Fade Dark Spots Naturally and Have Even, Luminous Skin
Dark spots on the face are a problem for people of all ages and ethnicities. These overly pigmented blotches can come from sun exposure, trauma (scrapes, bug bites, scars), hormonal changes, acne, and medications. Although brown spots are considered difficult to erase, many people have made this happen by consistently applying sun protection and skin brighteners.
Skin brighteners are available as prescription and over-the-counter compounds, but these can contain unsafe ingredients. Another option is to use skin lighteners from your pantry and refrigerator that are safe enough to eat: horseradish, lemons, and yogurt.
How to use it: Get a pint of cold buttermilk and an ounce of fresh horseradish root. Steep the horseradish in the buttermilk for four hours. Remove the horseradish root. Apply the liquid to the entire face two or three times a day. Put the treatment in a closed container and keep refrigerated.
How it works: The Vitamin C in horseradish slows production of melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigmentation. Another ingredient in horseradish is glucosinolates. Existing only in the mustard family of plants, glucosinolates increase circulation, work as antioxidants, and flush waste from the body.
How to use them: Many cultures use lemons as a folk remedy for dark spots on the skin, so recipes abound. A popular and simple approach is to cut a lemon in half and gently smooth it over the freshly cleaned face. Blot off any excess juice.
How they work: Like horseradish, lemons are a source of Vitamin C. Besides slowing melanin production, the high concentration of Vitamin C in lemons boosts the health and overall beauty of the skin.
How to use it: After washing your face, put on a thin coating of plain, unflavored yogurt. Leave this mask on for 20 minutes; then rinse.
How it works: The naturally occurring lactic acid found in yogurt gently removes dead skin cells. As the discolored skin sloughs off, fresh healthy skin is revealed. While some experts go so far as to suggest that yogurt can fade spots deeper in the skin, others say that yogurt’s lactic acid level is too low. In any case, the fresh skin revealed by the yogurt looks brighter and can better absorb other skin lighteners.
When using any skin lightening approach—whether doctor-supervised or homemade—keep a few points in mind:
- Shield your dark spots from sun exposure. As the old hyperpigmented skin flakes off, the young light skin that takes its place will have less protection from sunlight. Wear a hat, apply antioxidants and sunscreens, and avoid sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Be prepared for gradual progress. Even the most potent prescription treatments may take weeks or months to fade dark spots. The skin has a fairly slow natural timetable for renewal. Eventually your patience and consistency will be rewarded.
- Don’t irritate your skin. The skin on the face—where most dark blotches appear—is thin and often delicate. In general, natural ingredients are safe. Even so, they can irritate the skin if used too aggressively or on sensitive skin types. Keep a close eye on your skin’s reaction to lightening treatments, and ease up if you see any redness or lasting discomfort.
- Be positive! Many people have succeeded in fading their dark blotches, and you can too.
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