We know how it goes. You’re taking good care of your skin, but somehow, dark spots (a.k.a. pigmentation) manage to suddenly appear that weren’t there before.
So, if you are wondering how to get rid of dark spots on your skin, this post is here to help.
We’ve reviewed the academic literature to make sure that the recommendations in this post have been scientifically tested.
But we didn’t stop there.
We also pared down the list to only include treatments that use natural ingredients.
That way, you don’t have to mess around with dangerous chemicals like hydroquinone found in your average skin pigmentation cream.
Just so you know, hydroquinone has been proven to pose serious risks to your health (including causing cancer), according to the International Journal of Dermatology and the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
And nobody wants to increase their risk of cancer.
So let’s take a look at these awesome natural remedies and teach you how to remove dark spots — which can help you on your journey to clear skin!
But first, let’s review the basics.
Where do dark spots come from?
The different shades of brown that grace human skin come from a substance called melanin.
People who have darker skin tones have more melanin in their skin because their ancestors lived for thousands of years in an area near the equator.
Melanin developed as an adaptive measure to protect the DNA in their skin from the damaging radiation of the sun.
Because people with lighter-colored skin have less melanin to protect them, their skin is more vulnerable to being damaged when they are exposed to the sun.
Dark spots –also known as brown spots, age spots, or liver spots– are uneven brown blotches and flecks of melanin that usually don’t go away on their own.
According to Peter Schalock, MD (Harvard Medical School), this skin pigmentation is usually a form of skin damage inflicted by exposure to sunlight.
If you’d like to know how to prevent new dark spots from forming in the future, quickly download our free eBook with tips on how do this.
Now that you understand how dark spots work, let’s look at some natural dark spot removers that can help to make them disappear!
1. Reduce Dark Spots with Licorice Extract
Licorice extract has many benefits to offer the skin.
According to the University of Maryland, some people have used licorice extract to treat eczema, thanks to its ability to reduce swelling and itching.
But that’s not all it can do.
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that licorice can also be used to prevent dark spots before they happen.
But if you already have dark spots, licorice extract might still be able to help you decrease your pigmentation disorder.
Another study found that licorice can decrease dark spots caused by UVB rays by influencing the melanin level in your skin.
So how can you apply this amazing natural dark spot remover?
Here’s a good pigmentation solution for you to try out.
Simply put a few drops of licorice extract on a cotton ball, and then rub it softly on the affected dark spots on your skin.
Wash off after 20 minutes, and then moisturize.
2. Vitamin E Oil Works Great for Dark Spots on Face
Another great ingredient for reducing skin pigmentation is vitamin E.
In general, vitamin E is highly regarded for its capacity to heal the skin through its nutrients and antioxidant content.
But it can do much more.
To apply vitamin E oil to your skin as a skin pigmentation treatment, just cut open a vitamin E capsule and softly rub it on the affected areas.
Just make sure that you don’t apply the oil to any broken skin, including pimples.
The oil in the capsule could potentially cause irritation or worsen any breakouts that have not closed yet.
If you’d like a good DIY pigmentation gel or pigmentation face mask, you can mix a few drops of Vitamin E oil with aloe vera gel and apply it to your pigmentation spots.
Leave the mixture on your skin for about 15-20 minutes.
Then rinse it off gently with lukewarm water.
3. Vitamin B3 is a Dark Spot Remover
If you want to improve your skin’s outer protective barrier and remove dark spots at the same time, vitamin B3 is a good choice.
A peer-reviewed study found that vitamin B3 suppresses the transfer of melanin by 35-68%, meaning that it can help your pigmentation spots.
It will also help your skin to hold in moisture while keeping out irritants. This can decrease breakouts and increase hydration.
Vitamin B3 is an ingredient in a number of serums on the market that can be applied easily to your skin to remove pigmentation around eyes or any other areas on your body.
4. Vitamin A for Cell Renewal
Vitamin A has also been proven to reduce dark spots naturally.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, you can boost your cell renewal through topical application of vitamin A (retinoid).
It works by pushing out old and discolored cells.
This can reduce your dark spots through the cell renewal process.
Once new cells grow pigmentation discoloration reduces slowly and even disappears over time.
To achieve this, here’s an easy recipe for making your own pigmentation cream.
Just mix a few drops of vitamin A with aloe vera gel, and apply it to the dark spots on your skin.
Let it soak in for about 15 minutes and then wash it off.
