How to Banish Uneven Skin Tone - Hyperpigmentation

9 min read

alaska botanicals

From the magic of your first pregnancy to the thrill of climb mountains, life inspires, humbles, shapes, and changes us in ways we can’t even imagine.But those awe-inspiring adventures don’t come without some downsides. Our past experiences are written on our skin — in the form of fine lines, age spots, scars, and uneven skin tone, aka hyperpigmentation.

We all want a balanced, harmonious complexion. Trouble is — uneven skin tone gets in the way of that radiant glow. Age spots (also called dark spots or liver spots) are the unwanted result of a life well-lived.

You may have noticed a brown sun spot here or there, or maybe some acne scars that don’t seem to be fading, and maybe you thought there was nothing to do about it. Well the good news is— there is!

Let’s take an in-depth look at uneven skin tone — exactly what it is, what causes it, and most importantly — how to get rid of and get back to that harmonious glow.

What is Uneven Skin Tone aka Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation isn’t any one thing, but at its most basic, it can be defined as an irregular darkening of the skin, or uneven skin tone. These blotchy patches or dark spots are also known as melasma, which just means “too much color.” Hyperpigmentation is an umbrella term for anything that causes dark spots on the skin. Hyperpigmented areas don’t reflect light as evenly as non-affected areas and thus stand out. Hyperpigmentation can fade in the winter and is more noticeable in the summer due to sun exposure.

facial melasma hyperpigmentation

What causes Uneven Skin Tone?

The brown color is due to the overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color. We all know to avoid too much sun exposure (and definitely sunburns), but it is not the main cause of hyperpigmentation. Overproduction of melanin is actually your body's attempt to overcome low antioxidant levels (low Vitamin C) and hormonal imbalances. It is a sign of deficiency. Melanin is meant to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and is actually an antioxidant.

Aside from UV expsire, the triggers for melanin production include too much stress, excessive estrogen, insulin and/or cortisol levels due to diet and/or medications. Hyperpigmentation is the body's signal that you're actually nutritionally deficient or need to balance your hormones.

There are four primary causes of skin discoloration.

Sun Exposure

The sun’s rays containultraviolet (UV) rays, or electromagnetic radiation. There are three main types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB rays are both linked to skin damage such as wrinkles and sunburns. UVC rays rarely penetrate Earth’s atmosphere so we aren’t generally exposed to these damaging rays.

When skin is exposed to sunlight, melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) produce an excess of melanin to protect the skin from the damaging effects of radiation exposure. The most obvious example of this is a suntan. Ongoing exposure to sunlight without UVA and UVB protection will eventually lead to hyperpigmentation, especially on the delicate skin of the face.

Environmental Pollution

Air pollution damages skin? Really? Yes, really. Here’s how it works. Air pollution is made up of miniscule particles called particulate matter (PM). PM consists of free radicals — tiny unstable nano-particles.

Free radicals might sound like they’d be fun to have at a party but they’re actually a downer. These unstable particles are just begging for electrons to steal. And they get into the layers of your skin and do just that. These little thieves pair themselves with electrons in your skin and start the oxidation process.

Why is that a bad thing? Think of an apple exposed to air. Left long enough, it eventually turns brown. It’s a similar process with your skin. With continuous exposure tofree radicals from air pollution, melanocytes kick into overdrive, producing brown spots on your skin.

In addition to air pollution, other sources of environmental pollution include artificial light, LED screens, blue light and endocrine disruptors in pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.

Hormonal Imbalance and Hormone Changes

Excess melanin production, caused by hormone changes and hormonal imbalance is unique from other causes. It frequently affects pregnant women as they go through typical hormonal changes, but may also be triggered by birth control medication, hormone replacement therapy, aging, genetics, endocrine disruptors, hypothyroidism and diabetes.

pregnent woman

Phototoxic Medications
Certain medications, called “phototoxic” drugs, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, retinoids, and some antibiotics can contribute to hyperpigmentation.
Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This type of hyperpigmentation results from direct damage to the skin from acne, cuts, scrapes, rashes, and burns. These types of injuries kickstart inflammation in an attempt to heal the skin.

The skin healing process encourages scarring and melanocyte activity, and hyperpigmentation occurs as a result. Generally, the larger the injury or acne breakout, the more hyperpigmentation occurs.

