How to Lighten Skin Naturally

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Few things are more uplifting than a bright, sunny day. Unfortunately, the rays that lift your mood also damage your skin and lead to age spots and areas of dark pigmentation. What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is your skin even in color or do you have dark patches you’d like to get rid of? Dark spots and patches are especially annoying on your face and arms, the portions of your body everyone sees. Are there ways to lighten those unsightly dark areas and get a more even skin tone?

What Causes Those Unsightly Pigmented Areas?

Dark spots and patches are sometimes called sun spots due to their link with sun exposure. Although overexposure to the sun is the most common cause of dark pigmentation, hormonal imbalances, including pregnancy and taking the birth control pill can also cause them to form. Dark areas of pigmentation also sometimes develop around acne lesions, especially if you pick at them as well as areas where your skin is injured, such as a burn. Dark patches and spots are caused by overproduction of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Regardless of the cause, you probably want them gone – yesterday!

Word of warning – don’t grab the first skin-lightening cream you read about. The best approach to lightening those areas is a natural one. An ingredient in some skin-lightening creams called hydroquinone is under review by the FDA due to links with cancer in rodents. Another reason to stay away from it – it’s associated with a condition called ochronosis, disfiguring discoloration of the skin. Yuck! Fortunately, you have alternatives to lighten those dark areas.

A Natural Approach to Skin Lightening

Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant your body needs but can’t make on its own. You need vitamin C for a variety of reasons – for healthy skin and connective tissues and for immune health. Vitamin C is also rapidly gaining favor among dermatologists as a topical agent due to its anti-aging and skin-lightening properties.

How does vitamin C lighten dark pigmentation? It blocks the activity of skin cells that produce melanin. Unlike skin creams containing hydroquinone, vitamin C is a natural substance your body needs on a daily basis and doesn’t have the scary side effects that hydroquinone has. In fact, topical vitamin C stimulates production of collagen, the tissue that gives your skin support and the ability to resist wrinkling. A double-blind study published in Dermatological Surgery showed topical vitamin C improves the appearance of skin wrinkles more than a placebo. Good news if you want younger-looking skin.

The Bottom Line

Topical vitamin C is a natural approach to lightening dark skin pigmentation and evening out your complexion. Plus, you get the other skin anti-aging benefits vitamin C offers. Enjoy the benefits vitamin C offers – and don’t forget to wear a sunscreen to reduce your risk for future sun spots and pigmentation.

read about other options such as Liposomal Vitamin C

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Hydroquinone Studies Under The National Toxicology Program (NTP)"
J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013 Jan-Mar; 6(1): 4-11.doi:Â 10.4103/0974-2077.110089.
Dermatol Surg. 2002 Mar;28(3):231-6.
Exp Dermatol. 2003 Jun;12(3):237-44.
American Academy of Dermatology. "Variety of options available to treat pigmentation problems"


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