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Control uneven skin pigmentation

5/31/2016, 3 p.m.
Uneven skin tone is a common, relatively harmless condition that affects millions of people. Hyperpigmentation (darkened areas) and hypopigmentation (lightened ...

— Uneven skin tone is a common, relatively harmless condition that affects millions of people. Hyperpigmentation (darkened areas) and hypopigmentation (lightened areas) are examples of uneven skin tone conditions that people often hope to alleviate.

Changes in skin tone can affect people of all ages and races. Some of the more widely known skin tone changes are the formation of freckles and age spots. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology advises that lightened or darkened patches of the skin can occur anywhere on the body and are usually the result of exposure to the sun. Melanin is produced by the skin as a protective agent. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, melanin absorbs the sunÕs rays and darkens the skin to reduce instances of burns and other damage. Excessive melanin can produce darkened areas that are disproportionate to other parts of the skin. In cases where skin tone already is uneven, sun exposure can exacerbate the situation.

Some skin tone abnormalities are hereditary, while others may result from hormonal issues during pregnancy. People may experience such abnormalities after a skin injury, while others may experience some instances as a natural response to skin inflammation.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate pigmentation issues is to apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 each and every day. Look for a product that blocks both UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied at regular intervals, especially when spending prolonged time outdoors.

Exfoliation of the skin may promote faster shedding of the exterior layers of the skin. Stores carry many at-home exfoliating kits and creams. However, if you are unsure which types of products are best for your skin, consult with a dermatologist.

Dermatologists may prescribe lightening creams that will slowly lighten darkened skin.

Malasma is an uneven pigmentation that can occur on the face and may be a side effect of hormonal imbalances caused by pregnancy, menopause or use of oral contraceptives. Melasma can clear up on its own after pregnancy, but if it is linked to contraceptive use, speak with a doctor about changin