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25 Ways to Lighten Your Skin Using Homemade Remedies and Treatments

Possessing beautiful and flawless skin is a constant struggle against the numerous factors that threaten its very existence. From harmful UV radiation to stress, poor diet to pollution, hormonal changes to health issues and other skin stressors, you will be lucky if all you managed to escape with is an unbalanced skin tone; most people have to contend with ugly dark marks, scars and other forms of skin blemishes.

Beauty products may have you fooled you for a while; until you realize that many of them are laced with dangerous chemicals that cause more harm than good in the long run. Fortunately, you still have a safer route that has been proven to work since time immemorial; the good old natural skin lightening!

We have compiled a whopping 25 ways to lighten your skin using homemade remedies and treatments. You have no excuse to stay dull and blemished; you have an escape route!

How Homemade Skin Lightening Remedies Work

Natural remedies work without harmful side effects but it is only normal to wonder what they do to your skin to be able to produce such excellent results. Here’s is just an overview of how they work; we have given more details while covering each.

  • Controlling over-production of melanin, the pigment responsible for darkening of the skin
  • Exfoliating the skin to reveal newer, lighter skin
  • Brightening the skin tone
  • Enhancing the skin renewal process to get rid of old and dull skin cells
  • Fighting off free radicals responsible for causing skin damage
  • Hydrating your skin to keep it supple and soft
  • Fighting inflammation that can lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Note: These home remedies are used in form of masks, scrubs or massage oils/lubricants

How To Lighten Your Skin At Home:

Below are numerous remedies that you can try at home with some overnight success;

Masks

1. Aloe Vera and Rice flour Mask

Aloe Vera gel contains 96-97% water, making it perfect for hydrating your skin. Its cool nature and anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe redness and itchiness in your skin.  Besides this, it is rich in aloesin, a compound that inhibits melanin production. Rice has been used for ages to fight aged skin, sun spots, blemishes, and fine lines. The flour also helps to absorb excess oil and gently exfoliate your skin.

Ingredients

  • Fresh Aloe Vera leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of rice flour

How to Use

Cut out one of the outside layers of the Aloe Vera leaf to reveal the fleshy gel in the centre. Dip it into the rice flour and rub your face gently for a few minutes. Rinse with warm then cool water and pat dry. Moisturize your skin. Do this every other night on all skin types

Note: Aloe Vera gel can also be used on its own as a mask; generously apply onto your skin and leave for 30-40 minutes then rinse and moisturize.

2. Turmeric, Yoghurt and Orange Juice mask

Turmeric is loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial abilities. These come in handy in fighting many skin conditions. When you want to lighten your skin or give it a glow, curcumin, turmeric’s main active ingredient kicks in to inhibit melanogenesis. This is further enhanced by lactic and citric acids in yoghurt and orange juice respectively.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • Half a cup of plain yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice

How to Use

Thoroughly mix the ingredients into a thick paste and apply onto cleansed and exfoliated skin. Use on face and neck and leave it on for up to 1 hour. Wash it off, pat your skin dry and moisturize. Do this one or twice weekly on all skin types for great results.

3. Papaya and Honey Mask

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps in exfoliating your skin, hence enhancing skin renewal and restoration. Honey on the other hand is packed with anti-bacterial, antiseptic and antioxidant properties which help cleanse and protect your skin.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of mashed fresh papaya
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

How to Use

Add honey to the papaya paste and mix well. Apply the mixture to cleansed face and leave on for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm, then cold water and pat dry. Use this daily, at bedtime on oily or normal skin.

Note: Do a patch test before using papain as it is known to cause allergic reactions on some people.

4. Almond and Whole Milk Mask

Almonds are rich in vitamins and essential oils which are responsible for smooth, glowing skin. They also contain mandelic acid which is a form of AHA with antibacterial, anti-aging and skin exfoliating properties. When used on your skin, almond powder gets rid of dull blemished skin to expose newer and lighter skin cells.

Whole milk contains vitamins and fats which are great for your skin’s health. It also cleanses your skin and absorbs excess sebum.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of Almond powder (you can also get whole almonds and make your own powder)
  • A splash of raw whole milk

How to Use

Mix the almond powder and milk into a thick paste. For spot treatments, leave overnight but for a face mask, leave n for 30-60 minutes and then rinse off. You can use the mixture every other day for as long as you need it.

5. Coconut and Rose Water Face Toner

Coconut water produces an anti-aging effect on the skin by allowing the skin to restore and repair better. This is enabled by proteins that encourage cell growth. The effect diminishes the appearance of dark spots. Additionally, the water hydrates and cleanses your skin. This, combined with the anti-inflammatory and pH balancing effects of rose water make the perfect skin toner.

