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Understanding Uneven Skin Tone: What is Uneven Skin Tone?

2 min read

Do you find yourself struggling with uneven skin tone and discoloration? You are not alone. Dark skin spots are more common than you think. But don’t worry, there is advice you can follow and products out there that help you achieve gorgeously soft, radiant and even-toned skin.

We’ve put together this simple guide with everything you need to know about dark spots and how to even them out. Plus, find expert advice on how the right products can help you get even-toned skin, like our Vaseline® Radiant X Even Tone Nourishing Body Lotion with niacinamide.


What is an uneven skin tone?

Certain skin conditions and lifestyle factors can cause some sections of your skin to appear darker than the rest of your complexion, resulting in an uneven skin tone. And melanin — a natural pigment produced by melanocyte cells in our skin - can play a role in this.1

Everyone has a similar amount of the melanocyte cells that produce melanin, but it’s the quantity of melanin that these cells produce that varies from person to person. The more melanin your skin produces, the darker your skin.

When the skin produces excess melanin, it can clump into one area and cause the specific area(s) of the skin to appear darker2. This overproduction can be caused by multiple factors, including sun exposure, pollutants, scratches, and skin inflammation and irritation.

“Those with deeper skin tones are often more prone to hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots and uneven skin tone, given they have more melanin in their skin. When trauma occurs, this can lead to increased melanin production or melanin deeper in the skin layers, and therefore hyperpigmentation,” Dermatologist Dr. Caroline Robinson explains.

Dark spots commonly develop on parts of the body that are usually more exposed to sun, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms. They can also be caused by friction and a build-up of dead skin cells, which commonly affect the elbows knees3.

Although dark spots and discoloration are not usually a cause for concern, achieving an even skin tone can certainly help boost one’s confidence in their skin’s appearance.


What causes overproduction of melanin?

The overproduction of melanin that leads to uneven skin tone has many causes, both inside and outside of our bodies, including:

Sun exposure

One of the most common environmental stressors that can cause uneven skin tone is sun exposure, especially when sunscreen is not worn regularly across the body. The sun emits rays that can cause an uneven production of melanin within the body. This in turn can lead to an uneven coloration of the skin4.


Dry skin

Dry skin can also lead to hyperpigmentation due to the skin barrier becoming compromised and unable to retain adequate water and oil. This can lead to itching and a rash, which can contribute to dark spots.

Hormonal changes and fluctuations

Hormone fluctuations can contribute to an uneven skin tone. This is why some pregnant women may begin to experience an increased level of skin discoloration due to significant endocrinological changes6 .



There is a growing body of research that suggests environmental pollution can play a part in skin discoloration. This is because nanoparticles of air pollution can enter the skin and trigger chemical processes that can age it7.


The mighty ingredient: What is niacinamide? 

If creating a more even skin tone while nourishing your skin sounds like #SkinGoals for you, niacinamide might be the secret tool you are looking for! 

Niacinamide is a type of Vitamin B-3 with several potential benefits for you skin. Not only can niacinamide help you to manage an uneven skin tone and brighten dark spots but it can also help to prevent the production of fine lines and wrinkles over time6,7 .

Want fast results? Good news! Dr. Robinson shares that niacinamide is "clinically proven to even skin tone in just two weeks when used regularly."


How does niacinamide work with your skin? 

Now, you may be wondering how niacinamide works to transform your skin. Dr. Robinson explains that niacinamide "is essential to over 200 enzymatic reactions in the human body. It’s a trusted ingredient to help with skin hydration, the look of pores, and evening skin tone."

It can also help to protect your skin from environmental stressors by helping to build and maintain skin cells that protect you from external aggressors. This in turn can help reduce sun damage and skin dryness, as well as help even skin tone and slow down the production of fine lines and wrinkles6.

"Because of its many skin benefits, [niacinamide] has become an important key ingredient in skincare products like Vaseline® Radiant X Even Tone Nourishing Body Lotion that includes 1% niacinamide. Higher percentages of niacinamide can be irritating to certain people, therefore a 1% formula was developed," explains Dr. Robinson.

How can I incorporate niacinamide into my routine?

Although it is commonly found in facial skincare products, niacinamide can be difficult to find in body-care products, but not anymore! If you are struggling to source a body lotion with niacinamide, look no further. We have co-created a product with dermatologists to help you achieve your body-skin goals. 

Our new Vaseline® Radiant X Even Tone Nourishing Body Lotion  is nongreasy, fast absorbing and offers 72-hours of moisturization. Non-comedogenic and formulated with 1% niacinamide, it is clinically proven to visibly reduce dark spots and even skin tone in just 14 days to help you maintain a gorgeously even, soft, and radiant complexion. 


Expert advice for even skin tone

As well as incorporating effective skincare ingredients into your routine, like niacinamide, there are other things you can do to help even out your skin tone.

Dr. Robinson advises that you, “avoid any possible irritation or inflammation and to care for the skin by way of gently cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting the skin from the sun with sunscreen.”

Another good way to combat dark spots is by building an exfoliation routine. Gently exfoliating twice to three times a week can help to buff out and remove dead skin cells, which can help to fade discoloration over time.1

Will you be adding niacinamide to your skincare routine to nourish and even your skin tone over time? Share your journey with us @VaselineBrand for a chance to be featured.



These articles provide general tips and information about improving skin health. They are written by health and beauty writers. They are not written by health care professionals and, as such, don’t constitute medical advice. If you have a serious skin condition, please consult a medical professional.

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