Burns From Skincare Products

Ever noticed a burning sensation on your skin after applying a new skincare product? Your skin can be allergic to certain harsh skincare products. Application of such products can often cause skin burns, inflammation, and eventually lead to hyperpigmentation.

8. Medicine Side Effects

Certain drugs can interfere with the synthesis of melanin and cause temporary hyperpigmentation. In other cases, accumulation of melanin known as hyper-melanosis due to drug side effects can cause uneven skin tone. Such drug induced hyperpigmentation can become more severe with exposure to the sun.

9. Medical Conditions

Diseases of the endocrine such as Addison’s disease [5] can also lead to the development of irregular skin tone. Other such medical conditions causing uneven skin tone are hyperthyroidism and hemochromatosis.

How To Get Rid Of An Uneven Skin Tone?

girl cleansing uneven skin on face

Treatments for uneven skin tone are focused on dealing with the causative factors and improving the overall condition of your skin.

A. Home Remedies For Uneven Skin Tone

1. Raw Turmeric And Milk

Raw Turmeric is known for its skin brightening properties. As per recent research Curcumin, a polyphenol present in turmeric can inhibit the process of melanogenesis, thus healing uneven skin tones. The lactic acid in milk helps to exfoliate dead, pigmented skin, thereby revealing your naturally glowing skin.

How To Use:

Make a paste with raw turmeric and milk and apply on the affected areas. Wash off after 15 minutes. Repeat as required.

2. Barley Scrub Or Face Pack

As per recent medical research, Azelaic acid is a plant derived natural compound that has wonderful skin pigment fighting properties. Barley being a rich source of azelaic acid, can help cure uneven skin tone within a few days of application.

How To Use:

Make a paste by blending barley and lukewarm water and apply to the affected areas. You can even use it as a mild scrubbing agent. Wash off after 15 minutes.

3. Honey, Lemon And Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is being used in many skincare products for its skin healing properties. Regular application of this essential oil benefits skin affected by pigmentation, psoriasis and melasma. Ascorbic acid in lemon further helps to treat uneven skin tones and honey heals and hydrates your irritated skin.

How To Use:

Squeeze a lemon and add 2 tablespoons of honey to it. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to the mixture and apply on skin affected by uneven patches. Wash off after 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Yoghurt, Gram Flour, Orange Peel and Honey

Yoghurt and gram flour in combination make the best of skin brightening face packs. Add orange peel for extra brightening benefits and honey for hydration.

How To Use:

Blend all ingredients and apply on skin. Wash off after 15 mins or before the pack dries completely to remove uneven skin tone.

5. Multani Mitti, Hibiscus And Rose Water

Fuller’s earth or multani mitti is rich in skin clarifying properties. Hibiscus’s Botox-like properties work like magic on age spots, sunspots and other kinds of hyperpigmentation. Adding rose water to it improves your skin condition and prevents the added trouble of dry skin.

How To Use:

Add a paste of 5-6 hibiscus flowers with multani mitti and rose water and apply on areas with uneven skin tone. Wash off with lukewarm water after 15 minutes.

B. Ayurvedic Treatment For Uneven Skin Tone

1. Abhyanga

Ayurvedic texts recommend massaging the affected areas with herbal oils that pacify the Pitta and Vata Doshas and enhance your skin’s health. Regular practice of Abhyanga (herbal massage) can improve sub-cutaneous blood circulation and remove the Ama toxins that also play a part in causing uneven skin tone.

Essential Oils used in Abhyanga to remove uneven skin tone are mentioned below.

  • Coconut Oil: Balances both Vata and Pitta Doshas.
  • Sandalwood Oil: Balances both Vata and Pitta Doshas.
  • Rosehip Oil: Balances Vata Dosha.
  • Cinnamon Oil: Calms aggravated Vata Dosha.
  • Turmeric Oil: Balances the Vata Dosha.
  • Patchouli Oil: Pacifies Vata Dosha aggravation.

2. Ayurvedic Lepas To Cure Uneven Skin Tone

In the treatment of ‘Vyanga’ (uneven skin tone), Ayurvedic Lepas or face packs are specially formulated with herbs that have Kusthaghna (cures skin diseases), Raktashodhaka (blood-purifying) and Dosha balancing properties. Regular application of the below mentioned wonder herbs of Ayurveda can not only manage uneven skin tone but also prevent further occurrence of the causative factors.

