How to lighten skin isn’t quite as easy a question to answer as the counterpart, how to darken the skin. If you want to be a toastier shade, you can go outside and tan, or stay in a bed and apply a tan in a bottle.
But what about undoing those effects? Is that the goal of skin lightening? This crash course on how to get lighter skin should hopefully answer your questions and ensure you stay safe while treating your skin.
What Is Skin Lightening?
Skin lightening refers to phasing out discoloration, reducing the appearance of scars, dark spots, and other persistent blemishes caused by an excess of melanin.
It is meant to result in a brighter, more even complexion where the skin is treated. Natural skin lightening should clear things up without really affecting your natural skin tone.
Methods for how to lighten skin go by many names such as lightening, bleaching, and whitening. They may all seem to be the same treatment., but in some cases, bleaching and whitening may actually refer to products and procedures meant to lighten your skin beyond its original shade.
Getting permanently fairer skin isn’t possible without more potent, even toxic, ingredients though. This risks hazardous side effects and irreversible damage.
Look for the terms “natural skin bleaching” or “natural skin whitening” if unsure. Products with more natural ingredients -- versus corticosteroids or hydroquinone -- should be less aggressive and will only be effective with continued use, even if they could theoretically lighten skin past its original shade.
How Does Skin Lightening Work?
Different skin lightening methods work their magic in different ways.
Many natural ways to lighten skin work similarly to tanning lotions but in reverse. They affect and manipulate the outer layers of the skin. Some ingredients act as exfoliants while others have natural bleaching properties and vitamins that fight damage. Together, they help shed older skin cells, then lighten and brighten the remaining layer of skin underneath.
Some all-natural skin lighteners function the same way blended lightening creams do-- by slowing or inhibiting the production of melanin.
Although melanin is behind all organic pigmentation, too much of it causes hyperpigmentation. You may find your skin hyperpigmented after sun damage, hormone imbalance, or due to a skin condition. It’s generally harmless, but as cosmetically irritating as any other blemish you’d want to fade out.
Specialized cells called melanocytes produce and deliver melanin, and create the enzyme tyrosinase. Without activating tyrosinase, melanin can’t get made.
How to lighten dark skin is to simply deactivate some instances of that enzyme.
How to Lighten Skin
To lighten facial blemishes and body discoloration is easy with the right tools. You can try home remedies to lighten skin or purchase a skin lightening product, available as serums and creams.
It might be preferable to start with DIY skin lightening because you’ll know and recognize each ingredient in contact with your skin. If you’d rather bring out the big guns immediately, seek products that utilize organic acids and natural compounds, plus balance things out with moisturization and lots of nutrients.
Gold Mountain Beauty’s Skin Lightening Cream with Collagen uses the natural alternative alpha-arbutin, not hydroquinone, to inhibit tyrosinase enzymes and reduce melanin. Meanwhile, added collagen will increase the skin’s ability to repair itself over time.
Whatever you choose, just do the research and be diligent in your application for the best results.
How to Naturally Lighten Skin
Are you interested in how to naturally lighten skin? These household grocery items can be used to lighten skin and brighten the face naturally.
Natural Ways to Lighten Skin
Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar:
Lemons are the original go-to for how to whiten skin naturally. Lemons bleach naturally and are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants known to help fight UV damage.
Conversely, however, lemon juice can sometimes damage sensitive skin, so you may want to substitute it with apple cider vinegar. While still acidic, it is less so, and though lacking vitamin C, apple cider vinegar is also a known skin lightening agent.
Baking soda cannot be used on the skin alone, but diluted and mixed it exfoliates, bleaches, and works in an astringent manner (like lemon juice) to tighten skin.
Potatoes are superpowered food. The starch and sugar exfoliate, and there are vitamins B6, C, zinc, and potassium to reduce blemishes and create a rejuvenating, healthy skin treatment. And potatoes -- juiced, sliced, or grated -- are mild enough to be used every day if you wanted to blow through potatoes like that.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and like potatoes, it’s full of beneficial compounds -- especially vitamin C. Our bodies can’t absorb much, and it is prone to staining, so just add a dash to whatever skin lightening mixture you make.
Papaya can simply be mashed into a paste and applied to the skin. The fruit exfoliates, lightens, and moisturizes, as well as fights acne.
Milk, Yogurt, Honey, Aloe Vera:
These may help lighten skin by themselves, but make excellent additions to the other listed ingredients. They’re good for the skin in their own right and moisturize, soothe, soften, and refresh.
DIY Skin Lightening
DIY skin lightening should be repeated a few times a week, not every day (except for our superhero, potatoes), and will only require small quantities of the ingredients. A couple of tablespoons or teaspoons of each (much less of turmeric) will be enough to create a face mask or paste that can be applied to armpit, chest, or wherever your problem area is.
Here are a few combinations for home remedies to lighten skin, not including plain old dilutions with water. Apply only to a clean face and let sit between 10 and 20 minutes before gently rinsing off.
- Milk + Lemon Juice/Apple Cider Vinegar + Honey (Bonus, + Turmeric)
- Turmeric + Apple Cider Vinegar + Honey
- Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Honey
- Papaya + Yogurt
- Aloe Vera + Lemon Juice + Turmeric
Risks of Skin Lightening
Knowing how to whiten skin naturally won’t prevent every problem. Any skin-lightening puts you at increased risk for damage from sun exposure since melanin is protective, and you will be stripping your skin of its melanin supply.
Add sunscreen to your face routinely, even for minimal time outside, or make sure to cover the skin being treated.
Other than that, specifics are dependent on the type of skin lightening you undergo. It’s still important to know how to bleach skin naturally because the associated risks are lesser compared to chemical bleaching.
- Mild skin irritation -- slight redness or sensitivity
- Some solutions can cause dry skin and its associated issues -- flaking, cracking
- A worse adverse reaction like itching, inflammation, rash
These can generally and easily be combated by testing any blend beforehand on a small patch of skin, and properly diluting harsh and acidic ingredients with water or soothing ingredients. If you have a moderate to a severe reaction, it’s best to stop the use of the mixture or product immediately.
Where to Find Natural Skin Lightening Products
Now that you’re all studied up, you may be wondering how to get lighter skin naturally without having to do all this mixing and preparations. Where are the pre-made natural skin lighteners hiding?
Gold Mountain Beauty is one resource.
There is a multitude of similar options online, where it’s easier to tailor results. Always read the ingredients list, and if possible, look into the product’s country of origin. Not all regulations are created equally.
But now that you know how to lighten your skin naturally, you’ll never be left wanting.