5. Vitamin C Heals Your Tissue
Vitamin C has been found to be an excellent ingredient to reduce photoageing (aging caused by sun exposure), hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and tissue inflammation.
It also promotes tissue healing, which makes it a great ingredient for reducing pigmentation from the sun.
In particular, the International Journal of Dermatology attests to the proven power of vitamin C to reduce pigmentation.
There are many great ways to use vitamin C on your skin, one of which is making your own pigmentation serum.
If you’re looking for a good recipe, hop on over to the Wellness Mama blog for their vitamin C serum instructions.
6. Rose Water Lightens Your Dark Spots
Rose water is one of our favorite dark spots home remedies.
If your family has roots in the Indian subcontinent or the Middle East, this ingredient may already be familiar to you.
Rose water is the byproduct of rose oil production.
It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
It also hydrates and strengthens your skin, and it helps preventing wrinkles, among many other benefits.
And according to a study published by the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry, rose water can lighten your dark spots and functions well as a pigmentation cure.
Here are some fun ways you can apply this dark spot remover:
- Mix rose water with just enough sandalwood powder to create a smooth paste. Apply it to your skin and let it do its work for about 15 minutes. Then wash it off.
- Or you can try this pigmentation home remedy, suggested by blogger Nutan Kumari Sinha: combine rose water, freshly squeezed organic cucumber juice, yogurt, and sandalwood powder together and apply the serum to dark spots for about an hour before you wash it off.
7. Green Tea Extract for Reducing Dark Spots on Face
Here’s a big hooray for green tea.
It has been found to be an excellent natural dark spots remover.
Green tea has been confirmed as the strongest inhibitor of melanin among 10 different teas tested in an academic study.
According to Home Remedy Hacks, you can apply moist green tea bags to the pigmentation on your skin.
Remove the bags after about 20 minutes.
Wash your face with lukewarm water.
Repeat for 4-5 weeks.
If you want to learn more about how to reduce dark spots then keep reading.
There is more to come!
8. Aloe Vera: Healing Your Dark Spots
Aloe vera gel is famous for its skin healing properties.
Once you look at the long list of nutrients aloe vera contains, it’s no surprise why.
Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, as well as folic acid, choline, and about 20 minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, iron, potassium, manganese,… and so forth.
Among its many talents, aloe vera is great for removing unwanted pigmentation.
The effectiveness of aloe vera as a pigmentation home treatment has been confirmed in a research study published in the journal Planta Medica.
To take advantage of aloe’s wonderful properties, you can of course buy some aloe vera gel.
But if you want to get the most out of your personal skin care, why not get yourself an aloe plant?
They’re among the easiest houseplants to maintain, as long as you don’t overdo it on the watering.
To obtain fresh aloe gel from your plant, simply break off a small portion of a leaf, and squeeze out the gel inside.
Once you’ve got your aloe vera gel, simply apply it to the hyperpigmenatation (dark spots) on your skin, and leave it on for about one hour.
Then rinse with water.
Repeat this dark spots treatment twice a day for one month.
9. Ginger Offers Extra Antioxidants to Fight Dark Spots
Ginger makes your skin look younger, brighter and firmer.
It was also confirmed in a research study to remove dark spots, thanks to its antioxidant content.
Ginger contains a high amount of an antioxidant called gingerol, which battles free radicals.
Here’s a super-easy dark spot remover recipe by Nature Helps: To treat your dark spots with ginger, simply cut off a few slices of ginger, and place them on the affected areas of your skin.
After 5 minutes you can wash your face.
Repeat over the course of several weeks to remove your dark spots as much as possible.
A word of caution: some people may be sensitive to ginger, so pay attention to the signals your body sends you.
If you notice your skin reacting, stop using it.
10. Bearberry, Blueberry, Cranberry, and Pear (oh my!)
According to a study, these trees all include arbutin, a naturally occurring form of hydroquinone.
Many pigmentation creams are available in stores that use synthetic hydroquinone.
The problem with synthetic hydroquinone is that it can lead to gray-brown spots, yellow-to-brown bumps, and skin thickening when used over a longer period of time.
Definitely not what you want!
It seems better to stick to natural ingredients, and we’ve got just the right thing for you.
Time to make your own dark spot serum for skin pigmentation treatment at home!
To get the most out of these fantastic sources of natural hydroquinone, you can try one of these natural recipes.
