by Dawn Michelle of Minimalist Beauty
Hyperpigmentation is no fun! There are natural ways to reduce dark spots or dark pigmentation in the skin without the harmful ingredient hydroquinone. You can make many of the products yourself without spending a ton of money on commercial chemical products.
Hyperpigmentation can occur very quickly and then take what seems like forever to get rid of. The more melanin in your skin, the darker the pigmentation can appear and be very frustrating to deal with. I’ve noticed that if I have a breakout, even a small blemish can become a scar. Using products daily that are skin-brightening and also blemish-reducing has been a lifesaver.
10 Ingredients that Fight Hyperpigmentation Naturally
1. Raw Honey
There is a good reason why I wash my face with raw honey daily: It keeps the skin glowing and free of bacteria without disrupting the moisture levels of the skin. Raw honey is antibacterial with moisturizing amino acids and antioxidants that protect the skin from free-radical damage. Raw honey also has gluconic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid responsible for honey’s acidity. Raw honey is more nutritious to the skin than filtered honey because its healing properties have not been pasteurized or eliminated with high-heat temperatures.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which brightens the skin, as well as citric acid, which exfoliates and speeds up the treatment of acne, also lightening acne scars and blemishes.
I remember during summer breaks when I was in college, I would slice a lemon and rub the lemon up and down my legs for soft, even skin. It tingled and itched so much that I would just go outside and run around the block to distract myself from the ridiculous sensations. I then would come back inside and rinse it off. I know now that lemon juice straight is too acidic for skin’s natural pH balance. I will instead mix fresh lemon juice with more soothing ingredients.
Lemon juice is still a perfect ingredient for evening out the skin and brightening dark elbows and knees.
3. Rhassoul Clay
Rhassoul clay contains more silica, magnesium, potassium, calcium and other trace minerals than other clays do, so it is very nourishing to the skin. It balances skin’s natural oil production by hydrating dry skin and calming oily skin. It greatly improves skin clarity and brightness, removes dead skin cells, and smooths skin’s overall texture.
I’ve raved about rhassoul clay for skin and hair because it works so well for both. I love versatile ingredients because it saves me money. Rhassoul clay is my favorite clay to use daily.
Lactic acid, lactic acid, lactic acid! Yogurt is outstanding for skin-brightening and evening out the skin’s complexion. Using plain yogurt as a skincare mask will soften and brighten the skin, and clear up blemishes and hyperpigmentation. I believe simple yogurt masks are gentle enough for daily use and such an inexpensive easy-to-find remedy for clear skin.
5. Tamanu Oil
The regeneration properties that tamanu oil provides are out of this world! Tamanu oil is used to miraculously heal the skin of burn victims. Although it has a strong natural scent, it is worth every drop of natural goodness that this oil provides. I came across tamanu oil on my honeymoon in Hawaii. This oil is very rich in antioxidants and it is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.
Read more on tamanu oil here.
6. Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is very high in vitamin E and contains vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6, D and F, as well as essential fatty acids, lecithin, protein and minerals. Wheat germ oil is good as a health supplement and also amazing for skin and hair. It moisturizes and maintains moisture in skin and hair like no other oil I’ve ever tried to date. Its vitamin- and mineral-rich content is wonderful for healing and regenerating skin.
7. Rosehip Seed Oil
Rosehip seed oil has become popular for its use in anti-aging products. It is a more expensive carrier oil, although it is one of the best oils for skin rejuvenation. When applied daily for up to four months, it has been known to reduce wrinkles and age spots almost completely. This is one oil that I have overlooked in the past, yet no longer!
8. Pure Aloe Vera Gel/Juice
Aloe vera has a natural salicylic acid perfect for keeping skin clear in the first place with a divine pH of 4.5. Aloe vera contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, and amino acids. Use pure aloe vera gel or juice as a supplement to heal the body from the inside out, or as a toner/skin gel serum under your moisturizer. Aloe vera is also a wonderful pH-balancer for hair which is why I use it in so many of my DIY hair care recipes.
