38 Natural Home Remedies For Skin Whitening & Glowing

updated: 06/30/2019

Today, there are a lot of reasons why people have the urge for lightening and whitening their skin.  And many articles about tips and tricks for skin whitening were published, but not all of them are suitable and affordable for everyone. Reading this article means that you want to know some ways to lighten your skin, right? First of all, we want to emphasize that our methods of skin whitening focus on natural ways, using easy-to-find ingredients that are around our house. If you are looking for fastest ways to get fairer skin, then skip this entry. If you want to have fair skin naturally, then keep reading it. However, before learning what natural home remedies for skin whitening are, you should understand some basics about the skin. 

What Determines The Skin Color?

Skin color is determined by the amount of melanin in the human skin. This is a pigment produced by many specialized cells called melanocytes. Normally, people having dark skin will possess more melanin than those with light skin.

The amount of melanin your skin has will decide your genetic makeup. Hormones, sun exposure, skin damage, and exposure t some chemicals may also impact the production of melanin. As usual, the changes in skin color will usually handle themselves. For example, if you have sun tan, then tan will go away when the amount of direct exposure to sun rays is decreased. However, you may get some specific discolorations like dark spots, or age spots over time.

How About Skin Bleaching?

In essence, skin bleaching is a cosmetic treatment which aims to decrease the prominence of skin discolorations and even out skin color. People can purchase bleaching creams by prescription or over the counter. A number of individuals apply skin lightener to their whole body to change their original complexion, but it comes with many risks. The active ingredient in certain skin whitening creams is mercury that may result in mercury poisoning. Mercury, a toxic agent, may lead to serious neurological, psychiatric, and kidney issues. Pregnant women using skin whitening creams with mercury may pass the harmful mercury to their unborn baby. Today, mercury used in skin whitening products is banned in the U.S. But, some skin whitening products manufactured in other countries might still have mercury.

How Do Commercial Skin Lighteners Work?

Skin whitening products have an active ingredient or a combination of ingredients that decrease the amount of melanin in the skin.

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It is estimated that the most commonly used ingredient in regard to skin whitening agents traded in the U.S is hydroquinone. In accordance with the FDA, up to 2% hydroquinone is used in the OTC skin whitening products in the U.S. Some dermatologists could write usual prescriptions for skin whitening products containing 4 to 6% hydroquinone. Thus, it is very important to consult your doctor before using any product having hydroquinone and to follow the directions of the doctor.

Other ingredients used in skin whitening products are steroids and retinoic acid coming from vitamin A. Some skin whitening products use natural ingredients such as kojic acid, a compound coming from a fungus, and arbutin, a compound found in many plants.

What Are Potential Risks Of Skin Lighteners?

One of the most serious risks of using skin whitening products is due to mercury. It is found that about 1 out of 4 every commercial skin whitening products in Asia and other countries except for the U.S had mercury. In addition to the risk related to the exposure to mercury, other risks can be:

  • Long-term use might enhance the risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure. Thus, always use a high-quality sunscreen before going out in the sun if you are applying a skin whitening cream.
  • Prolonged use could lead to premature aging.
  • Steroids in skin whitening products may boost the risk of skin infections such as acne, skin thinning and reducing the ability of wound healing.
  • Applying steroids to large skin areas will cause you to be prone to health issues related to steroid.
  • Hydroquinone might lead to untreatable and unwanted skin discoloration

Many skin bleaching agents, even natural ingredients, could lead to allergic reaction or skin irritation.

Top 38 Effective Home Remedies For Skin Whitening And Glowing

1. Lemon Juice

This is the first and easiest natural remedies for skin whitening. Lemon juice has been widely used as a natural skin whitening agent for thousands of years. Thanks to its acids which have potent bleaching properties and the ability to exfoliate the top layer of dark skin cells, lemon juice will help you get fairer skin without cost and side effects[1] [2]. But, remember that pure lemon juice may be irritating to your skin; thus, it is better to combine it with some water.

 Method 1: Lemon juice and water

  • Mix lemon juice and water at a ratio of 1:1
  • Put a cotton ball in the mixture and apply it to your skin
  • Wait for about 15 minutes to wash it thoroughly with warm water
  • Apply your moisturizer after that to avoid drying out your skin
  • Do this 2-3 times per week for about 1 month.

Method 2: Lemon and potato

Potato has skin whitening properties, similar to lemon. The combination of these ingredients will make your skin lighter more quickly.

  • Take a fresh potato to grate and squeeze the juice
  • Mix lemon juice and potato juice at a ratio of 1:1
  • Apply it to your skin for 20 minutes and wash it with water
  • Repeat this routine 2-3 times per week to get great results

For added benefits, add honey to the mixture.

Method 3: Lemon, fuller’s earth, and rose water

  • Mix lemon juice, fuller’s earth, and rose water at a ratio of 1:1:2
  • After stirring them well, you apply it to your skin where you want to lighten its color
  • Wait for 20 minutes and wash it off with water
  • Repeat this method 2-3 times per week

If there is not fuller’s earth, then consider glycerin as an alternative.

