Flawless skin rarely comes naturally, especially as you get older. Breakouts, dryness, the sun’s UV rays and even irritating skin products can all combine to create splotchy skin with such an uneven tone that it can be difficult to pick out a shade of foundation. But even if your baby skin is long gone, there are still ways you can work to acquire and maintain a smoother and more even skin tone.
For some cosmetic dermatologists, the bulk of their job is repairing sun damage, otherwise known as photodamage. Although people with light skin and fair hair have the highest risk of photodamage, even people with dark skin can be affected. Sunscreen is the first line of defense against harsh UV rays, but you’ll need to pick the right one for your skin type. If you already have uneven skin tone and are prone to acne or rosacea, choose a non-greasy sunscreen that’s preservative—and fragrance-free.
Use Topical Creams
Topical retinoid creams, which contain derivatives of vitamin A, can improve skin tone and texture and reverse some of the effects of photodamage. Retinoid creams and moisturizers that contain retinoids work by preventing collagen loss and encouraging new collagen to form. The strongest are available only by prescription, but other types are sold over the counter and can even be effective if you use them as rarely as three times a week.
Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals, which can cause cell damage throughout the body—including on the surface of your skin. Getting those antioxidants naturally through a healthy diet featuring plenty of fruits and vegetables is a smart line of defense and may favorably alter your skin tone and texture. Using antioxidants in topical creams and skin care products is a complementary step that can also help you on the journey toward a better complexion.
Dirt, sweat and makeup build up on your skin every day, and as it all accumulates, it can clog pores, contribute to breakouts and make it difficult to maintain an even skin tone. Cleansing once in the morning and once before bed helps break up and remove all of that dirt—but too much or too aggressive cleansing can irritate skin and exacerbate the problem. Avoid scrubbing harshly. Instead, wash gently and dab skin dry to encourage long-lasting radiance.