When it comes to improving your skin tone, wishing on a star won’t get you anywhere. If you struggle with blotchy, uneven skin, freckles, dark spots, old acne scars and discoloration anywhere on your face and body, it can seem like an uphill battle to get your skin nice and even looking.
In winter time as your skin lightens, you may have noticed that this helps your complexion look more even toned. Aha! So, how do we lighten our skin even more? There are good and bad ways to go about it.
Does Sun Damage cause Hyperpigmentation?
The most important thing you want to do is to avoid sun exposure of any kind. That means wearing SPF every single day without skipping, even when the weather is partly cloudy or it’s winter. The sun’s rays still peek through even if they are not at their strongest, so don’t be fooled.
Why avoid the sun? Well, it’s simple. The sun triggers melanin production in your skin. Melanin is a pigment that makes skin appear darker. Usually when we think of melanin, we think of getting a nice bronze tan on vacation. But for some people, melanin can be concentrated in certain areas of the skin more than others, leading to a blotchy appearance and dark spots.
The sun is also a primary cause of aging. Researchers estimate that the sun is responsible for 80 percent of all skin aging. Can you believe it? Liver spots, or age spots, can begin to develop on your face and hands, leading to a haggard appearance that’s anything but youthful.
Early research has also linked age spots on the face and body to pollution. Adding antioxidants to both your skincare routine and diet can help bolster your body’s defense mechanisms to fight free radicals caused by pollution and environmental stresses. City dwellers are most at risk, having the highest likelihood of age spots. Take care to protect your skin.
Now that we’ve talked about some preventive measures, let’s discuss how to lighten skin that’s already become dark and discolored. After all, that’s probably why you found yourself reading this article! There are many things you can do to help lighten your skin tone and achieve a more even-toned complexion.
Lighten Skin at Home with Chemical Exfoliation
First up is gentle chemical exfoliants. No, we’re not talking anything radical that would eat away layers of skin. Mild daily exfoliants from fruit acids and natural ingredients can break up the glue that holds dead, dry skin cells on your skin’s surface, lifting them away gradually so that you are left with the light, healthy skin underneath that hasn’t ever been exposed to the sun yet.
We love Papaya Enzyme, an alpha hydroxy acid that gently buffs skin. It is mild enough for sensitive skin, yet it is effective for lightening tanned complexions. Papaya fruit is not only delicious, but it is hailed as one of the world’s best natural exfoliants. Try a soap bar formulated with Papaya Enzyme. This is the easiest way to add it into your skincare routine because you use soap in the shower anyway, which means you don’t even have to add another step to your skin regimen. It’s a no-brainer for skin that needs lightening.
Suds your body and face with it daily in the shower, and you will notice your complexion becoming lighter, brighter and more luminous with time. Other popular chemical exfoliants include salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid), glycolic acid and even raw apple cider vinegar.
Stop Melanin Production Naturally to Lighten Skin
Reducing dark skin is hard when you live in a sunny climate. Even if you wear SPF, it is just screening out some of the sun’s rays, not all of them. Plus, you need to reapply throughout the day. If you have hyperpigmentation, you need a dual approach. This can include daily SPF as well as specialty topicals like Kojic Acid that actually stop melanin from forming. How does it work? Kojic Acid causes your skin to block melanin production because it slows down tyrosine, a natural biochemical found in skin that triggers dark pigment. Brilliant.
How to Lighten Skin Safely
Now that you know the secrets to truly whiter, brighter skin, we should talk about some ingredients you should avoid. When it comes to skin lightening, home remedies abound. You’ll see recommendations to use lemon juice, which is way too strong of an acid for skin and can cause dehydration, which makes skin appear older. Another you’ll see on these lists is baking soda and harsh scrubs like apricot kernels to exfoliate your skin’s surface.
Careful with these. Your skin might feel super smooth after, but the rough texture of the scrub is quite abrasive and can cause micro tears. This not only weakens skin, but it also makes it much more susceptible to acne bacteria and breakouts. If you have scarring and uneven pigmentation along with acne-prone skin, avoid harsh scrubbing in favor of mild exfoliants such as Papaya Enzyme, and try melanin-stopping Kojic Acid to gradually brighten your skin instead. Happy whitening!