Mash some blueberries (also works with either bearberries or cranberries or pears) and mix them with aloe vera gel.
Then dab the mixture lightly on the pigmentation on your skin.
Wash your face after 20-30 minutes with lukewarm water.
Repeat daily over several weeks.
11. Kojic Acid for Dark Spots Removal
Kojic acid has been proven in a study to lighten skin and is among the best skin pigmentation remedies.
It has been found to be a great alternative dark spot remover for people whose skin does not respond to hydroquinone.
Kojic acid can be found in certain soaps and creams.
Try to stick to the most natural choices, and always read the ingredient list.
12. Grape Seed Extract Reduces Melanin
If you like to apply your pigmentation treatment directly on your skin that’s fine.
But did you know you could also treat your dark spots with certain foods?
A small peer-reviewed study among women suffering from dark spots (melasma/choloasma) found that 83% of those who took a grape seed extract experienced a significant improvement.
The improvement was achieved within 6 months of daily consumption.
The researchers concluded that grape seed extract is a great pigmentation treatment because it is rich in the antioxidant proanthocyanidin.
Another amazing finding of this study was that grape seed extract has no side effects.
In other words: making grape seed extract a part of your diet for 6 months could help to even out your pigmentation.
13. Orchid Extracts is Highly Effective in Reducing Dark Spots
A small study conducted with 48 women published in the Journal of Dermatology found that orchid extract was “significantly effective” in treating dark spots.
Orchid extract was found to improve the “size, brightness, color intensity, clarity, visibility and global appearance of the pigmented spots.”
The extract was applied directly to the skin, and was found to be about as effective as vitamin C in lightening the affected areas and reducing skin pigmentation – meaning it was highly effective.
You can find orchid extract in many creams available on the market. As always, read the ingredients carefully to choose the safest option.
14. Pine Bark Extract for Removing Dark Spots on Face
Pine bark extract contains pycnogenol, an antioxidant that is several times more powerful than vitamin C and vitamin E.
Pine bark also “recycles” vitamin C, regenerates vitamin E, and to top it off, it strengthens your body’s internal antioxidant-enzyme system, too.
A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research tested pine bark extract on 30 women.
The participants were given a 25mg tablet of pycnogenol derived from pine bark extract, three times per day, for 30 days.
At the end of the trial, dark spots were reduced in 80% of the participants, and no one experienced any side effects.
This makes pine bark extract a powerful ingredient for pigmentation removal.
15. Coffeeberry Extract for Dark Spot Treatment
Coffeeberry extract is rich in antioxidants, and has been praised as one of the most effective ingredients on the market for natural pigmentation treatment.
A 6-week study published in Cosmetic Dermatology confirmed that coffeeberry extract reduces pigmentation.
Specifically, participants who applied coffeeberry to their dark spots twice a day for 6 weeks experienced a 15% reduction in the intensity of their dark spots.
Want to make your own pigmentation serum? You can find coffeeberry extract sold online in powdered form.
Are you ready to get serious?
These 15 ingredients have been tested in peer-reviewed studies for skin pigmentation.
That means you can be sure they work on most people.
However, not all of them will work on everybody.
What you need to do is find out which one works best for your skin.
Once you’ve found the one that you like best, leave us a comment below!
Now, here’s one more thing you might like.
If you want to know how to protect yourself from getting any new dark spots, grab our FREE eBook “ 10 Natural Ways to Prevent Pigmentation.”
If you found the post helpful, pin the infographic and share the post with friends so other people can learn about the science behind these awesome natural ingredients, too.
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So now that you know how to remove dark spots, read about 30 things you should never put on your face. (Number 17 and 25 are really scary!)
This is where a dry legal disclaimer would normally go, but who reads those? What you really need to know is that this post is for general informational purposes only. It should not substitute for the advice of your doctor. We say this for two reasons. The first reason is that, although we make every effort to provide you with information that is fact-based and accurate, we cannot guarantee that we’ll never make mistakes. If you do spot a mistake, please be so kind as to inform us, and we’ll investigate it and correct the text if appropriate. The second reason is that everyone’s body and health history is different. What might work wonderfully for us or for the people in a particular research study, might not work so well for you. So anything that you might try out based on what is written here will be at your own risk– please use common sense. To be on the safe side, always consult with your physician before making any changes in your diet, exercise, supplement use, water intake, skincare regimen, or other major lifestyle habits.