Ingredients

  • Rose water
  • Coconut water
  • Purified water

How to Use

Mix equal parts of rose and coconut water. Add just a splash of water to make the mixture thinner. Put in a clean sanitized spray bottle and shake vigorously to mix. Apply after you wash your face before your lotion. Because of its goodness and gentleness, the mixture can be applied to any type of skin even several times daily.

6. Gram Flour and Rosewater/Yoghurt Mask

Gram flour is packed with antimicrobial properties which make it great at protecting your skin from infection. It has been used by generations as part of beauty routines due to its ability to deeply cleanse skin, leaving with natural glow. It can either be used alone or paired with a host of other ingredients like rose water or yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of gram flour
  • 2 teaspoons of rose water or yoghurt

How to Use

Mix gram flour with rose water if you have oily or normal skin and yoghurt if your skin is dry. Stir thoroughly into a smooth paste and apply liberally onto your face. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes then rinse with warm water. Repeat this 2-3 times weekly at bed time.

Note: Rose water can make dry skin drier, hence the provision for yoghurt

7. Sandalwood Powder, Almond and Milk Mask

Sandalwood is rich in skin healing and nourishing properties. Besides leaving your skin glowing, smooth and blemish free, it is also a known tyrosinase inhibitor, a property that comes in handy in skin lightening. Add this to the amazing goodness of almond powder and milk and you are set.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of sandalwood powder
  • 1 tablespoon of almond powder
  • Enough milk for a thick paste

How to Use

Mix the ingredients and stir to make a thick paste. Apply generously on a clean face and leave it for about 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and moisturize your skin. Use the paste on any skin type 2-3 times per week.

Note: If you have never used sandalwood on your skin, do a patch test on your forearm first. If there is no reaction in 24 hours, go ahead and use it on your face as well.

8. Pumpkin, Honey and Milk Mask

A pumpkin is packed with enzymes, AHAs and vitamins. The enzymes and the acids help in boosting cell turnover. Vitamins A and C keep your skin soft and smooth and also boost collagen production which keeps aging at bay. The benefits of milk and honey as explained earlier cannot be underestimated.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons mashed pumpkin
  • Half teaspoon honey
  • Half teaspoon milk

How to Use

Take the pumpkin- you can make this by boiling pieces of pumpkin until soft then mashing or blending into a puree. Mix with the honey and milk into a thick paste and apply onto your face and leave for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. You can do this up to 3 times in a week before going to bed. The mask suits all skin types.

Note: If you are allergic to dairy products, use rosewater instead of milk.

9. Citrous, Egg white and Sour Cream Mask

Grapefruit and lemon are rich in citric acid which not only cleanses the skin but also acts as natural bleach and an astringent. The proteins in egg whites have microbial properties and also tighten your pores. The lactic acid in sour cream exfoliates your skin while the fat moisturizes it.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grape juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons fatty sour cream

How to Use

Mix the sour cream, grape juice and lemon juice in one bowl. Whisk the egg white in another bowl until it becomes fluffy. Mix them completely and apply onto your face generously. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. This should be done on oily, combination and normal skin for up to 3 times in a week.

Note: If you have a dry skin, you can still use the mixture but be sure to moisturize well afterwards as it can have a drying effect.

10. Potato Juice Mask

Potatoes are full of minerals like magnesium and potassium, antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin C. While the antioxidants help to protect your skin from environmental damage, the acidic vitamin C helps to lighten your skin. Potatoes also exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead skin and blemishes. This helps to balance out your skin tone.

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato

How to Use

Cut the potato into thin slices. Lay back and put the slices on your skin. Rub in circular motions to spread the potato juice onto your entire face. Once you had enough, leave it on for 15 minutes then rinse it off. Alternatively, you can juice the potato and apply the juice. Do this 3 times in a week.

Note: Potato juice can dry your skin a bit so when you use it be sure to moisturize accordingly

11. Clay Mask

Different types of clay have been used for various skin care benefits for centuries. In particular, Fuller’s Earth or Multani Mitti in Hindi has been used for its mild skin lightening abilities. It helps in getting rid of excess oil from your skin hence drying up acne. Additionally, it helps in balancing out your skin’s pH.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons of Fuller’s Earth
  • Water
  • Lavender essential oil

How to Use

Put the clay in a non-metallic container and slowly add water to make a thick paste. Stop putting water and stir the paste until it has a nice texture. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Smear the paste generously onto your face and give it about 20 minutes. Rinse it off with warm water and repeat this once in a week.