A. Arjuna Twak

Arjuna twak [6] or the bark of the Arjuna tree has miraculous medicinal properties that can heal a number of skin diseases, including Vyanga or uneven skin tone. Mix finely pounded Arjuna twak powder with milk and apply on the affected area. Wash off after 15 mins of application.

B. Lodhra

Lodhra is highly beneficial for skin affected by hyperpigmentation, especially post-inflammatory pigmentation. Make a paste by adding water to Lodhra powder and apply to the affected area. Wash off with lukewarm water after 10 to 15 minutes.

C. Dhanyaka

Dhanyaka or coriander seeds being an excellent pacifier of Pitta Dosha are used in skin diseases that result from the aggravation of the Pitta. Also enriched with amazing skin friendly properties, regular application of Dhanyaka can battle skin pigmentation problems such as age spots and sunspots. Mix Dhanyaka powder with honey or almond oil/ coconut oil and apply to the unevenly toned skin. Wash off after 15- 20 minutes.

D. Vacha

Vacha is commonly used in Ayurvedic Lepas to treat skin inflammations, acne marks, tanning and hyperpigmentation. Rich in many essential vitamins, Vacha naturally brightens your skin and brings about uniformity in skin tone. Mix Vacha powder with lukewarm water and apply to the affected areas. Wash off after 15 minutes.

E. Yashtimadhu

Another popular skin brightening Ayurvedic herb, Yashtimadhu or Licorice root has powerful antioxidants that can protect your skin from sun damage and suppress melanogenesis. With regular application, Yashtimadhu has shown positive results in treating skin conditions such as uneven skin tone, melasma, scars and psoriasis. Mix Yashtimadhu with rose water and apply on the skin. Wash off after 10- 15 minutes.

F. Manjistha

This powerful blood purifying, Pitta Dosha balancing herb can work wonders on skin affected by hyperpigmentation. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Manjistha is often used to treat uneven skin tones caused by wounds or underlying skin conditions. Add honey or milk to manjistha powder and apply to the darkened skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off.

G. Ashwagandha

For uneven skin tone caused by hormonal imbalances, Ashwagandha lepa application is highly recommended. With collagen boosting abilities, it can quicken the healing of the epidermal layer and prevent further skin damage. Mix Ashwagandha powder with warm water and apply to the affected area for 15 minutes and wash off.

H. Chandanam

Applying Chandanam to improve skin tone has been an age old practice. Chandanam cools your skin thus pacifying the vitiated Bhrajaka Pitta Dosha. It also relieves skin irritations and lightens the dark patches caused by hyperpigmentation. Apply chandanam paste for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off.

I. Kumkuma

Kumkuma or saffron has natural skin brightening properties and helps lighten skin pigmentation with regular use. Mix saffron with chandanam paste or milk and apply to the affected areas for 15 mins and wash off with rose water.

J. Jatiphala

Jatiphala or Nutmeg has multiple skin benefits, including removal of skin pigmentation. Gently exfoliating with jatiphala also helps to clear dead skin cells. Apply a pinch of jatiphala powder with milk/ honey or coconut oil for 15 minutes to clear uneven skin tone from the face and other affected body parts.

3. Nasya

Nasya or the process of administering medicated liquids through the nasal cavity is an effective Ayurvedic treatment for skin disorders in the upper body. Thus, Nasya is often recommended for treating uneven skin tone on the face, especially in the case of melasma, age spots or sunspots.

Vedix Tip: Make your own skin brightening pack by mixing a pinch of Yashtimadhu, Saffron, Chandanam powder and milk. Apply this paste on the skin affected by uneven tone and wash off after 15 mins. Moisturize with rose water or aloe vera gel.

C. Natural Methods

1. Green Tea Cleansing

With innumerable skin benefits and powerful antioxidants like flavonoids, cleansing your face regularly with green tea helps fight skin pigmentation, dry skin and premature skin ageing. Its anti-inflammatory, skin soothing nature calms your skin and prevents the further cause of inflammation.

2. Buttermilk Cleansing

Enriched with lactic acid buttermilk cleansing helps to remove uneven skin tone. Buttermilk is known for promoting new cell growth and helps your skin to return to its previous tone easily.