Method 4: Lemon juice and honey (with/without essential oils)

Honey, with its ability to soothe the skin, may alleviate the irritation caused by bleaching properties of lemon juice (if any)[3] [4]. This method is particularly suitable for people with sensitive skin.

  • Mix lemon juice with honey at a ratio of 2:1
  • Apply the mixture to your skin and massage before washing it off with water
  • Repeat this routine every day

For additional effects, you can also add some milk, or yogurt, or olive oil to the combination and do the same steps.

Method 5: Lemon and turmeric

Turmeric is not only famous for its usages in the kitchen but also helps with skin issues. It may clear acne scars, reduce oil secretion, and relieve inflammation naturally. You can combine lemon juice with turmeric to whiten your skin. 

  • Mix 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder and lemon juice
  • After stirring well, you apply it to your skin
  • Wait for 15 minutes to wash it with cold water
  • Re-apply this method every day before your bedtime.

You can also use yogurt for added benefits. If there is no turmeric powder, then you can also use Kasturi manjal powder (wild turmeric) for the same purpose.

Notes:

  • While using this method, you need to limit your sun exposure. Always use a sunscreen when you have to go out in sunlight.
  • Make sure that you do not have any wound on the skin because the acidic nature of lemon juice could lead to pain in those wounds
  • If you have sensitive skin or be allergic to lemon, avoid these remedies.
2. Yogurt

Yogurt may soothe your skin cells and give you a significant change in your skin tone because it is a skin whitening agent[5]. It has lactic acid that may moisturize and nourish the dry skin. Also, it has zinc, calcium, vitamin B5, B12, and B2, all of which may not only slow down the aging process and decrease wrinkles and fine lines but also heal flaky and dry skin, brighten dull skin color, and encourage new healthy skin cell growth without adverse effects[6]. The potent astringent properties of yogurt will help tighten the pores and tissues of the skin. 

Method 1: Yogurt and honey

  • Mix yogurt and honey together at a ratio of 1:1/2 to have a good paste
  • Then, apply it to your skin
  • Wash it thoroughly with tepid water after 15 minutes
  • Do this method 3 times a week.

Method 2: Yogurt and rice powder

The combination of yogurt and rice powder gives you an amazing scrub that may eliminate whiteheads while lightening the skin efficiently.

  • Combine rice powder and yogurt together to have a thick paste
  • Put this paste on your skin and remove it with water after 15 minutes
  • Follow this routine thrice per week for 1 month or more to see good results

You can also add turmeric powder and olive oil to the mixture above for additional benefits.

Method 3: Yogurt, sugar, and sandalwood powder

Sugar helps to remove your dead skin cells thanks to its exfoliating properties[7] [8] while sandalwood powder may absorb the excess oil from the skin.

  • Mix yogurt, turmeric, sugar, and sandalwood powder at a ratio of 4:1:1:1
  • Apply the mixture to your skin and massage gently for a few minutes
  • Wait for 15 extra minutes and rinse it thoroughly with cool water
  • Repeat this process thrice per week for quick results

Or, you can also combine yogurt with some other ingredients to get lighter skin, such olive oil, chamomile essential oil, cucumber, parsley, egg white, strawberry, potato, matcha green tea, aloe vera, basil, etc.

3. Oranges

home remedies for skin whitening

This is one of the most effective methods when it comes to effective remedies for skin whitening that you can do at home. It works amazingly. The most important ingredient in skin care is vitamin C[6] [7], which you could get a lot from oranges. Moreover, orange, with its bleaching effects, may brighten your skin color naturally and safely[2]. According to studies, regular consumption of fresh orange juice may greatly improve the texture and suppleness of your skin.

Method 1:

  • Mix a pinch of turmeric powder and 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • Apply this combination to your skin before your bedtime
  • Wash it off after 20 minutes or so
  • Repeat this routine every day

Method 2:

  • Grind orange peels into a good powder
  • Mix it with 1 tablespoon of yogurt to have a good paste
  • Put that paste on your skin for 20 minutes and wash it with water
  • Do it 1-2 times per week, no more than that
4. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal[8] may remove microparticles, such as dust, dirt, chemicals, and bacteria from your skin pores. Also, it may absorb the toxins and excess oil that are responsible for acne breakouts on the skin. You can buy activated charcoal in the form of capsules. This form is easy to use as it is less messy in compared with opening a bottle of activated charcoal powder, which can leave black stains everywhere. Besides, some particles may go into your nose, making you sneeze.

Method 1:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal with a few drops of water
  • Stir them well to have a good paste
  • Apply it to your facial skin and neck
  • Wait for 10 minutes before washing it with tepid water
  • Do it once per day

Method 2: Activated charcoal facial scrub

  • Mix the contents of 2 activated charcoal capsules, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of pure honey.
  • Scrub the mixture on your face for once or twice per week to see great results

Notes:

If you use the raw form of activated charcoal, then know that it can leave stains on your clothes. Thus, it is always better to wear old clothes and wash completely after removing the mixture. Also, use a glass container for that mixture.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda may help to balance the skin pH level[9]. Additionally, it acts as an exfoliant that removes dead skin cells. The antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties in baking soda may clear all skin infections and scars. Baking soda, on the other hand, also evens out skin tone and prevents clogged skin pores. It may cleanse the skin deeply by absorbing excess oil on the skin.

