How to Identify Your Skin Tone (and What to Do When it Becomes Uneven)

Airdate: 4/18/14

Join Paula and Bryan as they discuss what makes skin tone uneven, how to treat uneven skin tone, and how to identify your skin tone so that shopping for foundation is much easier. Find out the one product that can improve uneven skin tone that most people aren’t using. We also chat about how to handle multiple undertones plus redness or sallowness so that your complexion looks better than ever!

Paula Begoun: Hello. I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, here with my Co-writer and Research Director, Bryan Barron. We are the best-selling authors of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. And we are very proud of that. We have sold millions of books and, yeah, Bryan - actually Bryan is really writing the books. I just pretend I do. We’re here to keep you beautifully informed so you can make the best decisions about everything from skincare to makeup, hair care, Botox, cosmetic surgery. You name it, we’ll discuss it. We will tell you the truth.
00:00:30 We will tell you what the research says. We are not going to tell you what the hype and marketing says. And we take your questions on our Facebook page. And actually, you know, the truth of it is is even though you do a lot of the writing and I do a lot of the editing, it really is a team effort to do our books, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and all the content that’s on Paula’s Choice.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: It takes a village and the Paula’s Choice Research Team village are busy campers.
Bryan Barron: We are. Sometimes when you’re at the beginning of a new year and you kind of look at what’s going on and you think, oh well, maybe we can just kind of coast into this.
00:01:15 And it’s like for the last few years at Paula’s Choice we have just been full steam ahead.
Paula Begoun: Well, we thought when our team got bigger, right -
Bryan Barron: That it would be easier!
Paula Begoun: That our lives, because our lives are pretty intense. It was just the two of us for quite a while.
Bryan Barron: It was.
Paula Begoun: We had some research help, mostly temps, so they weren’t ever really trained, and then we started full time and trained people, researchers, testers.
00:01:40 And we just became more productive, so it just got more intense.
Bryan Barron: Well, and I think it went along the lines of the fact that the cosmetics industry just doesn’t slow down. There is more products and more misinformation out there, so not only are you still dealing with the misinformation from years ago, you’re dealing with a whole new set of misinformation or questions.
Paula Begoun: It’s actually shocking.
00:02:03 Even, so one of the things we’re going to be challenging on our Facebook page, not just challenging just getting the honest information out there, is we’re often shocked at the medical websites, so called medical websites that - you know, I’m not going to judge their information on heart surgery or diabetes or any one of a number of issues that aren’t our arena.
00:02:28 But the information on skincare, I mean, every now and then - first of all there are times, I’m just going to say it, we think, well, didn’t we write that? Isn’t that word-for-word what we just wrote? But letting go of that, what really bothers us the most is when they say things that just aren’t true, that are just misleading, or just factually by the research just not true. It’s like they’re interviewing a doctor and I’m thinking is this doctor just making it up?
00:03:00 Like, “Well, I think I’ll just say this. I don’t really know, but it sounds good,” or is an “other doctors.”
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: We just did an article, so misinformation that has been around on the internet for a very long time is about whether or not you can use vitamin A, retinoids, with AHAs.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: Right. That one. Whether or not that’s an okay thing to do. And they always say, “No you can’t. God forbid.” I don’t even know what it is. But, while you might not want them in the same product, putting them on one over the other doesn’t change anything.
00:03:38 The pH of the skin doesn’t necessarily match the pH of the retinol either. And a lower pH, given it is absorbed in and done its thing and then you put on the other one, or whatever order you put it on, most retinols, especially ours, our encapsulated anyways. It doesn’t make any sense.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: It’s so, okay, but I am so off and down the wrong tangent. It’s not even our topic today.
Bryan Barron: Did we tell them what the topic was?
Paula Begoun: Well, although retinol does help what our topic is.
00:04:07 So, no, we haven’t -
Bryan Barron: Actually, yes, it does. We’ve come full circle!
Paula Begoun: Actually maybe that was a segue. So, how to identify your skin tone and what to do when it becomes uneven. It’s a big topic. A lot of products out there on the market want you to believe that you just use this one product, put it on, you’ll wake up in the morning and you’ll have even skin tone. It just doesn’t work that.