Can Your Prevent Uneven Skin Tone?

The cheeky answer is yes! You can totally prevent uneven skin tone. If you never go outside or have children or expose yourself to any of the great, wildly awesome things that make a life well-lived.

Cheekiness aside, there are some things you can do to minimize your chances of developing hyperpigmentation.

Limit Unprotected Sun Exposure

It can’t be said enough! Unprotected exposure to harmful UVA and UVB radiation exacerbates hyperpigmentation. Keep in mind that this process occurs over long periods of time — you may not immediately see the effects of skipping sunscreen until it’s too late.

Whenever you’re outside, try to wear a wide-brimmed hat, a good mineral sunscreen, clothing, and find shade where possible. Remember that the sun’s rays are at their most harmful during the middle of the day, so stay inside if you can during this time.

You’ll get better protection from ultraviolet rays in the shade or on a cloudy day; however they can still penetrate through clouds and shade so make sunscreen a priority. Choose a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply frequently, especially if you’re sweating a lot or after you’ve gone swimming.

sunscreen hyperpigmentation

Don't. Pop. Those. Pimples!

Acne can be embarrassing, painful, and annoying. As tempting as it may be to get rid of them with one satisfying pop, this will actually increase inflammation and scarring and make hyperpigmentation worse.

Use a gentle, non-drying cleanser, apply acne treatment around the affected area, and a noncomedogenic concealer. If your acne is persistent and painful, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Keep Your Skin Clean

Make it a priority to wash your face with a gentle cleanser every morning and evening. This helps prevent acne and minimizes the effects of environmental pollution.

Our Hydrating Micellar Glacier Water Deep Pore Cleanser harnesses the power of mineral-rich Alaska glacial water to gently remove impurities from deep in your skin. Micelles are nano-particles that work together like a tiny sponge, soaking up dirt, oil, and other impurities while gently hydrating your skin.

Can You Fix Uneven Skin Tone?

Melanin production is related to the enzyme Tyrosinase. The most powerful way to reverse hyperpigmentation is to inhibit Tyrosinase thus removing the enzyme that catalyzes melanin production. This can be done with antioxidants.

Infrared Light Boosts Melatonin

Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant to repair oxidative stress and is derived from infrared light. Most people think of melatonin as a sleep-aid, but melatonin is a powerful Tyrosinase inhibitor and is obtained from (protected) sun exposure. Even with a hat on, the grass, dirt and clouds strongly reflect infrared waves and are a powerful antioxidant for your body!

Melatonin is also obtained from natural daily darkness, sleep, infrared therapies, campfires/natural fire, candlelight and incandescent light. Infrared helps you generate a tremendous amount of antioxidants that can potentially protect the mitochondira from effects of free radical damage.

Keep Your Diet Clean

Topical solutions can help cope, but the best way to address hyperpigmentation and keep it from coming back, is by increasing antioxidant levels internally. Eat more RAW organic vegetables and salads to increase antioxidant production and inhibit Tyrosinase. Raw organic vegetables are a rich form of zinc, a mineral so important to the skin and contributes to the body's antioxidant production.

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Limit food intake to 1-3 meals per day and omit snacking. Intermittent fasting is hugely beneficial to increasing antioxidant levels. Avoid sugar and stress, as they deplete you of antioxidants. Avoid endocrine disruptors (chemicals that affect your hormones) in food, skincare, haircare, bodycare, medication and household products. Reduce stress with exercise, meditation and spending time outdoors.

Topical Antioxidant Skin Treatments

Topical treatments to initially address this concern may include a serum with the following antioxidants: cinnamon, cocoa bean, grape seed extract, green tea, aloe, vitamin c, licorice, quercetin. A Vitamin C serum is a good option.

Have a consistent skincare routine and stick to it. A daily skin routine with products that contain carefully chosen antioxidant ingredients can help fight oxidative stressors and rebuild healthy skin cells.

Mother Nature herself provides some of the most effective treatment options for uneven skin tone. Arctic plant life has adapted to cold, harsh winters and exposure to round-the-clock sunlight in the summer at high elevations by building up protective mechanisms that shield them from the effects of this extreme climate.

