Your skin color depends upon various factors, main of which is the pigment melanin which is produced in the skin cells known as melanocytes. If you have darker skin, it means your melanocytes produce more melanin. Sometimes, darker skin is not your natural skin color. It may get darken due to tanning resulting from exposure to sun rays. In fact, your skin color adapts to intense sunlight irradiation so that you get protection against the ultraviolet rays that can damage your skin. There can be many other causes for dark skin other than heredity and overexposure to the sun. These may include environmental pollution, dry skin, stress, as well as prolonged usage of cosmetics having lots of chemicals in them. If your dark skin is not due to genetic reasons, you may take an attempt to lighten your skin with the help of these home remedies for skin lightening.
Homemade Remedies to Lighten Skin Naturally
1. Milk for Skin Lightening
Milk is a rich source of calcium. Calcium, along with many important functions in our body, also regulates normal skin color. It does so by stimulating melanocytes, the skin cells that produce melanin pigment. Also, when you provide higher calcium content to the upper epidermis of your skin, you help maintain an effective barrier against moisture loss. This prevents skin from going dry which can also affect your skin making it darker. Milk also contains lactic acid which reduces skin’s pigmentation making your skin lighter in complexion.
How to use milk for skin lightening?
- Milk (preferably cow’s or goat’s milk)- 1 bowl
- Take the bowl of milk and warm it a little. You need just warm milk and not hot.
- Soak your washcloth in this.
- Take out the washcloth and wring it out to discard excessive milk. While the cloth should be fully soaked in milk, it should not drip.
- Now gently rub your skin with this cloth.
- Once the cloth gets dry, soak it again in the milk and repeat the process.
- Repeat the cycle of dipping and rubbing for 3-4 times.
- Do this daily, preferably after taking bath.
- After a couple of weeks, you may do this twice a week instead of doing it daily.
2. Yogurt for Skin Lightening
Lactic acid is a known remedy for natural skin lightening. This acid is the most gentle alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Alpha hydroxy acids act as exfoliants by contributing in the rapid shedding of dead skin cells on the surface. This leads to cell renewal which in turn removes dullness from your skin giving you a brightening effect. As a skin lightening agent, lactic acid helps to bleach the hyperpigmented skin by suppressing the production of melanin. Therefore, using yogurt loaded with a lactic acid makes sense when it comes to skin lightening with natural remedies.
Ways to use yogurt for skin lightening
- Take some plain, unflavored and unsweetened, yogurt. Rub this gently on to your skin for a couple of minutes. Then leave the yogurt on your skin for another few minutes. Now wash off using lukewarm water. Repeat this daily.
- Mix yogurt, lemon juice and oatmeal to get make a face mask. Apply this to your skin. Leave it there for 15-20 minutes before washing off with water.
- Add 1-2 tsp of honey to 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Apply this to your skin. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with water. Repeat daily.
3. Lemon Juice for Skin Lightening
Lemon juice is a natural astringent and has natural bleaching properties. Thus, if you have an oily skin and if you want to lighten your skin color, lemon juice is just right for you. Its astringent property will tighten your pores reducing the sebum secretion and its natural acidic composition will bleach your skin to whiten it. As lemon juice is also rich in vitamin C, it leads to the production of new skin cells so that you get rid of all dullness and have bright skin.
Ways to use lemon juice for skin lightening
- Take a lemon and squeeze out its juice. Dip a cotton ball in this lemon juice and apply it on your face or dark skin anywhere else. Leave it for 20-30 minutes and then wash off with water. Repeat daily.
- If you want to save yourself from the hassle of squeezing out the lemon juice, just cut a lemon in two halves and rub one of the lemon halves gently on your face for 10-15 minutes. Then leave the juice on your face for another 10-15 minutes before washing it off.
- For oily skin, make this face mask which will also lighten your skin. Mix 1 tsp of lemon juice with 2 tsp of rosewater and 1 tsp of Fuller’s earth. Make a paste by mixing them and apply to your face. Leave for 15-20 minutes and then wash off.
- If your skin is dry, mix a tsp each of lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Now apply this to your skin. Massage gently for a couple of minutes. Now leave this on your skin for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.
Precaution: Never go out in sun after applying lemon juice to your skin. Lemon juice makes your skin ultra sensitive to sunrays that can, In fact, lead to more discolouration of the skin. Also, do not use lemon juice if you have open wounds on your skin.
4. Rice Powder for Skin Lightening
Women from Asian countries have long used rice water and rice powder to tone and whiten their skin. Modern science to agrees upon the positive effects of rice extract on mature skin as well as its capacity to lighten skin. Rice is a rich source of para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) which acts as a natural sunscreen. When you consume PABA, it raises the level of Vitamin C in your body. Rice also has ferulic acid, an antioxidant, which when added to Vitamin C and E, provides you with excellent protection against the sun. A study conducted with rice bran extracts has proven its hydrating, skin lightening and anti-aging effects on the skin.
How to make skin lightening rice powder mask?
- Uncooked rice- ½ – 1 cup
- Milk- enough to make a paste
- Warm water
- Grind the rice to get its fine powder.