00:04:35 Skincare, you know, I really do wish skincare was easy, that I could just say, “Okay, use this one product and you will be, you know, happy, you will look younger, you won’t have acne, you won’t have open pores.” So it’s fantasy land. And it’s not my fault that it’s complicated. I just want you to know, it’s just the research about what it takes to clean the skin, give the skin antioxidants, give the skin sun protection.
00:05:01 Give the skin ingredients that not only take care of skin but help even skin tone.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, not to mention including skincare - not just skincare products, but also makeup products. But I wanted to say, and again, sorry, just one more departure - because I can barely help myself. So, I was on Facebook, well, I go on Facebook - well, not as frequently as I should - but I was talking, you know, saying “Hello, I’ll take your questions,” because I have to do that.
00:05:40 And come visit us on our Facebook page because you never know when I’m going to be hanging out, although our team answers questions all the time. But, I started off my post by saying my tip for the day, my best tip actually for the year other than sunscreen - that’s always my best tip - is when you are applying makeup or removing makeup, or cleaning your face, don’t pull at the eye area.
00:06:05 As a matter of fact, don’t pull at the face. If you see your skin move, facial exercises are in this little category, too; when you see your skin move, the tiny little delicate elastin fibers that allow skin to snap back start breaking. And elastin is almost impossible to regenerate.
00:06:33 I don’t care what they tell you, in terms of firming skin it isn’t because you’re making more elastin fibers. It is like a rubber band. You keep pulling on a rubber band it will stretch and stretch and stretch and eventually break and become brittle.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: It’s not my fault. I keep saying that, “It’s not my fault.” Don’t blame me for the facts!
Bryan Barron: Don’t shoot the messenger.
Paula Begoun: It’s just the way it is.
Bryan Barron: An interesting side fact though regarding elastin is that when you get stretch marks, either from pregnancy or from rapid growth, men can get stretch marks, too - weight gain and loss.
00:07:09 Stretch marks are broken bands of elastin beneath the skin. That is why it is fruitless to apply, for example, cocoa butter is a popular stretch mark remedy. A lot of pregnant women use it in hopes that they won’t get stretch marks. Some people just don’t get stretch marks.
Paula Begoun: Yes. Some people just don’t get stretch marks.
Bryan Barron: In much the same way as we all have oil glands and bacteria on our skin, how come all of us don’t have acne?
Paula Begoun: Some people genetically have more elastin or for lack of a better term tougher, more resilient elastin that doesn’t break as easily.
00:07:44 They don’t know why. It’s just like with acne. Why you have it, why I don’t have it; however, although, we both actually break out but that’s a whole other topic. The issue is that elastin fibers with time, with usage, with pulling, with moving the skin, you see the skin - particularly around the eye area - it will sag. Jut life in the fast lane.
00:08:10 So don’t pull. Don’t pull when you apply your makeup. As much as possible dab.
Bryan Barron: So, that was your dab.
Paula Begoun: Keep it superficial. And then what women - dozens and dozens of women asked - is so then how do you take off your makeup. And what you -
Bryan Barron: We’re counting on that. Just figured they’d listen to your tip and be like, “Oh, okay, thanks Paula. I’ll remember that.” And it was like, “Oh, wait, wait. Now what do I do?”
Paula Begoun: Right.
00:08:35 So, the big one, I think that applying makeup by dabbing more than rubbing, I think that one is pretty easy - nobody actually asks how do you get your makeup on. I think that’s kind of self-intuitive that you dab as you put it on and you don’t pull.
Bryan Barron: Or you using, in the eye lid area you’re using brushes for shadow.
Paula Begoun: And it’s gentle. And it’s gliding over the skin. So, the way you do it is first of all you avoid wearing waterproof makeup.
00:09:03 Particularly waterproof mascara. If you wear waterproof mascara the problem is is you will have to wipe at your eye. You can’t get it off otherwise. And unless you’re swimming or it’s raining outside and you don’t have an umbrella or you’re crying at a wedding, there is no benefit to wearing a waterproof mascara. What breaks down mascara during the day isn’t your eyes watering, unless you have a terrible problem with eye watering.
00:09:34 It’s really more the oils that build up on your face and really often it’s just that you’ve bought a bad mascara.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: So, it has to be waterproof washable makeup. You use a gentle water soluble cleanser. Gentle enough to use over the eye area.
Bryan Barron: What about the Clarisonic or other facial cleansing brushes used around the eye. Wouldn’t that be - ?
