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Dark spots, discoloration, and uneven skin tone

Excess melanin, the natural pigment that gives color to skin, due to UV exposure, hormonal fluctuations, or trauma to the skin causes uneven skin tone and brown spots.
SkinCeuticals offers a variety of products that gently and safely address this common skin concern by lightening the appearance of existing pigment and preventing the formation of further discoloration.

Learn more about discoloration

what is skin discoloration?

Discoloration, sometimes referred to as hyperpigmentation or dark spots, appears in the form of dark patches. It is a common skin concern and can be isolated or diffused. As discoloration is mainly caused by years of accumulated sun exposure it can appear on exposed areas, including face, neck, chest, hands, and arms. Discoloration can result in a prematurely aged appearance.


skin discoloration explained

What causes skin discoloration?

Skin contains melanin, a naturally-occurring pigment that gives skin color.
Its purpose is protective, which is why skin becomes darker when exposed to the sun without sunscreen.
Melanin can also be produced in excess as a protective response to insults or attacks on the top layer of skin.

While sun exposure is the primary cause of skin discoloration, a variety of factors can contribute such as genetics,
hormonal fluctuations, acne, localized skin irritation, and other environmental aggressors such as pollution-induced
free radicals. Regardless of the cause, skin discoloration can be present as dark patches, isolated spots, or an overall
darker facial appearance. It is often difficult to treat and prevention is key for managing skin discoloration in topical
skincare. This requires diligent use ofsunscreenand an effectivetopical vitamin C antioxidant.

What ingredients should I look for when purchasing products targeting skin discoloration?

There are manyingredientsthat claim or have been shown to reduce the appearance of skin discoloration and brighten the skin’s complexion. Well-studied ingredients include purevitamin C(l-ascorbic acid) and phloretin, potentantioxidantsboth featured in Phloretin CF and Phloretin CF Gel. Retinol is another key ingredient shown to be effective in treating discoloration and is often recommended by dermatologists. Kojic acid and arbutin are two well-documented ingredients that work synergistically together to improve the appearance of unwanted discoloration. SkinCeuticalsMetacell Renewal B3features niacinamide, another important ingredient in addressing discoloration. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, helps reduce the appearance of discoloration and blotchiness.

Hydroquinone is also a common ingredient used primarily by physicians, but is available at lower percentages without a prescription. Many physicians recommend alternatives to hydroquinone due to its side effects.Sunscreen filtersare also essential for discoloration concerns because they protect skin from UV damage.

How can I update my skincare regimen to help target skin discoloration?

The most comprehensive solution for improving the appearance of skin discoloration is prevention and correction. Incorporate an effective topicalvitamin C antioxidantsuch asPhloretin CForPhloretin CF Gelevery morning to prevent against UV- and pollution-induced free radicals. A broad spectrum sunscreen is also a necessity to shield skin from the UV rays that can prompt pigment-producing cells to create new (and unwanted) melanin. Lastly, combining with targeted corrective solutions formulated to reduce the appearance of existing discoloration and brighten skin will optimize results. SkinCeuticalsAdvanced Pigment Correctoris a daily multi-action lightweight lotion that helps reduce the appearance of superficial discoloration and improves overall skin tone. Retinol creams can also be quite effective in improving the look of skin discoloration. SkinCeuticalsRetinol 0.3is a targeted facial exfoliator that accelerates cell turnover to improve the appearance of skin tone and texture. Reducing the appearance of discoloration takes time, be patient and diligent with a regimen.

Are there any in-office treatments than can help improve skin discoloration?

Physicians and skincare professionalsare invaluable partners in treating discoloration. They offer a variety of treatments that can quickly and effectively reduce the appearance of skin discoloration. Options include lasers, intense pulsed light (IPL), and chemical peels. They will recommend the best course of treatment according to skin tone, discoloration severity, and tolerated downtime. Lasers and IPL treatments use light to target and remove melanin clusters in skin. Chemical peels use a variety of acids to exfoliate and reduce the appearance of discoloration. SkinCeuticals Advanced Corrective Peel is a medically exclusivechemical peelfor comprehensive skin texture refinement and improvement of the visible signs of discoloration. YourSkinCeuticals skincare professionalwill also recommend at-home skincare products to complement your treatment.

What is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a type of dark spot that can occur after an acne blemish injury to the skin. It can also be caused by heat associated with sun radiation, waxing, laser treatments, or other in-office procedures. PIH is more common in darker skin tones.

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Skin discoloration includes age spots, sun spots, or hyperpigmentation, and it’s an extremely common skin concern.


The main cause of age spots is unprotected sun exposure as well as incidental exposure such as walking to and from your car, which prompts uneven pigment production deep within the skin. Although diligent use of sunscreen and topical antioxidants help to prevent discoloration, products for hyperpigmentation can make a dramatic difference. To even skin tone, products for hyperpigmentation interfere at various points in the pigment-production process, either by targeting the enzymes necessary for pigment production or preventing pigment from being deposited in the skin. Exfoliation alone (through scrubs, in-office peels and the use of retinol) can also improve age spots by eliminating the top layers of skin where pigment resides. The most effective way to prevent discoloration is with daily sunscreen and topical antioxidant use, and the proper regimen can improve existing hyperpigmentation.

Skin Ceuticals

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