12. Clay, Orange Peel Powder and Yoghurt Mask

Facial blemishes cannot resist the skin lightening abilities of fuller’s earth and orange peel powder combined. The exfoliating power of yoghurt finishes off the look, leaving your skin looking smooth and lighter

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons clay
  • 2 tablespoons orange peel powder
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt

How to Use

Combine all the ingredients to form a thick paste. Apply on you face and let is rest for about 20 minutes so that it dries completely. Rinse off with cold water. Repeat this every week for great results.

13. Blueberry / Greek Yoghurt Mask

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that fight off free radicals which damage your skin. They are also rich in vitamin C which is a natural skin lightener. To add on to this goodness, you can combine the berries with some plain Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Half cup plain Greek yoghurt

How to Use

Mash the blueberries into a pulp using a fork. Add the yoghurt and thoroughly mix the two. Spread the mixture onto your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes then wash off. Do this at bed time for up to 2 times in a week.

Warning:

Potentially tasty and can be eaten if you lack willpower!

Note: Blueberry can cause allergies in some individuals or cause staining of the skin if left on the skin for too long. Do a patch test before and observe for 24 hours before applying onto your face.

14. Rice flour and Milk Mask

Rice is a good source of vitamin B which helps in formation of new cell. Rice flour also absorbs excess oil from your face and fights the effects of UV radiation. Milk helps in soothing and nourishing your skin. This is the perfect mixture for UV induced darkening of the skin.

Ingredients

  • Half cup raw rice
  • 4 tablespoons milk

How to Use

Grind the rice into fine flour and mix with milk into a thick paste. Smear the paste onto your face and neck and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. The treatment can be done 2-3 times weekly on all skin types.

Note: If you are allergic to dairy, you can replace milk with rosewater or plain water.

​15. Tomato, Lemon juice and Almond flour Mask

You can tap into the goodness of tomatoes without mixing them with anything. The host of vitamins in tomatoes and especially vitamin C help in boosting collagen production and lightening your skin while the antioxidants keep skin stressors away. Collagen goes a long way in healing acne scars and other forms of scarring. However, when you boost the vitamin C with lemon juice and finish off with almond flour and you are set to deal with the pesky blemishes.

Ingredients

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to Use

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high power to ensure that the paste is very smooth. Use a foundation brush to generously apply the smoothie all over you face. Give it up to 30 minutes before rinsing off with cold water. Use for up to 2 times in a week on all skin types.

Note: An ultra sensitive skin might be an exception as the smoothie might be harsh on your skin. Instead of lemon juice, use a little warm water and only do the mask one in a week.

Related Reading:

16. Cucumber, Oatmeal and Honey Mask

What come to your mind when you think of a cucumber? Water? A cucumber contains 96 percent water and that means plenty of hydration for your skin. Besides this, a cucumber carries vitamins, amino acids and a host of other properties that your skin could do with. More importantly in this case, skin lightening and revitalizing abilities. To add exfoliation and nourish your skin even more. You can combine it with oatmeal and honey.

Ingredients

  • Half a cup of pureed cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons of oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

How to use

Mix the ingredients thoroughly and apply the mixture on your face liberally. Leave it on for 15 minutes then wash off with cold water. Additionally, put thinly cut cucumber slices on your closed eyes to get rid of dark circles and puffiness. You can do this 2-3 times weekly on any skin type.

17. Peppermint, Banana and Lemon Juice Mask

Peppermint has been used for long in treating respiratory, digestive and menstrual problems. It is also widely used in skin care owing to its antiseptic and antimicrobial nature. However, the discovery of its ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity and the fact that it can enhance cell regeneration to form newer, lighter cells makes it a great ingredient for skin lightening especially in combination with other ingredients.

Ingredients

  • A handful of fresh peppermint leaves
  • 1 ripe medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to Use

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend into a smoothie. Apply onto your face and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Rinse of and do it twice weekly for success.

18. Strawberry, Vitamin E oil and Honey Face Mask

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, an effective skin lightening ingredient and AHAs that are great at exfoliating and cleansing your skin. Vitamin E oil on the other hand is rich in antioxidants and the ability to moisturize your skin and repair it by generating new cells. It is also known to lighten discoloured skin. Honey comes in handy with moisturizing properties.

Ingredients

  • Several pieces of strawberries
  • 1 capsule of vitamin E oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

How to use

Blend the strawberries into a smooth paste, put it into a bowl and add the other ingredients. Apply the mixture onto your face and let it sit for some time. Once it dries, rinse it off and repeat once in a week till you see desired results.