Paula Begoun: You’re supposed to use those around the eye?
Bryan Barron: Well, I don’t know if 100% for a fact, but -
Paula Begoun: Do they move skin around?
00:10:02 You know, I don’t use a Clarisonic so I can’t say.
Bryan Barron: It’s more about the bristles oscillate. I don’t know, you know, that would be a good Nathan question because Nathan is our resident Clarisonic nut.
Paula Begoun: He is the Clarisonic, you know -
Bryan Barron: He will be buried with his Clarisonic. I’m convinced.
Paula Begoun: Ha! I don’t know. So, the rule of thumb, if you see your skin move, it’s a problem.
00:10:27 Now, it doesn’t mean it can’t move ever. Obviously I’m talking right now and it’s moving. And the parts of my face I use the most will wrinkle the most because of what happens to skin. And part of that is the elasticity issue. So, without getting into the Clarisonic, because I don’t use it and I can’t see if - I don’t know how much it moves the skin - but particularly around the eye I would be concerned about that if it does.
00:10:57 And you can look and see for yourself. It’s not going to get rid of wrinkles. I’m not sure why you need a Clarisonic around the eye. Do they recommend a Clarisonic around the eye?
Bryan Barron: I don’t know that.
Paula Begoun: Oh, where is Nathan when we need him?
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: So, you wash your face with a gentle water soluble cleanser and that includes the eye area. You know it’s gentle because it doesn’t burn the eye area. Lots and lots of cleansers don’t. Certainly Paula’s Choice cleansers don’t. And that is the way you start and a primary way you get most of your makeup off. When you’re done, particularly for stubborn makeup, particularly heavy concealers like the one I use, then the little bit of eye makeup that might still be left over, I take a Q-tip and an eye makeup remover.
00:11:40 And it doesn’t matter what kind it is. It can be a solvent kind. It can be one with, you know, a dual face like we have. It can be a cream one. It doesn’t matter. With a Q-tip -
Bryan Barron: It’s whatever you like.
Paula Begoun: With a soft pad or a Q-tip you very gently remove the last traces of makeup. And you have pulled as little as possible. So, it’s not quite so all or nothing. It’s about minimizing the damage. It’s always about minimizing the damage.
00:12:09 Same thing with sun protection. Even the best sunscreens you are never going to be a thousand percent protected from the sun. What you are doing is minimizing the damage. And that’s a lot given how terrible the damage can be. And I’ve carried on so much that do we have even time to talk about skin tone?
00:12:31 We do.
Bryan Barron: We do.
Paula Begoun: But, pulling at the eye, pulling at the face, pulling at the skin, don’t do it. Skin will sag. You will breakdown elastin. Period.
Bryan Barron: Over time. This isn’t something you’re going to see in a week.
Paula Begoun: No.
Bryan Barron: But we are talking about the daily abuse. Also, be mindful because this can be a habit a lot of us aren’t even aware that we’re doing - rubbing your eyes.
Paula Begoun: Ooh!
Bryan Barron: I see a lot of people doing that.
Paula Begoun: Oh my…
Bryan Barron: After starring at the computer too long. If they’re tired.
Paula Begoun: Oh, gosh, that is so true.
Bryan Barron: If you think that’s you and you’re trying to break that habit, enlist a friend or a spouse or a family member and have them tell you when you’re doing that. Because from a lot of us it’s an unconscious behavior and that repetitive eye rubbing - and admittedly it can feel really good to rub your eyes.
Paula Begoun: Yeah!
00:13:17 Don’t do it.
Bryan Barron: Don’t do it. Or do it as minimally as possible.
Paula Begoun: And actually as I’m sitting here resting my hand on my chin, so the other thing I see a lot of people do is they rest their hand particularly on their jaw line and push up on their face.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Now, what we’re saying is -
Bryan Barron: That’s a facelift.
Paula Begoun: Well, it’s a negative facelift.
00:13:41 Because what you’re doing is, again, is whether you pull - so, one of the things that we have talked about in the past is will - particularly at the Clarins counter or the Shiseido counter they’ll say, “When you put on your moisturizer apply it,” and both Bryan and I are making gestures upwards. Apply it upwards.
Bryan Barron: “Up and out with quick short tapping motions.”
Paula Begoun: Yes, as if that’s going to somehow reverse sagging.
