Above: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Ankita B.
We all deal with our own unique skin problems, such as stubborn acne, dry or sensitive skin, or scars. One of the most common issues that all of us have probably dealt with are dark spots — also called hyperpigmentation or discoloration. These aggravating, often relentless skin pests often show up in the form of dark bumps, patches, or dots on the surface of the skin, which are prone to forming due to sun damage, aging, and clogged pores, according to WebMD.
Dark spots can feel especially irritating, as they’re harder to hide and cover up. But there’s no reason to panic when you see these, because like most skin issues, their appearance can be improved with some simple home remedies. It all takes just one commonplace ingredient: vitamin C.
Why is vitamin C such a great treatment for dark spots or hyperpigmentation? It includes ascorbic acid and L-ascorbic acid, which provides antioxidant protection from solar radiation. Harper’s Bazaar states that Vitamin C products are primarily targeted at reducing the appearance of and defending skin against signs of aging — think wrinkles, fine lines, and pigmentation. Vitamin C also blocks the enzyme responsible for melanin (or pigmentation) production, which means it can help brighten skin, according to Good Housekeeping.
Packed with antioxidants, vitamin C has shown to improve dull skin texture and tone, fight free radical damage, reduce signs of aging, dark spots and hyperpigmentation, hydrate, increase collagen production, brighten and provide anti-inflammatory effects," says Geeta Yadav, M.D.
What’s great about vitamin C remedies is that you can easily whip them together in a matter of minutes — vitamin C is a common ingredient in lots of household foods! Read on for five natural remedies that can help improve the appearance of skin that's prone to discoloration and fade the appearance of dark spots.
Remedy #1: Rice Flour, Lemon, Aloe Vera
1 tbsp. rice flour
15 drops of fresh lemon juice
Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera has countless beneficial properties: it helps to nourish your skin and moisturize dry and dull skin, heals cuts and burns of sun exposure and can help get rid of dark spots.
Add the fresh lemon juice to the rice flour, and then gradually mix in enough aloe vera juice to make a thick paste. Apply on your skin, and let it sit for 12-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and follow with your skincare routine of cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum or ROOP saffron day or night serum, and lotion.
Review: "My skin has been glowing. The dark spots on my skin look less prominent"
Remedy #2: Papaya, Orange, Oat Flour
1 tbsp mashed papaya
20 drops orange juice
Oranges are one of the richest sources of vitamin C. Antioxidants fight off free radicals, and those found in orange juice can protect your skin from sun damage and pollution, prevent wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture, according to Doctors Health Press. Additionally, the vitamin C from oranges plays a role in the formation of collagen, which gives our skin that youthful look. Papaya on the skin is a natural exfoliant, reducing pigmentation, whereas oat flour also serves as a natural exfoliant and cleanser.
Combine the orange juice with the mashed papaya (make sure the papaya is completely pureed, with no chunks), and then gradually mix in enough oat flour to make a thick paste. (Easy hack: if you don’t have packaged oat flour at home, you can easily grind some oatmeal in a food processor or blender). Apply on your skin, and let it sit for 12-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and follow with your skincare routine of cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum or roop & saffron day or night serum, and lotion.
Remedy #3: Clay, Tomato, Lemon, Rose Water
1 tbsp clay
1 tbsp fresh tomato juice
8 drops fresh lemon juice
Clay is considered the most important ingredient in a large number of mud masks since it absorbs contaminations and mends the skin, Byrdie mentions. Fresh juice is excellent for cleansing the pores of the skin, and tomato juice can reduce itchiness, redness, flakiness and swelling caused by excessive skin irritation. The juice is mildly acidic, which is essential for restoring the skin’s natural pH after the use of cosmetics.
For this mask, start with one tablespoon of clay, whether it be bentonite, kaolin, or rhassoul — as long as it's safe for the skin. Combine it with the tomato and lemon juice, and then gradually add drops of rose water until a paste is formed. Apply on your skin, and let it sit for 12-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and follow with your skincare routine of cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum or roop & saffron day or night serum, and lotion.
Review: "My skin is definitely looking more healthy, radiant, and firm"
Remedy #4: Dark Brown Sugar, Pineapple, Lemon, Aloe Vera
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
12 drops fresh pineapple juice
8 drops lemon juice
This thin, light mask makes use of natural juices and aloe vera, combining to make a purifying and hydrating mixture. In addition to being rich in vitamins and minerals, pineapple juice is a good source of antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that help keep your skin healthy, Healthline states.
Combine all of the listed ingredients together until all of the brown sugar dissolves; the mask should not be granular. Add in enough aloe vera so that the mask has a smooth, gel-like consistency. Gently pat the mask on so that it sticks to your skin, and remember to apply a thin layer, as the mixture will not resemble the consistency of a paste. Let it sit for 12-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and follow with your skincare routine of cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum or roop & saffron day or night serum, and lotion.
Remedy #5: Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Lemon, Orange
1 tbsp aloe vera juice
1 tsp cucumber juice
15 drops lemon juice
8 drops orange juice
This toning mixture is bursting with vitamin C-rich ingredients, combining cucumber, lemon, orange, and aloe vera.
The consistency will resemble a watery mixture, rather than a paste. You can throw it on when you wake up, right before going to bed, or even to freshen up your skin before going out or applying makeup. Combine all of the ingredients together, and, using a cotton ball, dab the mask on your skin and let it sit for 12-15 minutes, then wash off with warm water and follow with your skincare routine of cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum or roop & saffron day or night serum, and lotion.
Related: DIY Vitamin C Face Mask to Increase the Glow, Radiance & Clarity of Your Skin
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Go natural. It is good karma!