Scrubs

19. Yoghurt and Dried Orange peels scrub

One of the constituents of yoghurt is lactic acid, an alpha hydroxyl acid which gently exfoliates your skin by dissolving dead skin cells. This diminishes discolouration and makes your skin glow. Additionally, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Orange peels on the other hand contain vitamin C which is a powerful depigmenting agent.

Ingredients

  • Orange peels
  • 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt

How to Use

Dry the orange peels in the sun until they are crisp enough to be ground. Grind them into powder and mix 1 tablespoon with the yogurt. Cleanse your face and apply the paste. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse using warm water. Repeat the procedure every other day until you get desired results. The mask suits all skin types.

20. Coffee, Brown sugar and Oil Scrub

Coffee is full of antioxidants that protect your skin from your skin fungal, viral and bacterial infections. It also helps to exfoliate, rejuvenate and brighten. This, coupled with the exfoliation abilities of brown sugar and the moisturization from the oil can help lighten your skin.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of your favourite oil e.g. olive, coconut or almond
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

How to Use

Mix the coffee and the brown sugar first then add the oil to make a paste. Apply on your face and massage in circular motions. Rinse using warm water. Repeat once in week for as long as you need it. The scrub works for all skin types.

21. Yoghurt, Oatmeal and Tomato Scrub

Oatmeal is armed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are great for healing skin. It also soaks up excess oil, cleanses your skin and unclogs your pores using compounds called saponins. The properties combine well with lycopene and vitamins A, B and C in tomatoes, and Lactic acid in yoghurt to give your skin the treatment that it deserves.

Ingredients

  • Tomato paste
  • Teaspoon of oatmeal
  • Teaspoon of plain yoghurt

How to Use

Put the oatmeal into a bowl, add the tomato paste and the yoghurt. Mix into a paste and apply on cleansed skin. Let it sit for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water. Use the mask 2-3 times in a week for oily, normal and combination skin.

22. Baking Soda Scrub

Baking soda helps to gently exfoliate your skin hence getting rid of the darkened dead skin to reveal lighter skin. It also kills the bacteria on the skin’s surface, leaving your skin healthy. Several drops of lemon juice can boost the whitening ability.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons baking soda
  • Water

How to Use

Mix the baking soda and the water to make a paste. Apply the paste on areas of your skin that you want to lighten and scrub in circular motions for a few minutes. Rinse with water and moisturize. Do this every day for a week for great results. The scrub suits all skin types.

Note: Do not use it on sensitive skin

23. Grapefruit and Sugar Scrub

Grapefruit is rich in vitamin A, B and C, minerals and antioxidants that work well when you consume it as well as when you put some on your skin. Unless there is layer of dead skin to stand in the way; but then there’s sugar. It might not be the best option for your waist but it’s definitely worth trying on your skin. Its small particles excellently exfoliate dead surface skin cells.

Ingredients

  • Half grapefruit
  • Pure cane sugar

How to Use

Take the half grapefruit and dip the pulpy side into the cane sugar. Press on skin moistened using warm water or coconut oil and gently rub all over your face but avoid the eyes. Rinse off with warm water and then splash with cool water. Dab your face and apply a heavy moisturizer as the scrub can dry your face.

Note: For dry skin, add coconut, almond or olive oil to keep your skin from drying too much.

​Massages

24. Milk and Lemon Massage

Milk is not only armed with natural skin bleaching properties but it is also supplies your skin with nutrients to keep it healthy and youthful looking. A few drops of lemon can enhance the skin lightening properties of your massage.

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons raw milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

How to Use

Mix the ingredients and gently massage your skin using circular motions coupled with upward and downward strokes. Rinse your skin with plain water after the massage. Do this up to 3 times weekly on any skin type.

Note: If your skin is acne prone, milk can aggravate the situation so you should be careful

25. Essential Oils Massage

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic oils obtained from plants. They are used for a host of therapeutic and cosmetic benefits, including skin lightening.

Due to their high concentrations, they are capable of causing allergic reactions. It is therefore important to use them properly and in the right proportions. Also, whenever you are trying any, you should do a patch test.

The following essential oils can help you to lighten your skin;

1.  Rose Essential oil

Rose oil is pleasantly scented. It moisturizes your skin and gets rid of acne, wrinkles and scars to leave your skin supple and soft. Additionally, is has skin lightening abilities.

How to use

Mix a cup of chilled milk with 10 drops of rose essential oil and apply all over your body. Wash it with water after a few minutes and do this daily for several days. The treatment works on all skin types.