00:14:11 Whether you pull upwards or downwards, it doesn’t really matter. The elastin - it is about the skin snapping back. And the more you stretch it, whether you pull a rubber band from the top or the bottom, it stretches out. And the same for the elastin fibers in skin. So, sitting and resting, you can gently touch, gently rest. If you see your skin move you’re tearing elastin fibers.
00:14:35 That is just the fact of it. Don’t do that. The other thing I’m thinking of, you know, I’ve seen the recommendation to not pull and tear at the skin, to use a satin pillowcase at night.
Bryan Barron: Yes, sleep on a satin pillowcase.
Paula Begoun: I actually have no clue if that’s true or not, but I mean, you can ask whoever you happen to be sleeping with if when they see you sleeping on a regular pillow versus a satin pillowcase do they see you not bunching up your skin as much.
00:15:11 Because what the issue is if your skin is getting - I’m making faces. You know how you wake up and your face is all swooshed against the pillow. If somehow a satin pillow really does lessen that, you know, that’s good. But, I haven’t seen any research saying that. But, you can ask somebody who happens to see you sleeping. You know, get one satin pillow for like five bucks at Bed Bath & Beyond or Target or Wal-Mart or wherever and see if it makes a difference.
00:15:42 I mean, you won’t know because you’ll be sleeping, so you’ve got to ask somebody who’s watching you. But anything you can do, you know, I think about all of the products and things you can use to take care of your skin that are brilliant and that we strongly recommend. Often we don’t talk enough about the little things, or things that seem little.
00:16:03 Obviously cigarettes, not smoking, everyone kind of gets that that’s a big deal, no-no. You know, sun damage, lord knows I hammer it. I hope that most people at least, even if they don’t listen to me about what to do about it at least know that, well, maybe I shouldn’t be out here hamming my skin with the sun. But little things like not pulling at the eye area or face or any skin, over time really can and does make a huge difference and actually I’m wondering if we should change the title of this show because I have more to say about pulling.
00:16:45 I don’t know. Should I stop? I should stop. We’ll talk about skin tone. Should we talk about skin tone?
Bryan Barron: Yes. Let’s talk about skin tone from two perspectives. Because the two big questions are readers, our customers have are how to I determine what skin tone I have.
Paula Begoun: Okay.
Bryan Barron: And then once I know that I have an uneven skin tone, how do I correct it?
Paula Begoun: So, there’s two things about skin tone.
00:17:12 One is color. Just what is the color of your skin? And then what happens when it’s uneven. So, when we look at children who haven’t been sun damaged, because they’re young and sun damage accumulates over time, who don’t have surfaced capillaries because they haven’t beat up their skin with hot water and saunas and scrubs and overdoing skincare. And they don’t have hormonal issues like taking birth control pills or just their hormones haven’t kicked in yet because they’re children, which sometimes for a lot of women causes Melasma, brown masking over the face.
00:17:56 So, we can look at a child and we can see skin color pretty evenly, pretty much without anything that gets in the way of making it uneven.
Bryan Barron: Right.
Paula Begoun: And then that is real skin tone. That is real skin color. That can range from ebony, a beautiful blue, gorgeous dark ebony color. Very deep African skin tones. Beautiful. And then it can be a more coppery/golden, deep brown, dark, lovely beautiful color.
00:18:34 And, again, we’re talking about children now who have no sun damage, haven’t beaten up their skin, no hormone issues. And then moving up the color ladder to a more Mediterranean skin tone or Native American, Native South American, where you get into the more olive, beautiful olive, ashen, gorgeous smooth Mediterranean colors.
00:19:00 And then for some Native South Americans and Americans there is a reddish, a slight reddish tone under that -
Bryan Barron: Polynesian.
Paula Begoun: Golden, brown, lovely color.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: And then moving up to the more fair skin tones that have maybe a slight - Bryan is raising his hand - a slight yellow but if the skin is thin enough some of the pink color of the blood vessels will show through.
00:19:27 So, the whiteness of the skin, the lighter shade of the skin will show through as having a slightly blue or, well, let’s let go of the blue thing. Nobody is blue. It’s really more of a pink/bluish, on the blue side of the color spectrum.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. Which just a real quick elaboration there. When Paula refers to blue, another word for that would be cool. When someone says they have a cool undertone. And when we say yellow, which most of us inherently have a yellow undertone, which I’m sure you’re getting to.
