Skin discolorations are a common condition. Some are due to scars, sun damage or prescription medications. In other cases, the natural aging process makes a person more susceptible to pigment changes. People are also born with freckles and port wine stains. These discolorations have many names–age spots, liver spots and hyperpigmentation–but they are usually harmless. Skin discolorations can appear anywhere on the body, but the face and hands are the places where people usually want to even out the skin tone. For many skin discolorations there are over the counter remedies or prescription drugs that can fix the problem.


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Apply lemon juice. Lemon juice is well-known as a mild bleaching agent. It is readily available and an inexpensive way to reduce small skin discolorations. Use fresh lemon juice or juice from a bottle. Apply a few times a day.

Try hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is a strong bleach used to lighten hair and whiten teeth. In higher strengths it is also used to bleach paper. But the hydrogen peroxide sold in the brown bottle in drugstore is safe to use on skin. It has a strength of just 3 to 3.5 percent. Apply a few times a day.

Use buttermilk or milk. Bothe these products contain lactic acid, a natural substance that can gently exfoliate the top layer of the skin or epidermis. When the skin renews itself the new skin is usually has less discoloration.

Consider glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is a AHA or alpha hydroxy acid. This gentle fruit acid sloughs off the epidermis. With this acid you can get an at-home chemical peel. The acid is sold in beauty supply stores and online in strengths from 10 percent to 60 percent. It is best to start with the lower strengths until your skin adjusts to the acid. These AHAs are known to even out skin tone by gently removing the epidermis.

Consider over the counter bleaching creams. There are many lotions in the drugstore that can reduce dark spots on the skin. These are called skin bleaches, whiteners or lighteners or fade creams. They usually contain 2 percent hydroquinone, a skin bleaching agent.

Visit a doctor. A doctor can prescribe hydroquinone in higher strengths. Other options are chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. These medical procedures should be performed only by a trained dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. The techniques are also very expensive and have more risks than using lemon juice or a fade cream.