Most of us had nearly perfect skin at one time: early childhood. But then life took over. Accidents led to scars, puberty led to breakouts and sun exposure led to discoloration. So even adults with enviable complexions probably have at least a few blemishes they want to correct or hide.
These can range from blotchy red spots to brown freckles and age spots to numerous discolorations in between. Fortunately, a reasonably even skin tone is achievable. And even though it isn't possible to regain flawless baby skin, you can attain a fresher, younger look by trying out one of the many skin tone correctors on the market and by following these five steps:
1. Protect your skin from the sun. Skin discoloration can be caused by a number of things, including hormonal changes that occur as a result of pregnancy or birth control pills. But the most common source of skin discoloration, by far, is sun damage. In addition to wrinkles and cancer risk, sun damage can take the form of freckles and brown spots on the skin. To combat this unevenness, wear sun block and protective clothing (such as a hat) when you're outside during daylight hours. While this practice may not get rid of the brown spots you currently have, it will help prevent new or worsening discoloration.
2. Exfoliate. Exfoliation is a process that removes layers of dead skin so that newer, healthier skin can shine through. Dead skin cells can give your skin an uneven look, so this process can make your complexion appear smoother. Exfoliation includes manual, enzyme or chemical methods that can be performed frequently -- up to twice a week for the manual or enzyme approach. People with sensitive skin may want to exfoliate less often.
3. Moisturize. Look at moisturizing as the companion of exfoliating: It helps keep your skin smooth and reduces flaky, dry skin. There's a wide range of moisturizers on the market. In choosing one as a component of your skin tone-improving regimen, look for a product that is high in vitamin E and antioxidants. These are ingredients that promote healthy, smooth skin. A benefit of smooth skin is that it creates an ideal palette for our next step.
4. Cover up flaws with makeup. While makeup won't correct your skin tone, it does have the potential to make it look a lot more even. To find cosmetics that will enhance your complexion in a natural-looking way, choose shades that complement your skin tone -- whether cool or warm. An easy way to determine your skin tone is to look at the veins under your skin. If they appear blue, your skin tone is cool; if they look green, you have a warm skin tone. Tone-appropriate foundation, powder and blush can give your skin a picture-perfect finish.
5. Drink more water. As one of the most cost-effective ways of treating your skin, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day has numerous benefits for your complexion and your overall health. Drinking more water in combination with other strategies we've mentioned will likely give you an edge in your quest for bright, healthy skin.
As you embark on a regimen to even your skin tone, remember that it's not a one-time effort. Healthy, beautiful skin is the result of ongoing care and effort. If you'd like to learn more about skin care, check out the next page for lots more information.