Paula Begoun: Yes.
Bryan Barron: But yellow generally refers to a warmer undertone.
Paula Begoun: So, within all of this the consideration is what color is skin.
00:20:10 So, some of it is it’s just the colors we’ve been talking about from ebony up to very Snow White fair. Then there is the issue of undertone. Within the range of melanin, melanin is kind of brownish from lots of melanin, where it’s an ebony color, to very fair where you make almost no melanin. Melanin is the cells in the skin that give skin color.
Bryan Barron: It’s color.
Paula Begoun: But then skin also has, is it eumelanin and pheomelanin?
Bryan Barron: It’s eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Paula Begoun: Oh, you’re so good.
00:20:46 Which gives the skin an undertone of either pink, depending on how much it is because it’s kind of a reddish color. All the way up to being barely present. Skin makes very little of this reddish kind of tone which is why there is, you know, really no red people. Nobody is walking around with their skin being like a red head. That’s not happening. So, within that range you have a skin color, a skin tone. Where it gets changed, where that little kid who has that nice even, beautiful, true skin tone, true color, where it get complicated is when skin damage starts happening.
00:21:29 Now sometimes it happens just naturally - hormones cause - sometimes imperceptibly an additional kind of brownish tone to the skin sometimes, very noticeably - birth control pills can give skin a brownish masking. Sun damage will absolutely accumulate; sun damage that starts from birth will absolutely affect skin tone. For women of darker skin color it will give an ashen tone to skin. And for women with lighter skin color it will create blotching and a yellowing of skin.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: More yellow than normal.
00:22:04 And then surfaced capillaries can cause a problem. Capillaries under the skin always give the skin a bit of color, the more translucent skin, the more noticeable, the less translucent. But then where it becomes really noticeably uneven is when that capillary is at the surface and you get patches of redness as opposed to just the glow under your skin that comes from the capillaries.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: So, now having said all that, that’s the definition of skin color/skin tone, that ebony all the way up to fairish/whitish, Snow Whitish kind of skin color. And then all of the things that can happen that make it uneven.
00:22:43 So, how do you know your skin color is actually less important - is only important when it comes to matching foundation. And actually the ease of handling how to pick out a foundation is like a dress. How do you know a dress looks good? You put it on and you look in a mirror and if your backside looks too big or it’s hanging off in the wrong, you know, it’s not - the shoulder is drooping and the -
Bryan Barron: I used to have a bust. Ha!
Paula Begoun: Ha! And the buttons are pulling apart.
00:23:16 It doesn’t fit. You take it off and you try on another one. So, getting the right foundation for your skin tone, it actually doesn’t really matter what color it is. You can search your life to define your color. And we can come up with words and everybody hears the color differently. You put the foundation on, you go out in - am I yelling? I am. And I’m pointing. I get so worked up about this! You go out in the daylight and you look in the mirror and you see if you see a line of demarcation between your neck and your hairline. If you don’t look like you’re wearing a mask and it matches your skin and evens you out and looks beautiful…
Bryan Barron: That’s it.
Paula Begoun: That’s it.
00:24:00 Buy it! And then, well, obviously, we won’t get into too much of a foundation discussion about oily skin and dry skin. We’re just talking color right now.
Bryan Barron: Yes. This is all assuming that you’ve found a foundation for your skin type. It’s the format of foundation you like, liquid versus powder. This is when you’ve gotten to the stage where, okay, I know which one I want to buy, I just need to find the color.
Paula Begoun: I’m putting it on and I’m looking in the daylight. And you don’t put it on your hand, the same way you wouldn’t try a bra -
Bryan Barron: Or the inside of your wrist. Please don’t do that.
00:24:29 Everyone, the inside of your wrist is lighter than your face simply because of -
Paula Begoun: Who makes that recommendation? Where is that?
Bryan Barron: Oh, fashion magazines from time to time. “Check it out on the inside of your wrist.” Or, I’ll see women at the counter actually swiping foundation on the inside of their arm.
Paula Begoun: That’s like recommending to try on a bra over your dress. Or what am I going to do, try a bra on over my right leg? It doesn’t go there.
Bryan Barron: Put these pair of panties on over your head, trying to get it down to where they should be. It’s just, come on. It may be well-meaning advice but it is not.
