Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings

How to Lighten & Brighten Skin Naturally


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! 

Author: ArtsyArchitette

Artist. Architecture lover! Beauty Nerd. Blogger. Crafty Aficionado. Music Enthusiast. Fashion Fiend. And yes I am like no other, deal with it world ♥ Obsession has such a negative connotation, but it’s true, I am obsessed with creativity and all products that help me create. Beauty products are not excluded from my obsession and while my blog has no distinct topic, all things gorgeous and fashionable will probably be a main focus. Here to share my ever-expanding knowledge, interesting finds and random factoids. P.S. I miss my studio

25 thoughts on “How to Lighten & Brighten Skin Naturally

  1. So, the part where you mention that you shouldn’t do this on your face more than 3 times a week, because over-exfoliating can result in dry skin. Would that apply as well to any beauty routine that includes exfoliating, such as using a face scrub in the shower or things like that?

    • Well, that was said because it included a double exfoliation (the baking soda once a day, plus the lemon juice/papaya up to twice a day – both of these steps exfoliate) to lighten skin.
      Though, yes, you can over exfoliate (stripping your skin), resulting in dry skin.

      Face scrubs should be used with caution. You can use a face scrub, I recommend only once a day and a gentle exfoliant.
      Also, if you choose a physical exfoliant, like a face scrub, take care not to press to hard, you only need to use very light pressure -enough to move the scrub over your skin – and no longer than 30 seconds.
      Also, the ingredients in your face scrub can dry your skin, depending on what they are and your skin’s sensitivity.
      As for the shower, using a face scrub/wash in the shower is a good thing, as the steam/warmth from the shower opens your pores, but remember using HOT water on your skin dries your skin out as well, even though it feels great.

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  3. hi, i love your post it is so very helpful 🙂 thank you for sharing.

    I would like to ask you just one question, are we supposed to do these 3 steps one after the other or at different times of the day? and can i just put moisturizing cream right after i exfoliated or do i need to wait?

    thanks again.

    • Hi Raquel.
      Thank you for commenting and happy to hear you are finding it helpful.

      Yes, all three parts would be done one after the other.
      Exfoliate, Lighten/Brighten, Moisturize.
      If the process is too harsh or drying for you, I would recommend skipping part 1 (exfoliant) ever other time you do the process.

      Yes, unrelated to this process – you would want to moisturize after any type of chemical or physical exfoliating, including hair removal processes like shaving. You want to lock in the moisture in those newly exposed layers of skin, otherwise you are leaving your skin vulnerable to irritation and drying.

      Sam 🙂

  4. Wonderful post!!! smply awsm!! very helpful..suprbly xplaind..
    thnx Artsy! gr8 job..


  5. really nice. .

  6. Hello! I really lovee your post! But I have a quick question. I want to lighten my skin a couple shades, will this work? If not what should I use? Something stronger? I’m Hispanic but I have a deep brown skin tone.

    • Hi Nicole, happy to hear you found it helpful.
      This process can help, but remember it is gradual and works best when you stick to a routine.
      If you do use this – good hydration (your water intake to keep your skin healthy and help with cell turnover) and moisturizing are key. BUT really you want to make sure you’re not gaining anymore color by using SPF daily (no matter what the weather or if you’re mostly indoors), exfoliating gently, but regularly, and keeping out of the sun.
      If you are looking for a stronger/ faster remedy the best thing to do is to seek out a reputable and knowledgeable dermatologist who can offer you prescription/ chemical/ medical product or treatment.

  7. After treating your dark spots, don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Don’t let all the hard work disappear because of the sun. Make sure you get at least SPF30. Preferably wide-spectrum to protect your skin against both UVA and UVB.

  8. I am mixed race and my skin has never been brighter, golden colour. I didnt want to be white, that would look odd, just clearer lighter skin. I use this every other day. I have seen a marked difference and people have said I have the best skin on a guy ever.

    I shave with dove mosturising soap. I use post shaving balm as it is a very intensive moisturiser designed to replenish the skin after shaving. Dont go over board with the Bicarbonate of Soda. 1 min is plenty, its starts to get uncomfortable after 30 seconds. The lemon juice use a girls cotton pad and soak it in the lemon juice, massage on for 10 mins max. The rinse off. I then add turmeric and milk and mix into a paste, massage this on next and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse off 3 times and then finally apply the aftershave balm (unscented).

    The results are spectacular if I do say so myself. Very clear even skin. Golden brown, where people both black, white and mixed say I have a beautiful skin tone. They dont realise that it is part of my every other day routine.

    Obviously do not shave if you are female, but all the other steps will leave you with enviable skin (beyonce tones) within 2 weeks. The best thing is it doesnt cost much. Avoid skin lightening creams, they are too artificial, you will end up with grey wrinkled skin and who wants to look like a pensioner.

  9. Dis is really helpful; my skin gradually turned from light brown to dark brown/chocolate colour. I’d really love to get my natural skin colour,naturally of course. Thanks for the information, will try it a.s.a.p!

  10. Very true. Tried and trusted. Well done!

  11. Very good info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by
    chance (stumbleupon). I’ve bookmarked it for later!

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  18. I use the 3 Berry Serum from Made From Earth – Its moisturizes my 60+ skin and has repaired some of the sun damage I got from not using sun screen for most of my life. It doesn’t leave my face greasy or tacky. I can’t say enough good about it…..

  19. I have been using DermalMD Skin Lighting Serum for 6 weeks now have seen a big improvement. I use it for sunspots on my hand and have seen a significant change and I’m excited to see more change while continuing using this product. I would recommend this product for lightening sunspots.

  20. Great info. Does this method work with the oil cleansing method?

  21. Hi,

    I am naturally a fair colored guy and I live in Asia. Last summers my neck color became dark and my face color turned a bit darker. My body parts which are directly connected with sunlight became dark and I guess it’s due to sunshine.

    I use the lemon juice on my face and neck. I am doing it from 6 days.

    My question is after how many days I will see my face and neck color matching my body color? Roughly after how many days I can see the result?

    Thanks in Advance

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