Dark patches on the skin, or hyperpigmentation, are quite common, and can appear for a number of reasons. Inflammation caused by skin irritation, rashes, or acne blemishes can cause skin discoloration, as can pregnancy or birth control pills. Years of sun exposure can produce brown spots, commonly known as age spots, and certain medications can cause hyperpigmentation as well. A number of natural lightening treatments for the skin can help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Lemon juice has been used as a home remedy for skin lightening for many years. Lemon juice contains a mild acid that will help remove the top layer of skin, a process that can eliminate mild discolorations or lighten more serious ones. However, regular use of lemon juice can be very drying to the skin, so be sure to moisturize after use. Lemon juice will not offer instant results, but treating dark spots twice daily can yield results within four to six weeks.
Hydrogen peroxide has also been used for many years to bleach dark spots from the skin. However, it must be used carefully, as it is more acidic than lemon juice, and can be more drying. It also helps to speed exfoliation, allowing new, lighter skin to emerge more quickly. To use, dab it onto those dark spots, let it dry, then be sure to rinse well to avoid skin irritation. Moisturizing the skin after use can avoid some of the drying effects of hydrogen peroxide.
The lactic acid in milk can help to reduce the appearance of dark skin patches. Lactic acid gently promotes exfoliation, removing dead skin cells to reveal the bright, new skin underneath. Regular milk, however, will yield very slow results, as the lactic acid content is not very high. Concentrated forms can be more effective, and are available in natural food stores or as an ingredient in many skin care products.
Raw potatoes are another common home remedy for dark patches on the skin. Sliced or grated potatoes can be placed over the darkened area for 15 minutes, once or twice daily. Again, this natural treatment will not produce instant results, but is said to lighten spots after several weeks of use.
A paste made of ground almonds and milk can help to fade away dark spots on the face. Allow the ground almond to soak in the milk for several hours, then apply the paste to the darkened area, leaving it on overnight. This treatment is said to produce noticeable results for some people after two to three weeks of use.
Melinda L. Secor left a 20-year career in health care and developmental disabilities to become a full-time freelance writer. In addition to blogging regularly, she writes for numerous websites on a wide range of topics that include politics, finance, homeschooling, parenting, sustainable living/self sufficiency, health, developmental disabilities, gardening and many others.