- Add enough milk to the fine rice powder to make a paste. If you are allergic to milk, you can even use water to make this paste.
- Apply this rice powder paste to your face and neck.
- Leave for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash off with warm water.
- Repeat 2-3 times a week.
5. Licorice Root Extract for Skin Lightening
Licorice has long been used by Ayurveda and other Asian Medicine systems to treat many medical conditions including skin diseases like eczema and psoriases. Of late, the excellent properties of licorice as a skin lightening agent has been put to use by many cosmetic companies to make herbal skin lightening creams. These products use licorice root extract as an alternative to the harmful chemical hydroquinone. Licorice contains the active compound ‘glabridin’ which acts to inhibit the enzyme which causes the skin to darken due to sun exposure. Glabridin also helps decrease the production of melanin as well as in balancing the skin cells. Not only is the licorice extract an excellent natural skin lightening agent but it also helps diminish dark circles and other darkened skin due to scars etc. Because licorice also contains ‘licochalcone,’ an oil controlling agent, it is also good for those people who have oily or acne-prone skin and who want their skin to become white.
How to use licorice extract for skin lightening?
You can find licorice extract in health stores. Although you can also make licorice extract at home by steeping or boiling the licorice root, it is too mild a preparation. The commercially available licorice root extract has a huge concentration of useful agents of licorice extract.
- Take a few drops of licorice extract and with the help of a cotton ball or a swab, apply a thin layer of this extract all over your face and neck.
- Leave this overnight and wash off in the morning.
You may also make a face mask with the licorice extract.
How to make licorice extract face mask for skin lightening?
- Licorice extract- few drops
- Cucumber- 1 small or a half of it
- Fresh lemon juice- 1 tbsp
- Sandalwood paste- 1 tbsp
- Tomato juice- 1 tbsp
- Grind the cucumber in a blender.
- Add few drops of licorice root extract to this cucumber paste.
- Now add all the other ingredients to this- lemon juice, sandalwood paste and tomato juice.
- Mix well and apply this to your face and neck.
- Leave it for 20-30 minutes or till it dries out completely.
- Wash off.
- Repeat 2 times a week.
[Also Read: Top 5 Natural Remedies for Fair Skin]
6. Bearberry Extract for Skin Lightening
Bearberry extract, derived from Uva Ursi plant. Commonly used as an astringent in cosmetic products, this extract is an excellent natural skin lightening agent too. It contains arbutin and the natural form of hydroquinone. These two active compounds of bearberry extract are said to have amazing effects on the dull and dark skin. While the synthetic hydroquinone used in commercially available skin lighteners is carcinogenic, the one naturally present in bearberry extract has antioxidant properties and is perfect for cleansing skin as well as increasing cell turnover rate which effectively sheds old skin cells making your face brighter than before. It also protects your skin from sun damage. Arbutin, like hydroquinone, has melanin-inhibiting properties.
How to use bearberry extract for skin lightening?
You will find bearberry extract with different concentration of arbutin. Full strength bearberry extracts should be diluted before applying to the skin. You may dilute the extract with your regular lotion or moisturizing cream that you use daily. Alternatively, dilute the bearberry extract with some glycerin and water and then apply to your face. You should use this extract at least twice the day for required results.
7. Mulberry Extract for Skin Lightening
The mulberry extract has the ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity. Tyrosinase activity is the main determinant of melanin production in our skin. If tyrosinase activity is uncontrolled during melanoma, it results in increased melanin synthesis which gives you dark skin and pigmentation etc. Various polyphenols, including flavonoids, can inhibit tyrosinase activity. Mulberry contains several phenolic flavonoids like gallic acid and quercetin as well as fatty acids like linoleic acid and palmitic acid, all of which are beneficial for skin. This extract is increasingly being included in making of many cosmetic products for the skin. To use mulberry extract, dilute it with your regular skin lotion and apply to your skin twice daily.
8. Aloe Vera to Lighten Skin Naturally
Aloesin is a compound that is present in aloe vera plant. Aloesin can inhibit tyrosinase activity thus regulating the production of melanin in your skin. This way you can get fairer skin by using aloe vera gel. As aloe vera also has many additional benefits in the form of its antioxidant properties, it can give you a soft, smooth skin which is light in color.
How to use aloe vera for skin lightening?
- Get a slice of an aloe vera leaf.
- Cut open the leaf slice and with the help of a spoon, collect the gel inside it.
- Apply this aloe gel to your skin 4 times a day.
- Repeat this daily for about 15 days.
- After 15 days, you can reduce the application frequency by applying it twice a day 3-4 times a week.
You may also buy aloesin which is extracted from the aloe plant and apply this to your skin four times a day.
9. Citrus Fruits Peels for Skin Lightening
The peels and membranes of citrus fruits contain Hesperidin which is a bioflavonoid. Many studies have shown that Hesperidin can effectively inhibit melanin synthesis without cytotoxicity. Many times, hesperidin, along with other similar bioflavonoids, is called vitamin P but it is not an actual vitamin. It is a bioflavonoid. The citrus bioflavonoid like hesperidin facilitates the production of vitamin C complex which is a known beneficial ingredient not only for skin health but also for the immune system. While you can always include citrus fruits in your diet, here is a remedy for skin lightening using the orange peels.
