Most people suffer from some type of unwanted skin darkening at some point and there are many reasons why this can happen: friction, chafing, skin irritations from hair removal, sun exposure/damage (freckles, hyperpigmentation), scarring from injury, acne, skin allergies or rash, contact spots (knees, elbows, back of ankles), or simply genetics, etc…
Skin darkening can be annoying, bothersome, or even embarrassing… luckily, there are ways to reduce or even eliminate those darkened areas.
You can invest in skin lightening or bleaching creams, serums and over-the-counter specialty treatments, or go to your dermatologist for medical remedies.
You can also choose the natural method, using simple and affordable ingredients at home. Natural methods work more gradually than synthetic, chemical, or medical treatments; which can be more beneficial for your skin/health, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Important Note: If you are someone with a naturally deeper skin tone, due to your ethnicity or race (i.e. African American, Hispanic, Indian, etc.), always consult your doctor and dermatologist before attempting any at-home full body skin lightening or whitening, whether over-the-counter or natural.
Now, onto the easy, natural process of lightening and brightening your skin..
- If looking to lighten certain areas on your skin, you can choose to do this everyday or 3 times a week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Once your desired skin tone is reached, you may wish to maintain it by repeating the process on a routine basis.
- If looking to brighten your skin, this can be done once a week, bi-monthly, once a month or simply when your skin needs a boost.
- For face lightening: I recommend that you do not apply this more than 3 times a week, as your facial skin is more sensitive than your body, and you can over exfoliate resulting in dry skin.
This is a three part method, but you can choose to use one, two or all aspects.
Part 1: Exfoliate with Pure Baking Soda
- Pure Baking Soda is sodium based, pH neutralizing, gentle exfoliant
- It will help to loosen the dead skin cells and prep the skin for the next steps
- Create a paste, usually 2:1 baking soda to water ratio works
- Gently massage the paste on the darkened skin areas for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity, and rinse off
- Bonus: Since it is pH neutralizing, this exfoliant can help with acne and should not cause any irritation
- NOTE: Since Pure Baking Soda is essentially salt, please take caution if you are on a strict low sodium health regimen, and while you will only be applying it for a couple minutes at most, what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body
- NOTE: Exfoliate only once a day with the Baking Soda paste
- FOR FACE: Do not apply to face for more than 30 seconds – avoiding the eye area, and at most once a day, 3 times a week
Part 2: Apply Lemon Juice or Papaya on clean, exfoliated skin
- Apply an antioxidant- vitamin rich – alpha hydroxy acid, like lemon juice or papaya
- Alpha hydroxy acid rich fruits, like lemon and papaya, naturally exfoliate skin
- They also fight free radicals and help with new skin cell growth and turnover
- Lemons, rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, help lighten skin
- Papayas, which contain an enzyme call papain, help with hyperpigmentation
- Slice fresh lemon or papaya (removing seeds) and rub slices over skin, coating the areas with the juice
- 100% Lemon Juice from concentrate on a cotton pad/square/ball can be substituted
- Allow to sit and dry on skin for 10 minutes, no more than 20 minutes, rinse with luke warm water
- For very dark problem areas or spots, apply slices directly onto area and leave for no more than 10 minutes and rinse with luke warm water
- If using papaya, it may help to dice and create a pulp
- Remember, this is an acid treatment, meaning your skin can dry out if you fail to properly moisturize
- NOTE: When treating with an alpha hydroxy acid always use an SPF lotion, as your skin is more sensitive
- NOTE: Apply no more than twice a day, and if you have sensitive skin, opt for using a diluted lemon juice
- FOR FACE: Avoid eye area, leaving juice or pulp on skin for no more than 15 minutes then rinse with luke warm water
Part 3: Use oil to lock in moisture, brighten, help with skin renewal and anti-aging
- Oil is a great option for locking in moisture, and keeping skin soft and supple
- It also helps in loosening dead skin cells, as opposed to a regular moisturizer
- Antioxidant rich oils help against free radicals, sun-damage, and helping with anti-aging and skin tone
- Massage the oil into all your skin, concentrating on the darker and more drying areas, up to 3 times a day
- Remember to choose a light, gentle, non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) oils
- I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate on my face nightly and Neutrogena Body Oil
- I also recommend Grapeseed and Evening Primrose oils, both of which I use/have used in the past and loved
- NOTE: Using oil does not make your skin more oily, in fact it has the opposite effect and can help resolve oily skin
- FOR FACE: Oil is usually applied in the evening for your face. Using 2 to 4 drops of oil is enough for the face and you can apply your normal nightly moisturizer after a few minutes.
There you have it… A LOT of info, but I hope it helps. Oh…and remember, fundamentally, 2 of these steps are salt and acid – so take precautions if you have cuts, sores or any type of unhealed wound – it will sting! Pass the info on to those you know who could benefit from this – no one should have to feel insecure about this issue :)
Oh and of course, remember good hydration – drinking plenty of water – is the best option for keeping your skin healthy!