Oh, those frustrating brown spots, also known as sun spots, and dark patches that seemingly appear out of nowhere and make your complexion look uneven. Overexposure to the sun, aging, hormones, and even some medications, including birth control pills can bring them on. Patchy, dark skin pigmentation is one of the most common skin problems dermatologists see.
You may be tempted to buy a skin lightening cream at the drugstore or a prescription-based one from your doctor, but don’t do it. Most of these skin lightening products contain a controversial ingredient called hydroquinone. The FDA is reviewing this medication due to studies linking it with cancer in animals. Why take a chance with your health?
The safest approach to lightening those dark areas is to use natural skin lighteners, which are probably already in your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. Did you know yogurt contains lactic acid, a weak acid that lightens dark pigmentation? You’ve probably heard of people putting lemon juice on their hair to lighten it, but the natural acids in lemon juice can also lighten your skin. Plus, when you use ingredients like these you don’t have to worry about side effects as you do with hydroquinone-based products. Isn’t your skin already exposed to enough chemicals? Skip the synthetic stuff.
Here’s a recipe for a natural skin lightening mask you can make at home:
Did you know lemon juice is also rich in vitamin C, another ingredient that can lighten your skin over time? Don’t expect results quickly. It may take several months of using this mask regularly to fade those dark areas.
One way to speed things up is to nourish your skin with vitamin C from the inside. Research shows vitamin C not only improves the appearance of facial fine lines and wrinkles by boosting collagen production – it is a depigmenting agent, meaning it blocks the production of the skin pigment melanin that causes those discolored areas. The problem with using it topically by applying it to the skin is vitamin C is very unstable and breaks down when exposed to light.
Liposomal Vitamin C is a special form of vitamin C you take by mouth. Unlike standard oral vitamin C supplements that break down when they encounter the acid environment of the stomach, liposomal vitamin C is protected by a layer of lipids that helps it pass safely through the stomach where it’s absorbed into the bloodstream after reaching the small intestines. Soon, vitamin C is on its way to every cell in your body, including your skin cells.
Now you have a dual approach to conquering those darkly pigmented areas, both of which are natural – a skin lightening mask and Liposomal Vitamin C. Don’t forget to wear a sunscreen to prevent further sunspots and skin darkening.
Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143-146.doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.110593. Photo: courtesy of rapidhomeremedies.com