Shopping By Skin Concern-Tone Issues

Today’s segment of the shopping by skin concern series will tackle issues related to skin tone: dullness, uneven tone, and redness/hyperpigmentation.

A lot of people can get very caught up with these types of skin issues. On the bright side, they are fairly easy to cover up with makeup, but the downside is that, well, the skin will not look great without a layer of foundation or concealer. If being makeup reliant doesn’t sound appealing (which it shouldn’t), read on.

These sorts of skin woes are best treated with gradual steps. Unlike aging, where the entire routine needs to be based on certain ingredients and skincare habits (read more about it here), many find that just one or two products is enough to yield satisfactory results. Good news: a little routine tweaking can be all your skin needs-no need to bring out the big guns just yet!

To tackle dullness, make sure there is enough moisture in your routine, and that your skin is not actually dehydrated. We all know to drink 8 glasses of water per day, but make sure you are actually implementing that advice as you begin treating this issue. It can make a really big difference in getting things moving internally, and flushing out toxins, which translates into glowing skin.

Make sure your skin’s moisture barrier isn’t damaged/compromised as well (as that’s a different issue I will be tackling soon). Is it both dry and  oily? That will be your biggest indicator. The dullness brought on by this is an entirely different breed of cat.

If your skin is not suffering from a compromised moisture barrier, and you’ve got a nice glass of water or tea in your hand, giving your skin a little extra moisturizer love is going to be your next step. I personally would recommend adding a moisturizer whose thickness is equivalent to your level of dullness. A little dull? A light humectant. A hella dull? Go for something thicker. This trick has always been my rule of thumb since getting my feet wet in Asian beauty, and it has served me well. It corresponds to the needs of the seasons too (skin looks duller in the winter and also needs heavier duty creams). It also gives me a very big excuse to stock up on whatever moisturizers I so please 😉

The next step for dullness, and the first steps for treating uneven tone and hyperpigmentation problems, is to start finding 1-2 products that meet your personal moisture needs (based on your skin type) that contains ingredients that will treat these issues.

The GO-TO ingredient for these types of issues is niacinamide, which is abundant in the Asian skincare market, and can also be prescribed if the need is severe.  It is an excellent skin brightener derived from vitamin B3 that helps not only fight dark spots, but also acne and inflammation.

Other easy-to-find ingredients are arbutin, azealic acid (love this one! so much awesomeness), betaine salicylate, any member of the acid family (think of glycolic acid, vitamin c (l-ascorbic acid), lactic acid, and malic acid), and good ol’ retinoids.

Mulberry extract (most likely found on the label as “morus albua”) and licorice root are some more natural lighteners along with potentially irritating lemon.

These ingredients generally help slough off dead skin cells and quicken its cell turnover rate so bright, new, shiny skin is revealed. Dead skin lacks luster, new skin glows. Its a fact of life.

So you’ve found a nice serum or ampoule that contains a good dose of niacinamide and a few other brightening ingredients. You’ve added it to your shopping cart and are about to check out-but before you fork over any cash, don’t forget the sheet masks!

If you want results quickly, you are going to need to mask. Frequently and religiously.

Take advantage of sales and promotions, and stock up on sheet masks with the above ingredients. Much like the serums and such, they will have “snow,” “brightening,” “whitening,” “mela-x-ing” plastered on their packages with pictures of Snow White and winter wonderland-y themes.  The moisture will keep your skin smooth and healthy and glowing, while the extended contact and resulting saturation with tone-issue-busting ingredients gets to work on your pores.

It is possible to get very quick results (depending on your severity, products, etc), but generally this issue can resolve in a few months. Deep-rooted hyperpigmentation or serious tone issues will require more heavy-duty products like acids and retinoids, but they are perfectly able to be treated with only a few products! Unlike so many other skin issues, these are generally treatable and will resolve within a few dedicated months.

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