Paula Begoun: It’s not helpful advice at all.
Bryan Barron: If you have ever found your best shade of foundation that way, let us know.
00:25:07 Because that’s an anomaly.
Paula Begoun: It’s not possible. Well, because, right, particularly if you’re over the age of, I don’t know, 14, because the inside of your arm is not the same color as your face.
Bryan Barron: It doesn’t get the same level of sun exposure.
Paula Begoun: No. No. And it’s still not - and even if on that rationale that the back of your hand might be a better place, the issue is that the way it looks on your hand is still not going to be the way it looks on your face.
00:25:35 It might give you an idea, like if you wanted to just try a few to narrow down which ones you wanted to apply on your face. Do that. But then put one of those on one side of the face and the other one on the other and see which one looks better. It’s still not going to - and you still might not like them and might have to go again because it’s a very fine line in terms of skin color and getting a foundation to look real on the face.
00:26:02 And often the color you see in the container goes on lighter or darker than it actually looks. You’ve got to try it on. So, skin color/skin tone in terms of getting a foundation is actually as I think I just said and yelled and screamed about is relatively easy. So, now what to do about the skin problems you see that cause skin to be uneven.
00:26:29 When it comes to the brown patches, and actually anything about skin color just in general, is you have to use sunscreen. I know, everybody goes, [snores], they’re all asleep. They’re snoring. Paula’s talking about sunscreen again. Boring! 365 days a year. Don’t brush your teeth, but put on sunscreen. Well, don’t tell your dentist I said that. Whatever you do up there in life, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, going to the bathroom, and putting on sunscreen -
00:27:01 Those are life’s, in terms of grooming, the most important things you can do. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. SPF 15 or greater. Definitely the research is growing about greater is better. UVA protection. You got to wear it every day. It doesn’t matter if you think the sun is or isn’t there. And the only place the sun isn’t is in - I don’t know where. Fairbanks, Alaska on, I don’t know.
00:27:30 You got to be really up there in the winter.
Bryan Barron: Where they have 30 days of night.
Paula Begoun: Yeah. Then okay. But the second there’s an hour of light and we’re talking just that you can see daylight, that it’s lighter than dark, you got to wear sunscreen. So, sunscreen. The second thing is to use skincare products that address the issue of skin discoloration, that heals skin, that reduce melanin concentrations, that help - retinol is a major one that helps normalize damaged cell production of which making too much melanin, increased melanin production is a damaged skin response.
00:28:12 Antioxidants are another way to help heal skin. And then there are skincare ingredients as the next step that actually reduce the production of melanin. They are melanin inhibitors in various different ways and it’s all very technical and way too technical to talk about. Just, yeah, too technical. However, in different ways they help reduce the production of melanin. Vitamin C is one of them.
Bryan Barron: Niacinamide.
Paula Begoun: Niacinamide with ascorbyl glucosamine is another one. Oh, why am I blanking out?
Bryan Barron: I think you mean acetyl glucosamine.
Paula Begoun: Acetyl. No, Ascorbyl. Acetyl glu -
Bryan Barron: There is ascorbyl glucoside.
Paula Begoun: Oh sorry.
Bryan Barron: Which is a form of vitamin C.
Paula Begoun: You are so good.
00:29:00 You are so good. Ascorbyl glucoside. That’s the one, right. And acetyl glucosamine is another, right, when mixed with niacinamide. Okay, good. Thank you.
Bryan Barron: Yes. Which is what we use in the Pure Radiance Brightening treatment, so I didn’t want our listeners to look at that product and say, “Wait a minute, but Paula said…”
Paula Begoun: Oh god. Never trust my memory on those kind of details. Listen to Bryan. Licorice extract. All forms of licorice extract, I mean, the research about that is incredible.
Bryan Barron: That’s another good one.
Paula Begoun: And, of course, the gold standard is products that contain hydroquinone. The ones we just talked about before are alternatives to hydroquinone. Not everybody likes using hydroquinone or can actually tolerate it.
00:29:38 It’s pretty, I mean, it’s a very active ingredient and actually cuts off the production of melanin to some extent, the high concentrations.
Bryan Barron: You know, people often ask about hydroquinone - they wonder if they’re only supposed to apply it to the darkness because the concern is if they apply it to the regular color of skin that it’s going to lighten that as well.