Amla is traditionally used in Ayurvedic health and beauty care. Amla fascinates me in that it is brightening for skin, yet also keeps hair dark and lustrous. It is 20 times higher in vitamin C than an orange and full of proteins, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols. Amla has antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-mutagenic, yeast inhibiting, nematicidal, anabolic, anti-hepatoxic, anti-hyperhidrosis, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, anti-spasmodic, hypolipidemic, and hypotensive properties.
You can use amla in its herb or powder form. While a simple amla paste made of amla powder and water can do wonders for the skin, infusing the herb in a nourishing carrier oil is even better. I prefer slow herbal infusions in a mason jar in sunlight for 1-2 months or more.
Read more about amla here.
10. Raw Sugar Cane
Sugar produces a natural glycolic acid that is gentler on skin than chemically derived glycolic acid. This natural alpha hydroxy acid easily exfoliates the skin. Alpha hydroxy acids are known for their anti-aging properties for stimulating collagen production while reducing fine lines, wrinkles and skin pigmentation.
3 DIY Skin-Saving Recipes on Minimalist Beauty
1. DIY Gentle Exfoliating Mask
This exfoliating mask includes lemon juice, raw honey, and raw sugar cane. It is so easy to make and so effective. Also it doesn’t burn like fresh squeezed lemon juice or rubbing lemon juice slices directly on the skin. Natural citric, gluconic, and glycolic acid work in synergy together brilliantly.
2. Raw Cacao Facial Mask
This mask includes raw cacao, rhassoul clay, and honey. It is an almost-edible mask and smells divine!
3. DIY Healing Face, Body & Hair Oil
This healing oil contains coconut, wheat germ, and tamanu oil. It is an amazing combination of nourishing and healing oils. Although I love coconut oil, you can always use a lighter carrier oil such as jojoba oil, and even add a bit of rosehip oil.
Gaining and Maintaining Healthy-Looking Skin
Some people genetically have beautiful skin, and others actually work hard for it. Regardless of which category you fall into, taking good care of your skin from head to toe can help you feel good about yourself. It is also good for your health to take care of your skin because your skin is your largest organ and it protects the rest of your body. You do not need to spend $100 a month or more on good skin care. I used to spend that much, but now I am so thankful to have discovered the power of DIY skin care, herbs, and simple ingredients.
Begin your mornings drinking as much water as you can and continue drinking water throughout the day. Some days I am on this, and other days I fall off my desired water-drinking routine. I usually can see a major difference in my skin either way. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily.
Develop a skin care regimen that fits your lifestyle and budget. It doesn’t have to be extensive, complicated or expensive. Incorporating just a few of the 10 ingredients above can improve overall brightness and clarity in your complexion. If you spend a lot of time outside or are using fruit, lactic, or sugar acids in your skin care, I suggest wearing a zinc oxide-based sunscreen daily. My favorite is the DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ because it is zinc oxide-based and doesn’t look pasty on my complexion like other natural sunscreens. If you are not big on sunscreen, wear protective clothing and, of course, a fabulous sun hat whenever you’re outdoors.
Patience, patience, patience! I’m enjoying repeating words three times as you can see. Hyperpigmentation can occur quickly, and take a long time to brighten and smooth out. Lovingly care for your skin, and speak positive, affirmative words about your skin and yourself. I believe uplifting words, consistent gratitude, and positive energy helps to heal the body quicker than all the topical ointments alone on the market, DIY or not!
**Raw honey, lemons, yogurt, aloe vera, and raw sugar cane can be found at a natural grocery store, of course. You can easily find tamanu oil, rhassoul clay, aloe vera, wheat germ oil, amla, and rosehip seed oil at Mountain Rose Herbs. Amla powder can be found at an Indian grocery store.**
Dawn Michelle is a writer, professional dancer, choreographer, jewelry designer, and pure lover of life and the planet. She has been a part of the entertainment industry for years, and worked in one of the largest beauty retailers as a consultant. Dawn Michelle writes a lifestyle blog called Minimalist Beauty that incorporates organic beauty and cosmetics, eco-friendly fashion and extremely chic style, simple living, and pursuing creativity. She also has an Etsy shop called Azuha which has handmade fiber jewelry, earrings, natural cosmetics and more.
Dealing with hyperpigmentation? What has helped you?