2. Neroli Essential oil

Neroli oil is extracted from the flowers of Citrus Aurantium or bitter orange. It is packed with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory and skin lightening properties. It also helps in balancing the amount of sebum in your skin. These properties make it perfect for oily and acne prone skin.

How to Use

Mix a few drops of neroli oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, preferably jojoba for oily skin or your favourite for any skin type. Massage onto your skin and leave for 15-20 minutes before wiping with a damp cloth or cotton pad. Repeat every day for several days until you see desired effects.

3. Sweet Orange Essential oil

Orange essential oil is derived from orange peels. It comes loaded with anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It boosts collagen production which in turn deals with signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots.

How to Use

Blend 3-4 drops of orange essential oil with an equal amount of jojoba or coconut oil. Massage the blend on affected area and leave it on for a few minutes before washing it off with warm water. Repeat for 1-2 weeks for desired results. This works for all skin types.

4. Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil comes from the lemon fruit. It is a gold mine of skin care benefits due to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antibacterial and antioxidant benefits. It is considered the best in skin lightening due to high content of natural bleaches; limonene and citric acid.

How to Use

Mix 3-4 drops of lemon oil with 1 tablespoon of your favourite carrier oil or water and massage on your skin for a few minutes. Wash it off with water or wipe with a damp cotton cloth. Repeat daily for about a week or until you get desire results. The massage is great for all skin types.

Note: Lemon oil can make your skin photosensitive; you should therefore avoid exposure to sunlight immediately after treatment.

Tips to Beautiful Flawless Skin

If you do not take care of your skin, no amount of treatments or remedies will help you. You may invest a lot of time, energy and patience treating it, only to water down your efforts through poor skin care habits.

There is actually a lot you can do to either keep your skin healthy or help to maintain and lengthen the effects of these natural remedies. Below are some skin care routines you should have adopted like yesterday.

  • Cleansing your skin to get rid of dirt build-up. Better yet, you can clean your skin according to type.
  • Exfoliating your skin using gentle scrubs 2-3 times a week to get rid of dead and dull skin
  • Don’t rub your facial and neck skin dry, instead, use a soft towel to pat it dry
  • Moisturize your skin especially when it is still damp to seal in moisture.
  • Wear sunscreen of an SPF of at least 30 whether it is sunny or cloudy- UV rays can age and damage your skin
  • Use a toner to balance your skin’s pH and tighten your pores
  • Don’t wear makeup to bed, it can clog your pores and lead to acne
  • Have your own makeup and makeup tools and don’t share, it sounds selfish but you will be safe
  • Eat and sleep for your skin- enough sleep keeps off dark circles, fine lines and dark skin while proper nutrition keeps it healthy and glowing
  • If you have sensitive skin, keep off products that contain fragrances, preservatives and other ingredients that affect your skin

Are there Foods that Can Help you with Skin Lightening?

Whatever you put into your stomach, your skin displays it out there. In as much as you will have to put effort to topically lighten your skin, having some inside out help will go a long way. That said, the following foods can help in your skin lightening efforts.

  • Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, broccoli, lemons, tomatoes etc.
  • Oily fish like tuna and salmon provide you with biotin whose deficiency can lead to flaky skin
  • Foods rich in vitamin E like avocados, sunflower seeds and almonds
  • Complex carbs like quinoa, beans and brown rice instead of white flour and processed foods that can cause acne flare-ups
  • Foods that detox your body like raw vegetables, fruits and green tea
  • Carotenoids like carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes provide antioxidant properties and improve your skin’s tone.

Bottom Line

There you go! You don’t have to endure uncomfortable treatments or even risk your health trying to lighten your skin; you can use easily accessible, natural and safe ingredients to achieve this right at the comfort of your home.

Like every natural treatment, these remedies will not give you instant results. However, with patience and consistency, you might just get that skin that you so much desire.

What's your favourite "go-to" skin lightening DIY mask? Leave your recipes in the comments, please!

About:

sonia knight

Sonia Knight is the founder of be:skinformed.

Apart from having her own experience with hyperpigmentation, Sonia has gained vast knowledge in the dermatology field. For more info on this, check out our about us page.
  • Mary says:

    Great list! Can I use the paste you get from rice flower and milk on my legs and hands as well yea? And do you think adding turmeric could improve the effectivness?

    • Sonia Knight says:

      Hi Mary

      Thanks for getting in touch 🙂

      Yes, adding turmeric can add an extra glow to your skin so feel free to “spice it up”

      We have only included 1 turmeric recipe here but we might expand the article in the future to add even more as turmeric is a very effective ingredient!

      Best regards,
      Sonia

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