Paula Begoun: Well, it can.
00:30:02 It can. So, definitely spot treatment is not a bad idea. But often what it’s doing is just cutting melanin production down in general. It’s very hard to control exactly where you put it. But the concentration, being on brown spots is just fine if you’re worried about getting an overall lightness. A lot of people like an overall lightness.
00:30:30 And it will reduce the brown spot discoloration. It doesn’t make you so white that you will, whatever -
Bryan Barron: It’s not like a Michael Jackson type transformation.
Paula Begoun: Right. And then the brown spots, because those are darker, the other skin around it gets lighter that it’ll look more notice - that you haven’t changed anything because you’re really controlling damaged melanin response at the concentrations that are being used in skincare products. But, yes, spot treatment is just fine.
00:31:01 I spot treat, I don’t know why I spot treat, because I could use it all over - our Vitamin C and now we have a prototype that I’m not going to talk about at work because then everyone is going to want to use the new one. Because we have a higher…never mind. So, having said all that, that’s the way to address skin tone in terms of choosing skin color and skin tone, in terms of choosing a foundation, and how to deal with the skin discolorations that come from the brown, the melanin, the brown cells that cause skin color.
00:31:37 The other thing that’s a very big deal are the surfaced capillaries. Now, unfortunately -
Bryan Barron: Redness, Rosacea.
Paula Begoun: Rosacea. Now, definitely in terms of skincare products, products that contain anti-irritants, don’t contain any irritants are important. But when you see a visible red line surfaced on the skin, the only way you are going to be able to reduce that is by seeing a dermatologist who can either laser it away.
00:32:09 Well, actually on the face, it depends on the size of the vein, or the capillary. The tinier the capillary then there is a laser procedure that works beautifully, particularly for around the nose and on the cheeks. The thicker the vein, say on the legs in particular, then they do something sclerotherapy where they actually inject a substance directly, a salt substance directly into the vein or the blood vessel to actually kill it off.
00:32:41 Those work great. Unfortunately, as somebody who has had those done, because of the nature of blowing your nose a lot, or having allergies, which is where a lot of the capillaries show up which is around the nose, they come back.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: So, it sometimes isn’t something - I mean, definitely getting rid of a whole bunch of them and maybe doing it once a year if you have a propensity for that to happen can make a huge difference.
00:33:08 And actually is one of the lesser expensive things -
Bryan Barron: I was just going to say that. People think, oh, the doctor, oh this, but it’s really not that bad.
Paula Begoun: It’s not as bad as people, I mean, obviously prices differ area to area, but getting rid of red veins is actually a relatively easy laser procedure.
Bryan Barron: Yes. And it’s something that you don’t necessarily need to search high and low for the top dermatologist, you know, to do this.
00:33:33 Most of them who have a laser-emitting device can easily take - in fact, when I’ve had it done it’s typically the assistant that does it.
Paula Begoun: Right. It’s not a huge skills set. It’s not a huge skill set.
Bryan Barron: Yeah. You just stand there and, you know, zap, zap, zap.
Paula Begoun: So, that’s everything I know, pretty much, well, at least everything I can get out in a short period of time about how to identify your skin tone and what to do when it becomes uneven in terms of skincare and in terms of choosing a foundation.
00:34:04 And from there, that actually will take impeccable care of what you’re looking to do to look beautiful and smooth and even and have a bright, radiant skin tone. Pretty much.
Bryan Barron: And we do have an article on this topic at You can go to our Expert Advice section and then from there click on makeup tips and you will see an article called How to Determine Your Skin Tone which expands a bit on what Paula just discussed and, you know, I think given the nature of this topic, we will do more shows about this issue because it’s something that affects so many people and there’s layers to it. There’s more complexity than what we could cover in the space of just one show, so.
Paula Begoun: Well, especially when I started out the show talking about pulling at the eye!
00:34:55 But that is -
Bryan Barron: It’s very important!
Paula Begoun: That will make a huge difference.
Bryan Barron: We should do a no pulling show.
Paula Begoun: We should do a no pulling show! Actually, oh well, there’s a lot we could talk about which is why you have to stay listening to us on our Radio Show. You’ve got to come visit us at I’m Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, with my Co-writer and Research Director, Bryan Barron, keeping you beautifully informed. Please stay with—
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