5 Skincare Hacks to Lighten Dark Spots
Contributed article by Nikia Felipe.
My skincare regimen has not always been top-notch… or even middle notch for that matter. Face washes, moisturizers, and toners were an afterthought. Unless I had layers of make up on for a special occasion, I didn't much bother with that aisle of the drug store.
That is until I and my skin turned 40. All the skin privilege that I had enjoyed for 40 years came to a screeching halt.
The biggest struggle I face is hyperpigmentation (dark spots). As a spiritual transformational life coach who creates sacred sisterhood specifically for women of the African diaspora, I am surrounded by beautiful women of color with very similar skincare concerns.
We all have had to face the untimely pimple, or ingrown chin hair, but for women of color, we are often left with an after effect in the form of a dark mark that stays long after the pimple is gone, and the hair plucked. The dark marks come from inflamed skin that has higher levels of melanin.
Yes, we love our melanin, but we all want our skin to have an even distribution of our melanin magic, right?
So, I went on a search for some dark-mark skin care hacks that would keep the chemicals off of my skin. In looking for natural remedies to even my skin-tone, I found 5 standouts worth giving a try. You will likely have at least one of them already in your home:
Black soap is a real blessing from the western region of our mother continent. It’s made from the ash of local plants and bark like shea tree bark, coco pods and palm trees. This is not your regular harsh soap. It has Vitamin A and more shea butter than any other soap you will find. African black soap is gentle enough to use on children and is well known for clearing up acne. Use this soap with a rotating electric skin brush to scrub away the dark spots and clear up your skin overall. Give it a chance to work – at least 2 months. So many women swear by it.
This was at top of everyone’s list. Lemon juice is naturally acidic and well-known for it’s bleaching ability. I remember using it to lighten my hair as a teenager. All you have to do is apply it to your affected area with a cotton swab. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Many report a noticeable difference in just a week of applying lemon juice twice a day. After a couple months, it is said to get rid of the mark completely. Just make sure you are using actual lemons and not the processed juice like product found in bottles.
Apple Cider Vinegar
What can’t apple cider vinegar do? I already use it as a wonderful rinse for my natural hair, add it to my water for a boost of energy and here it is again blessing the skin. In addition to helping to control acne, it gets rave reviews for lightening hyperpigmentation. Because of its alpha hydroxy acid, it is said to aid with the shedding and regrowth of skin, so the dark marks fade faster. Simply put ACV on a cotton ball or swab and apply to your dark marks several times a week, leaving it on for about 5 minutes every application. Then rinse with cool water.
Buttermilk’s lactic acid makes it a great natural skin care remedy. Simple put on a cotton ball or swab and apply directly to the affected areas, wait a few minutes and rinse with cool water. If you need additional help with acne or oily prone skin, mix in a bit of lemon or tomato juice.
Already known as an effective treatment for sunburn, aloe vera can also heal stings and get rid of dark marks. Stick with the natural stuff straight from an aloe vera plant. Rub it into the dark mark and wait about an hour before you rinse with cool water. It’s recommended that you repeat this treatment twice a day. Give it a month to work well.