How to make a mask for skin lightening with orange peel?
- Dried orange peel- enough to get 1 tbsp powder
- Yogurt (plain)- 1 tbsp
- Grind the orange peels to get one tablespoon of its powder.
- Mix the orange peel powder with plain yogurt and make a paste.
- Apply this to your face and neck.
- Leave it there for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash off with water.
- Repeat 2-3 times a week.
10. Almond Oil for Skin Lightening
Almond oil contains various components good for skin. These include unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and phytosterols, vitamins E, B2, B6, PP. Vitamin PP is the historical name of niacin or Vitamin B3. Niacinamide, the biologically active form of niacin lightens unwanted skin pigmentation by interfering with the transfer of melanosomes from the melanocyte to the keratinocytes. Thus almond oil helps in giving you lighter skin along with evened out skin complexion. It also removes blemishes, protects you from wrinkles and makes your overall skin glow with radiance.
How to use almond oil for skin lightening?
- Take some sweet almond oil.
- Warm it up a little by indirect heat. For this, you may take the oil in a steel bowl and place the bowl in a bigger bowl with hot water. Remove it after some time.
- Massage your face and neck with this warm almond oil.
- Do this for 10-15 minutes.
- After that, gently press a tissue over your face to remove the excess oil.
- Repeat this every night before going to bed.
- Do this for 15 days and then do it 2-3 times a day, ultimately reducing it to once a week.
11. Kojic Acid for Skin Lightening
Kojic acid is a natural compound derived from mushrooms and other such fungi. It is also a by product of rice sake or the rice wine which is again very beneficial for skin. Kojic acid as a natural skin whitening agent originated in Japan in 1989. This acid prevents melanin formation by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. When the melanin production stops, darker skin naturally gets lightened.
How to use kojic acid for skin lightening?
- Clean your face properly.
- Using the measuring spoon provided with the kojic acid, take ½ to 1 tsp of it.
- Mix this with your regular gel, cream or lotion.
- Apply this to your face and neck, twice a day.
- Do this for a maximum of 1-2 months.
Precaution- As kojic acid can lead to skin irritation if you have sensitive skin, test it before using.
12. Make Gram Flour Face Mask for Skin Lightening
Gram flour also called chickpea flour, is made from the Garzanbo legume and has been used in India since ages to make skin softer, smoother and lightened. It not only acts as an excellent exfoliant but transfers all its nutrients to your skin to make it glow. When you make a face mask using gram flour, you add a host of other ingredients that also whiten your skin. Used regularly, you can get whitened skin easily with this face mask.
How to make gram flour face mask for skin lightening- Recipe 1
- Gram flour- 1 tbsp
- Milk cream- 1 tbsp
- Honey- ½ Tsp
- Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)- 2-4 drops
- Mix all the ingredients and make a paste.
- Apply t his to your face and neck.
- Leave for 15-20 minutes or till it dries out completely.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
- Apply this mask daily for 4 weeks and then once a week.
How to make gram flour face mask for skin lightening- Recipe 2
- Gram flour- 2 tsp
- Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
- Lemon juice- 2-3 drops
- Combine flour, turmeric powder and lemon juice.
- Add enough milk to make a paste.
- Apply this to your face and neck.
- Leave for 15-20 minutes to let it dry.
- Wash off with water.
- Repeat daily for a month and then once a week.
13. Tomatoes for Skin Lightening
Tomato is a natural bleaching agent. This makes it a good skin whitening agent too. Tomatoes have cooling and astringent properties and are also rich in vitamin C. Thus it is a perfect remedy for skin lightening if you have an oily or acne prone skin. The natural acidic composition of tomatoes will balance the skin pH and get you rid of excessive oil apart from making it white. Its antioxidants will fight off the free radicals too to give you a younger looking skin.
Ways to use tomatoes for skin lightening
- Take a small tomato and grate it to get its pulp. Apply the pulp on your skin. Leave it for some time to dry and then apply one more coat of tomato pulp. Repeat this cycle for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, wash off with water.
- Add few drops of lemon juice to a tablespoon of tomato juice. Apply this to your face and neck. Leave for about 15 minutes before washing off.
- Add four tablespoons of buttermilk to two teaspoons of tomato juice. Apply to your face and neck using a cotton ball or with fingers. Leave for 30mminutes and wash off. Do this especially if your skin has darkened due to sunburn.
- If you have a mixed skin or a combination skin use tomatoes with avocado. Mash one small tomato with one small avocado’s pulp. Apply this on your face. Leave for about half an hour. Wash off with warm water.
- Add 2 tbsp of yogurt to the pulp of small tomato. Apply this to your skin. Leave for 20 minutes and then wash off.
All these home remedies for skin lightening are effective. However, it will take some time to discover which remedy works best for you.