*This is a guest post from Rowan*
People have been using various natural ingredients to lighten their skin for thousands of years, going back to the Ancient Egyptians.
Some of these homemade remedies work, and produce noticeable results if you’re just looking for a mild change to your skin tone.
You can make your skin lighter without spending a lot of money, or using powerful chemicals, but it won’t happen overnight.
That’s not to say that all homemade remedies are safe, for example in Elizabethan England, women and men used to whiten their skin with Ceruse—a dangerous combination of vinegar and lead.
Queen Elizabeth used so much Ceruse that it ate her skin away, and by the end of her life, she banned the use of face whitening, and also banned mirrors from the palace.
People have done some really crazy things to achieve a lighter skin tone, like swallowing chalk, vinegar, and even arsenic.
Mercury has been used as a skin whitening chemical as well, and even today, there are some disreputable skin whitening companies that still use that in their products, so you have to be careful.
There are some really crazy homemade treatments which you should avoid, like using bleach, or other harsh chemicals like that, but if you stick to using food items, or FDA approved products, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Safe Homemade Skin Lightening Treatments
Lemon juice is probably the most well known skin whitening remedy, and it does work to some degree, due to the active ingredient it contains: vitamin C.
The easiest way to apply this is to soak a small sponge with lemon juice, and wipe it on the area of skin you want to lighten, twice a day, first thing in the morning, and before you go to sleep at night.
Ginger is also known to work as a depigmenting agent, and there are various ways to prepare it. You can just peel the ginger and rub it on your skin, or you can grate it, and mix it with lemon juice, and apply with a sponge or basting brush.
Another way to prepare it would be to mix raw sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and ginger together, which has a natural exfoliating effect, to remove dead layers of skin while also lightening at the same time.
Natural Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is another way to take off the surface layer of skin and reveal the lighter, younger skin cells underneath.
The best way to do a chemical peel is with alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, or kojic acid. These can be found in small amounts in cane sugar, yoghurt, and citrus fruits.
There’s a recipe that I found that combines sugar, yoghurt and pineapple juice to create a mild homemade chemical peel, you just apply it to your face or body with your fingers.
This may work a little, although you’re probably going to get better results by buying a cream with a higher concentration of glycolic acid if you want a really effective chemical peel.
Chemical Skin Whitening Products
If you’re looking for more powerful results, you may need to buy a product that contains serious skin whitening chemicals.
There are many out there, but as I mentioned earlier in this post, you must be very careful not to choose a brand that uses dangerous chemicals in their products.
Many creams contain hydroquinone, which has been shown to have terrible side effects when used over a long period of time.
This chemical is found in some prescription bleaching creams, so it’s not completely safe to trust the recommendation of a doctor, because they might not know what they’re prescribing.
The safest ingredients to look for in a skin whitening product are alpha arbutin, glycolic acid, and sepiwhite FSH. These are all FDA approved chemicals, available in over the counter treatments, and if you have a serious need to bleach your skin, this is what you should use.
The reasons why you might need to use a powerful chemical cream are many, for example you may have hypo-pigmentation, hyper-pigmentation, birthmarks, freckles, scars, etc.
You probably won’t be able to cover up these things with a homemade remedy, so in that case, you should investigate a chemical skin whitening cream, but be sure to do your research carefully, whatever you use on your skin.
Note from V: If you’re looking for a potent, yet gentle-on-the-skin lightening cream, check out Meladerm. It’s our favourite go-to solution for all things skin lightening!
About The Author:
Rowan Casey is a writer and marketing expert working for Tonique Skin Care, a company based in Maryland, USA, that has been producing high quality, safe and effective skin whitening products for many years.