How to Even Out Your Skin Tone

A daily routine can work wonders on your skin tone.
©ça Victoria

Nobody's perfect -- and neither is their skin. Imperfections come in the form of sunspots, freckles, red blotchy areas and countless others. So why do these imperfections show themselves? The usual cause is too much sun exposure, but other things may affect it as well. Skin can become discolored as a result of hormonal imbalances. If you're on birth control or pregnant, you might notice that your skin tone seems to change from day to day [source: Austin]. As skin is our largest organ, it also happens to be the most exposed. Lucky for us, there are a few tricks we can use to try and even the tone out.

It may be tempting to spend the day basking in the sun. After all, who doesn't love a good tan?


Unfortunately, this is a dangerous practice, and people who don't protect themselves from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays are at a much greater risk of developing skin cancer. There are much safer ways to even out your skin tone than chasing the perfect tan.

These days, there are entire aisles in the supermarket dedicated to skin care products. It's hard to know which ones actually deliver the results they claim and which ones just drain our wallets. Drinking water is a cost effective way to improve your skin health. As a general rule, you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water every day. Not only will this help improve your overall health, but your skin should look and feel better [source: Natural Skincare Secrets]. Products that can help you even out your skin tone include exfoliating scrubs, moisturizers and makeup. Using these items correctly and in combination with each other may greatly improve the look of your skin.

Achieving healthy, even looking skin is an ongoing process. It takes a strict regimen and an awareness of what might be working against you. Read on to find out how exfoliating can help you even out your skin tone.


Exfoliating to Even Out Your Skin Tone

Every human has roughly the same number of skin cells as there are people in the United States. That's right -- around 300 million, and every minute we can shed up to 40,000 of those cells, which are in turn replaced by new cells [source: National Geographic]. That means we have the ability to completely recycle our skin once a week.

Exfoliation is a process that helps facilitate this recycling of skin cells. It does so by removing layers of dead skin, so new healthier cells can take their place. Due to the speed at which we shed our skin, it's a good idea to exfoliate a couple times a week to keep your cells fresh.


There are three different types of exfoliation: manual, enzyme or chemical. The most common and easiest is manual exfoliation. You can buy any number of exfoliating scrubs at your local grocery store. They're basically soaps that feel like they have tiny bits of sand in them. When used to scrub skin gently, these granules take away layers of dead skin, but aren't harsh enough to remove healthy skin cells, leaving the outer layer of our body's biggest organ shiny and new [source: 911 Skin].

Some people's skin is too sensitive for manual exfoliation. It can leave them red and sore. If this is the case for you, you might want to look into enzyme or chemical exfoliation. Enzymes are used as catalysts to help in exfoliation. Enzyme exfoliation usually involves some kind of lotion or mask. It helps to facilitate chemical reactions that dissolve dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliation works much the same way, separating dead skin cells so they fall away. Both enzyme and chemical exfoliation are recommended for people with acne [source: 911 Skin].

It's easy to see how exfoliating can help even out your skin tone. Many inconsistencies in your skin may be the result of dead skin cells that haven't been shed yet and exfoliation helps speed up that process. Making sure your outer layer of skin cells is healthy and new will help you look and feel better.

Read on to find out how moisturizing can help even out your skin tone.


Moisturizing to Even Out Your Skin Tone

Moisturizing itself won't even out your skin tone, but it's an important step in the complete process. We've already discussed exfoliation, which is the first step. It makes sure dead skin cells aren't hanging around and making the surface of your skin rough and uneven. It's an important step and it's easy, so there are no excuses. Make sure you exfoliate at least once a week.

Keeping your skin moisturized is the second step. It's part of the preparation for the final and most effective step in the process, which is applying makeup. What you need to know is that makeup goes on smooth skin much easier than rough skin, and moisturizing will help keep your skin smooth [source: Aloette]. Think of it this way: It's easier to paint a smooth line on a flat canvas than on a canvas with a bunch of folds on it. The same idea works for our skin.


Moisturizing will help you prevent wrinkles and flaky, dry skin. Some moisturizers even have the ability to reduce the wrinkles that have already formed. These products can range in price from a few dollars to a few hundred. If you find you can't afford the pricier version, try looking for a moisturizer high in Vitamin E and antioxidants. Both these ingredients help promote healthy, smooth skin that will in turn appear more even and healthy.

Now that you understand the importance of moisturizing, read on to find out how makeup can be your biggest ally in the fight to even out your skin tone.


Applying Makeup to Even Out Your Skin Tone

You've exfoliated, you've moisturized and now your canvas is ready. It's time for the fun part, putting on makeup. To do this effectively, you need to know what your skin tone is. An easy way to determine this is by checking the skin on your under arm. If your veins appear blue, then you're a cool skin tone. If the veins appear green, you've got yellow undertones and you're a warm skin tone. Once you've figured out which skin type you are, it's time to pick out the right foundation.

Foundation is the most important part of the application process when trying to even out your skin tone. If you pick the wrong one, you'll likely end up with a sloppier look that you started with. The right foundation, on the other hand, will cover uneven areas and blemishes with ease. A common mistake that people make when picking a foundation is testing it on their wrist or their hand. This doesn't always give you an accurate representation. Find the right foundation for your skin tone and always test it on your face before making a purchase [source: Essortment].


Aside from foundation, blush and powder can also help even out your skin tone. Choosing a blush involves the same process as choosing a foundation. In general, soft colors are better suited for light skin and brighter colors for those with dark skin. Top it all off with a powder to keep from getting shiny. Loose powders tend to give better results than pressed powders and they're easier to apply as well [source: Essortment].

If you follow these simple steps, your skin should appear more even and healthy. Read on to find out lots more information on evening out your skin tone.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • 911 Skin. "Exfoliating Skin." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Aloette. "Get Even Skin Tone With These Easy Tips." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Athena 7 Minute Lift. "Athena 7 Minute Lift." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Austin, Kamau. "How to Even Out Your Skin Tone." Idea Marketers. (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Benabio, Jeffery, MD, FAAD. "Interesting Facts About Skin." The Dermatology Blog. Feb. 6, 2008. (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Essortment. "Make-up tips: buying the right colors for your skin tone." 2002. (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Fair & Flawless Skin. "Fitzpatrick Scale." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • High Tech Sciences. "Fun Science Facts You Didn't Know." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Makeup Tips for Beginners. "Makeup History - A Few Facts." (07/21/2009)
  • Natural Geographic. "Skin." (accessed 07/21/2009)
  • Natural Skincare Secrets. "Health Benefits of Drinking Water…for Your Skin." (accessed 07/21/2009)