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Graceful negotiation for the signs of aging

Naturally lighten and brighten

on August 9, 2014

 One thing’s for sure – we always want what we don’t have. Those with lighter complexions go to great lengths to add color and those with darker pigment have a fear that dark spots will form. Although the “answer” to all of this is never the same for different skin types, the truth is that there just isn’t a need to spend a fortune to improve your skin tone.

The reasons behind dark and/or dull skin can be any one or a combination of:

  • Heredity
  • Exposure to pollution (more environmental)
  • Chronic dry skin
  • A number of medical conditions
  • Stress (raise your hand if you have come to despise that answer?)
  • Poor lifestyle choices. Smokers, this means you. Yes, I can tell. 
  • Overuse or prolonged use of chemical-laden skincare


There is no shortage of products in the market that promises lighter skin. Reduced brown-spots, tighter skin, etc. Although some of them work quite well, it has always been my  opinion that if I myself had a precancerous lesion or something that put me at a higher risk for melanoma, I would definitely use it. Much like I would use an antibiotic. Short term and only as needed. 

The number of clients chronically using harsh chemicals on their skin is alarming. The truth is – long-term use of any product full of chemicals has proven to not only stop being effective, but actually quite harmful. These products thin the skin, cause it to be quite reactive to almost anything and to add insult to injury – they are expensive. 

Is there anything wrong with an occasional chemical exfoliation? Not at all. Are there other options? Absolutely!  For clients who are pregnant, reactive to chemicals or who simply enjoy a more natural approach to skin-care and anti-aging, here are some tried and true DIY strategies:

Honey. Honey helps bleach skin and also adds moisturize. Dry skin is one of the most common factors that contributes to an uneven skin tone. Honey has antibacterial properties that will help fade age spots and acne scars over time.


How to? Apply pure honey to your face, leaving it on for a 10-15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. This simple, effective and inexpensive product will help remove dead skin cells and will leave your skin appearing brighter and lighter than before. Just once a day for a week or so, then once a week will do. Want to boost your efforts? Add 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil to the honey before applying. Avoid the eyes and be sure there are no cuts or abrasions on your skin.

Lemons.  Lemons work as a natural bleaching agent for the skin and the high concentration of vitamin C encourages new skin cells to grow. Lemons are packed with antioxidants. 


How to? Dip a cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply it directly on your face. Once you have conducted your own spot tests and know that your skin can handle it –  go for it by rubbing a cut lemon directly over your skin. Leave the lemon juice on for at least an hour and then wash your face with water. This simple step can lighten your complexion or dark spots and can also prevent the development of scars from break-outs.

Aloe Vera. Aloe vera can reduce hyperpigmentation and restore your skin’s original color. Hyperpigmentation is one of the main causes of uneven skin tone no matter how it occurred. It seems everyone reaches for aloe when the skin is burnt, but keep in mind the cooling effect of aloe helps regenerate new healthy skin cells. This is especially helpful in warmer climates.


How to? Cut the outer layer of an aloe vera leaf. Squeeze out the thick, jelly-like substance and apply it to your skin. gel thoroughly on your skin. Leave it on for about 30 minutes, and then wash it off with water. For the best results, do this twice a day for two weeks to start. Then once every 3 days to maintain.

Papaya. Papaya is a fruit that is enzymatic and regularly used in various beauty treatments. Papaya contains natural bleaching properties and the nutrient-rich fruit will make your skin simply glow.


How to? This seems simple enough – but eat it! The general cleansing properties of papaya will cleanse the skin of impurities that could be causing it to form dark spots. If you do not enjoy the taste or need some more urgent results, rub the inner part of the skin of a papaya on your face. Allow it to dry. Then wash your face with cold water and pat it dry. This will give your skin a nice glow. Like to mask? Mash up a papaya and mix it with one cup of fresh lemon juice. Massage it over the face, neck and chest and leave it on for 30 minutes.

Yogurt. No, I’m not talking about the sugar rich artificially flavored kind. Simply plain yogurt. Yogurt is a by-product of milk and has a host of nutrients that are good for your skin.


How to? Rub plain yogurt onto your skin. Leave it on for a few minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this once daily for several weeks and you will notice a significant change in your complexion.Again, there really are no wrong answers with the DIY mixing of the above mentioned items. You can mix one tablespoon of fresh yogurt with one-half tablespoon of honey. Apply the mixture on your face and neck. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes and then wash it off with water, etc. 


The truth is – if it’s easy, we enjoy it and we start to see and feel the benefits, we’ll remain compliant. If we hate the texture, smell or process, we’ll most likely quit. Lemon Essential oil is mentioned above, but there are other essential oils that also can lighten and brighten the skin. These are: sandalwood, lavender, jasmine and rose. As with all essential oils, due to their high concentrations, it is best to mix them with a carrier oil (I like grapeseed oil for the face, and coconut oil for the body).

Although it is more unlikely to experience a horrible side effect from a more natural substance, it is still possible. Some medications can cause the skin to be more reactive and anyone can be allergic or sensitive to anything. Before slathering on any new item on the skin, test a spot.


For those who would like a service to enhance results without the use of any chemicals – I highly recommend dermaplaning and IPL for the reduction of browns on the spot!  Dermaplaning will leave your skin super smooth and hair free in addition to removing superficial discoloration. IPL will go to work on reducing brown spots, and scarring. Mention this blog post to purchase a package of 3 of both services (3 dermaplane plus 3 IPL in the same scheduled appointment) for $250. Regular retail value of $450. Services have no expiration date. 


p.s. Recently, clients have asked or commented on the use of grapeseed oil as a cleanser. (See previous posts for all the benefits of grapeseed oil). It seems it has been ingrained in our heads that to be cleaning, a cleanser must be foamy. In addition to previously posted benefits, clients who travel often have reported “break-outs” when away from home. There can be many reasons for this such as, change in climate, air travel, etc  – but one of the enemies of skin both at home and away is tap water. Although tap water can initially make the skin feel “tight” and to shrink pores, the reality is that this is result of the chlorination of most tap water. Although this “purification” is better than none at all it does not remove all bacteria. In fact, Other less-than-ideal findings in tap water: nitrates and other chemicals that seep into the water supply from fertilizers and pesticide runoff,  arsenic (via erosion, orchard runoff, and industrial waste) and even rocket fuel! Prior to the years before I began cleansing my skin with grape seed oil, I used bottled water to avoid the over-drying of my skin (especially with overseas travel). 

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