1. Milk for Skin Lightening
Milk is a rich source of calcium. Calcium, along with many important functions in our body, also regulates normal skin color. It does so by stimulating melanocytes, the skin cells that produces melanin pigment. Also, when you provide higher calcium content to the upper epidermis of your skin, you help maintain effective barrier against moisture loss. This prevents skin from going dry which can also affect your skin making it darker. Milk also contains lactic acid which reduces skin’s pigmentation making your skin lighter in complexion.
• Milk (preferably cow’s or goat’s milk)- 1 bowl
• Take the bowl of milk and warm it a little. You need just warm milk and not hot.
• Soak your washcloth in this.
• Take out the washcloth and wring it out to discard excessive milk. While the cloth should be fully soaked in milk, it should not drip.
• Now gently rub your skin with this cloth.
• Once the cloth gets dry, soak it again in the milk and repeat the process.
• Repeat the cycle of dipping and rubbing for 3-4 times.
• Do this daily, preferably after taking bath.
• After a couple of weeks, you may do this twice a week instead of doing it daily.
2. Yogurt for Skin Lightening
Lactic acid is a known remedy for natural skin lightening. This acid is the most gentle alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Alpha hydroxy acids act as exfoliants by contributing in rapid shedding of dead skin cells on the surface. This leads to cell renewal which in turn removes dullness from your skin giving you a brightening effect. As a skin lightening agent, lactic acid helps bleach the hyperpigmented skin by suppressing the production of melanin. Therefore, using yogurt loaded with lactic acid, makes sense when it comes to skin lightening with natural remedies.
Ways to use yogurt for skin lightening
1. Take some plain, unflavored and unsweetened, yogurt. Rub this gently on to your skin for a couple of minutes. Then leave the yogurt on your skin for another few minutes. Now wash off using lukewarm water. Repeat this daily.
2. Mix yogurt, lemon juice and oatmeal to get make a face mask. Apply this to your skin. Leave it there for 15-20 minutes before washing off with water.
3. Add 1-2 tsp of honey to 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Apply this to your skin. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with water. Repeat daily.
3. Lemon Juice for Skin Lightening
Lemon juice is a natural astringent and has natural bleaching properties. Thus, if you have an oily skin and if you want to lighten your skin color, lemon juice is just right for you. Its astringent property will tighten your pores reducing the sebum secretion and its natural acidic composition will bleach your skin to whiten it. As lemon juice is also rich in vitamin C, it leads to production of new skin cells so that you get rid of all dullness and have bright skin.
Ways to use lemon juice for skin lightening
1. Take a lemon and squeeze out its juice. Dip a cotton ball in this lemon juice and apply it on your face or dark skin anywhere else. Leave it for 20-30 minutes and then wash off with water. Repeat daily.
2. If you want to save yourself from the hassle of squeezing out the lemon juice, just cut a lemon in two halves and rub one of the lemon half gently on your face for 10-15 minutes. Then leave the juice on your face for another 10-15 minutes before washing it off.
3. For oily skin, make this face mask which will also lighten your skin. Mix 1 tsp of lemon juice with 2 tsp of rosewater and 1 tsp of Fuller’s earth. Make a paste by mixing them and apply to your face. Leave for 15-20 minutes and then wash off.
4. If your skin is dry, mix a tsp each of lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Now apply this to your skin. Massage gently for a couple of minutes. Now leave this on your skin for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.
Precaution: Never go out in sun after applying lemon juice to your skin. Lemon juice makes your skin ultra sensitive to sunrays that can, I n fact, lead to more discoloration of skin. Also do not use lemon juice if you have open wounds on your skin.
4. Rice Powder for Skin Lightening
Women from Asian countries have long used rice water and rice powder to tone and whiten their skin. Modern science too agrees upon the positive effects of rice extract on mature skin as well as its capacity to lighten skin. Rice is a rich source of para aminobenzoic acid (PABA) which acts as a natural sunscreen. When you consume PABA, it raises the level of Vitamin C in your body. Rice also has ferulic acid, an antioxidant, which when added to Vitamin C and E, provides you excellent protection against sun. A study conducted with rice bran extracts has proven its hydrating, skin lightening and anti aging effects on skin.
How to make skin lightening rice powder mask?
• Uncooked rice- ½ – 1 cup
• Milk- enough to make paste
• Warm water
• Grind the rice to get its fine powder.
• Add enough milk to the fine rice powder to make a paste. If you are allergic to milk, you can even use water to make this paste.
• Apply this rice powder paste to your face and neck.
• Leave for 20-30 minutes.
• Wash off with warm water.
• Repeat 2-3 times a week.
Eat your five-a-day
Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are caused by smoking, pollution and sunlight and can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Betacarotene, found in pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.
Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed for a strong immune system, radiant skin and helps blemishes heal properly. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes. They all help to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.
Cut out crash diets
Repeatedly losing and regaining weight can take its toll on your skin, causing sagging, wrinkles and stretch marks. Crash diets are often short in essential vitamins too. Over long periods of time this type of dieting will reflect on your skin.
Stock up on selenium
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. It works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential for the immune system. Studies suggest that a selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. One way to boost your intake is to eat Brazil nuts. Just four nuts will provide the recommended daily amount (RDA). Mix Brazil nuts with other seeds rich in vitamin E as a snack or salad sprinkle. Other good sources are fish, shellfish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin E protects skin from oxidative (cell) damage and supports healthy skin growth. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, avocado, hazelnuts, pine nuts and sunflower and corn oils.
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day - all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. If you work in an office, keep a large bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, both can age the skin.
Don't be afraid of fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - the types found in avocados, fish, nuts and seeds - provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturiser for your skin, keeping it supple. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free radical damage.
Eat more phyto-estrogens
Phyto-estrogens are natural chemicals found in plant foods (phyto meaning plant). They have a similar structure to the female sex hormone oestrogen and have been found to help keep our natural hormones in balance. There are different types, some are found in soya bean products (isoflavones), whereas others are found in the fibre of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and flax seeds (lignans). Include phyto-estrogen rich soya, wholegrains, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
Opt for omega-3
Make sure you get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids which mean they cannot be made in the body and must be obtained through the diet. You will find omega-3s in oily fish and plant sources such as flaxseed oil, linseeds, walnut and rapeseed oil. Omega-3 fats encourage the body to produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help skin, particularly inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psorasis.
Go for low-GI carbs
Eat plenty of beans, pulses, porridge and other slow-releasing carbohydrates. These release sugar into the blood stream gradually, providing you with a steady supply of energy and leaving you feeling satisfied for longer and therefore less likely to snack. Avoid high GI carbohydrates like biscuits and sugary drinks, as they lead to production of insulin, which may damage collagen and accelerate wrinkles.
Don't forget zinc
Zinc is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (which produce oil) and helps to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, lean red meat, wholegrains, poultry, nuts, seeds and shellfish.