These arctic and subarctic plants containphytonutrients, natural compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Remember that hyperpigmentation is caused by inflammatory and oxidative stress to your skin. So what better way to treat it than to harness the natural healing abilities of these wild botanicals?

At Alaska Glacial Essentials we spend the summer sustainably harvesting these plants, berries and mushrooms to blend with other immunoprotective ingredients for powerful skin brightening properties. Our Day Glow Night Magic – Glacial Facial Essential Skin Kit is a great one-stop option that contains all of the essential skin-brightening ingredients in a 4-step routine created by Mother Nature. We’re all about making your skincare routine as easy as possible to give you more time to get out there and enjoy life. Some of the many powerful ingredients you'll find in our cleanser, toner, serum and cream include:

Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) Extract

Chaga mushroom grows naturally and symbiotically on birch trees in cold northern environments such as Alaska and northern Europe. Chaga has one of the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scores in the world, making it apowerful antioxidant.

It has 50 times more superoxide dismutate (SOD) than any other medicinal mushroom. SOD is the compound that absorbs those free-loading free radicals which wreak havoc on your skin’s health.

Chaga mushrooms also contain triterpenes, betulonic acid, beta-glucan, and inotodiol, compounds which combine to help protect against oxidative and environmental stressors, brighten skin tone, regenerate skin cells, heal wounds, stimulate collagen production, reduce inflammation, regulate sebum production and control acne-causing bacteria.

We use chaga mushroom in ourIlluminating Niacinamide + Hyaluronic Antioxidant Glow Tonerand ourProtect&Defend Squalane + Hyaluronic Restore Cream.

Lupine Seed (Lupinus albus) Oil

With its tall, lush spires of purple flowers signalling summer in Alaska, the lupine plant is known for its ability to survive in challenging, high-latitude environments. The lupine plant has developed amazing phytonutrient properties as it has adapted to these harsh conditions.

The oil from lupine seeds is an antioxidant powerhouse. First, it contains protein building blocks called penta- and hexapeptides. These building blocks inhibit skin degradation, reduce fine lines, and according to multiple research studies stimulatecollagen and elastin production which helps with even, harmonious skin tone.

Lupine seed extract also contains high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 linoleic acids, both of which soothe skin and repair its natural barrier. Carotenoids in lupine seed extract help protect skin from hyperpigmentation caused by environmental damage.

Lupine seed oil protects against wrinkles, hydrates dry skin, brightens skin, and removes freckles and age spots.

Reap the many benefits of lupine seed oil in ourporeREFINING Niacinamide + Hyaluronic Antioxidant Glacial Facial Mask!

Blueberry Fruit (Vaccinum angustifolium) Extract

Known for its antioxidant benefits and skin-conditioning effects, it is rich in polyphenols, a strong antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress from environmental pollution and inflammation.

Lingonberry Seed (Vaccinium vitus-idaea) Oil

Prevents free radical damage and wonderful emollient.

Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate

A salt derived from the licorice plant, dipotassium glycyrrizate is used most commonly for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. However it’s also considered the safestskin-brightening ingredient with the fewest side effects. Other benefits include sebum regulation for acne-prone skin and hyaluronic acid preservation in skin.

OurIlluminating Niacinamide + Hyaluronic Antioxidant Glow Toner contains skin-soothing and brightening dipotassium glycyrrhizate.

Niacinamide, the Perfect Partner

Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is a naturally-derived ingredient that supports and enhances the skin-brightening properties of wild Alaska botanicals. It’s water-soluble, light- and heat-resistant, and tolerated by all skin types.

Niacinamide provides numerous skincare benefits, including boosting hydration, protection from free radicals, reducing pore size, and improving skin tone.

In a2005 study, 50 women participated in a split-face, left-right, randomized study testing niacinamide cream against a placebo cream. After 12 weeks, the niacinamide-treated sides showed significant reductions in hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and redness.

You can find niacinamide in the following Alaska Glacial products:

lupine skincare

Have Patience and Be Consistent

Hyperpigmentation isn’t an overnight process, and treating it takes time too. It can take up to 30 days before you notice improvement, and up to 4 months for significant skin brightening results.

Uneven skin tone shouldn’t stop you from being the badass nature-loving, self-caring, high-vibing person you were meant to be!

healthy skin

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