3. Honey And Sugar Exfoliation

Gentle exfoliating is always recommended to remove the dead pigmented layer of cells on the upper layer of your skin. Honey being a natural emollient prevents transepidermal water loss by forming a protective layer on your skin. A honey and sugar scrub 2 to 3 times a week also protects your skin from sun damage.

4. Lemon Juice Spot Treatment

The application of lemon juice to get an even skin tone has been an ancient home remedy. With mild bleaching abilities, the ascorbic acid in lemon helps to fix uneven skin and antioxidants in it gives your skin a boost of health.

5. Potato Juice

The catecholase enzyme in potato juice has excellent skin pigment removing properties. Regular application can benefit skin suffering from uneven skin tone, melasma, age spots and sunspots.

6. Onion Bulb Extract

The new sensation in Korean skincare for uneven skin tone is Allium Cepa extract or onion bulb extract. It is also used as a primary ingredient in several anti-pigmentation skin creams. With amazing pigment removing, skin brightening and skin renewal properties, onion bulb extract is the perfect solution for skin pigmentation. Just mash/ blend onion bulbs in a blender and strain out the juice. Apply this on affected areas for clear, evenly toned skin.

7. Aloe Vera

Be it protection from sun damage, hydration for dehydrated skin or regeneration of new skin cells, aloe vera does it all. Aloe Vera contains the magic ingredient aloesin, which can help in removing excess melanin pigmentation from your skin giving you a naturally even tone.

D. Topical Treatments For Uneven Skin Tone

1. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is the most common treatment for dark spots, skin pigmentation and darkened patches on the skin. Its bleaching properties help lighten skin tone and even out your complexion. However, creams containing hydroquinone might need to be prescribed by your doctor.

2. Retinoids

Retinoids are often prescribed to clear skin pigmentation that is caused by acne, wounds, melasma or other minor skin conditions. Retinoids help exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce melanin in the epidermal layer giving you clear skin with regular application.

3. Salicylic Acid

A mild bleaching agent, salicylic acid acts as an excellent exfoliator for uneven skin tones. Apart from exfoliation, salicylic acid can also inhibit melanin in the upper layers. If salicylic acid is administered at the start of the treatment it may prevent the condition of hyperpigmentation altogether.

How To Prevent Uneven Skin Tone?

melasma on woman’s face

1. One of the major causes of uneven skin tone is sun damage. Make sure to apply a non-comedogenic sunscreen that has SPF 40 and above.

2. Exfoliate your skin with natural skin lightening exfoliators such as oatmeal, barley and orange peel.

3. Keep your skin hydrated at all times. Drink lots of fluids to prevent dry skin related hyperpigmentation.

4. Eat foods that are rich in Vitamins, Minerals such as Zinc and Magnesium and Antioxidants.

5. If your uneven skin tone is a result of hormonal imbalance, cut down on your intake of sugary foods, high-fat foods and dairy products.

6. Apply natural moisturizers such as aloe vera, coconut oil, honey that not only hydrate but also brighten your skin tone.

7. Visit your Ayurvedic doctor to get a perfect skincare routine that is not limited to mere superficial correction. A good Ayurvedic skincare routine can balance your Doshas and treat your skin condition holistically from within.

What Is The Best Foundation For Uneven Skin Tone?

woman applying foundation on uneven skin

1. Since uneven skin tone is a product of skin damage, always select a foundation that is mild and non-acnegenic.

2. Apply a moisturizer before applying the foundation to prevent your skin from drying.

3. Select a foundation that suits your skin type (dry, combination or oily).

4. Choose a medium coverage foundation that matches your natural skin tone. Blend well using a sponge.

5. For dark spots on the face and skin, you can also opt for a concealer to cover up the spots and leave your skin free of unnecessary makeup.

The Last Word

Uneven skin tone can be a bane when you want to achieve that perfect even toned look. Usually, a result of hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones can be easily fixed with proper skincare, diet and simple precautions to prevent the causative factors. With uneven skin tone being a minor skin problem, natural plant derived skin brightening agents and Ayurvedic herbal treatments are the best options. With zero side effects these natural skin healing ingredients can enhance your overall skin condition giving your skin a healthy, youthful glow.

At Vedix, we carefully analyse your skin’s health and current needs at first. Based on the results, we suggest a customized skin care regimen that addresses your concerns.

Know Your Dosha Now

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