Ask Dr. Steve: Smoother Skin and Uneven Skin Tone — an F.Y.I.
Q: We all want "smoother skin" — what's actually happening topically to the surface of our skin when it gets “smoother"?
Dr. Steve: For many people, rough and bumpy skin is the first visible sign of aging — that and when you find out that your favorite DJ from when you were in high school recently had hair replacement surgery. Rough skin usually stems from a lack of moisturizer. If you look under a microscope at people with rough skin, you'll see the outer layers of the skin are lined with dead skin cells popping up and sticking out. That rough and bumpy surface is due to the fact that the top layer of dead skin cells are creating a misalignment.
There are other reasons: If you struggle with eczema, psoriasis or some other genetic condition, you're especially susceptible to having rough skin — same goes for those who live in dry climates with low humidity.
There is help — absolutely. When you moisturize with our hyaluronic acid in the Vital Morning Face Cream, it’ll correct a lot of that bumpiness by filling in the gaps to give you smoother skin. Also, the salicylic acid in our Face Wash cleanser will help in scraping away the dead skin cells.
Q: What causes uneven skin tone?
Dr. Steve: Depending where it is on the face, some skin types don't darken or lighten to the same degree, and that leads to an uneven skin tone where certain areas are lighter and others are darker. That can be really distressing for people.
We do know that it's rooted in physiology and your age, but there are more specific reasons:
Sun exposure: To help protect your skin from UV rays, your skin produces melanin as an immune response. The more you expose your skin to the sun, the more your skin ramps up the production of melanin, leading to brown spots.
Pollution: Air pollution particles can sink deep into the skin's layers and cause inflammation, which stimulates your pigment-producing cells and forms brown spots.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: A fancy term for the darkening of the skin as a result of scarring, which can be caused by acne lesions or skin injury, like a burn. When the skin is injured, it tends to drop pigment a bit deeper down into the layers of the skin dermis — that's what causes the darkening.
Each of these creates a dark and splotchy skin tone, a very common issue that most everybody wants to correct.
Fortunately there are products that can help with uneven skin tone. The retinoids in our night cream are really good for this, they're designed to help address dark spots, skin tone and discoloration and to smooth things out. It’s the great equalizer, almost like an eraser that blends everything by speeding up the process of skin cell turnover so you're getting fresher hydrated skin to the surface quicker. That’s one mechanism. Retinoids also affect the expression of melanin in skin cells.
Also, kojic acid is one of the safest and most recognized applications of ingredients that helps reverse that darkening. For more on kojic acid, check out what I have to say about it here.
If you're looking for smoother skin, there is help for you. Reach out when you're ready, we'll be here to answer your questions.