Method 1: Baking soda 

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water
  • Apply the paste to your skin and massage in circular motions
  • Wait for a few minutes to rinse with tepid water, followed by cold water
  • Pat the skin dry
  • Re-apply this mixture 3-4 times per week

Warning:

  • Rose water, almond milk, or buttermilk could be used as an alternative for normal water.
  • For relaxing effect, you can add a drop of any essential oil to the mixture.

Method 2: Baking soda and oat flour

Baking soda and oatmeal have a grainy texture that is beneficial for exfoliating the skin to eradicate dead skin cells and activating the skin cells to lighten it.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and water
  • Then, add 2 tablespoons of oat flour to it to have a thick paste
  • Apply the paste to your skin and scrub gently.
  • Wash it off after 2-3 minutes

Method 3: Baking soda detox bath

  • Put 1-2 cups of baking soda and 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bathwater
  • After stirring then well, soak yourself in that solution for 30 minutes and wash your skin with plain water afterward
  • Repeat this method regularly

Also, you can add ¼ cup of cornstarch to it for better results.

Method 4: Baking soda and lemon

  • Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with ½ cup of baking soda
  • Apply it to your skin and rub gently
  • Wait for 5 minutes before washing it off

If you want to get soft skin, add some essential oil or honey to it.

6. Gram Flour

The natural ingredient of gram flour empowers you to lighten your skin naturally. It works for all skin types. Gram flour[10] may control the secretion of oil and absorb excess sebum and oil on your skin. Furthermore, its alkalizing properties maintain a normal pH level of the skin. Using it will remove toxins and dirt from deep skin layers to boost natural glow. It also encourages new skin cell production while tightening sagging skin.

Method 1: Gram flour and rose water

  • Mix gram flour with rose water at a ratio of 1:2
  • After stirring well, apply the mixture to your skin
  • Wait for 20 minutes before removing it using cold water
  • Do this twice or thrice per week

Note: You could also use milk, curd, water, or honey to replace with rose water.

Method 2: Gram flour and fenugreek seeds

This homemade pack will not only brighten the skin but also remove blackheads and whiteheads.

  • After soaking a handful of fenugreek seeds in water for several hours, you grind them to have a good paste
  • Mix it with 2 tablespoons of gram flour, followed by several drops of lemon juice
  • Stir them well and apply it to your skin
  • Wash it off after 20 minutes
  • Repeat this process twice or thrice per week

Method 3: Gram flour and tomato

  • Take a ripe tomato to blend with 1 tablespoon of gram flour
  • Apply it to your skin, gently scrub and wait for 20 minutes to rinse it off with water
  • Repeat this process twice or thrice per week

Note: Add a pinch of turmeric if you want to have extra benefits.

7. Aloe Vera

It is estimated that aloe vera has up to 150 nutritional components, including enzymes, minerals, salicylic acids, lignins, sterols, anthraquinones, and amino acids[11]. Containing 97% water, aloe vera will naturally hydrate your skin without clogging skin pores[12]. Besides, its antioxidants, such as selenium, magnesium, and zinc, may repair and protect the skin from being damaged by harsh chemicals, pollution, and sun[13] [14]. According to a study, the anti-aging properties of aloe vera help to boost the production of elastin and collagen fibers, which makes your skin more supple and less wrinkled[15]. What is more, the vitamins and minerals in aloe vera will alleviate skin pigmentation by decreasing the production of melanin in the skin.

Other benefits that aloe vera may bring to your skin is reducing oil and sebum on the skin and moisturizing and soothing the skin. 

Method 1: Aloe vera and lemon

  • Extract the gel of a fresh aloe vera leaf
  • Mix it with the lemon juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • Put this mixture on your clean skin and rinse it off after 15 minutes

You can store the remaining mixture in the fridge for about 1 week.

Method 2: Aloe vera, tomato, and orange lentil

Tomato has natural bleaching and sunburn-preventing effects[16] while orange lentil helps to reduce the excess oil.

  • Soak orange lentil overnight and then blend it to have a good paste
  • Take the gel of an aloe vera leaf and grate out the pulp from half of a tomato
  • Mix them well and apply the mixture to your skin for 15 minutes
  • Rinse it with cold water 
  • Repeat this routine a few times per week

Other ingredients may be combined with aloe vera for skin whitening are green tea, avocado, oatmeal, cucumber, mango, gram flour, shea butter, sandalwood powder, neem, vitamin E, and rice flour.

8. Sugar

Sugar is one of the great natural products for exfoliation. The texture of sugar exfoliates dead skin cells, revealing new skin layer underneath. Moreover, it helps remove the skin cells damaged by the sun while increasing collagen production and blood flow. According to a study, brown sugar may remove harmful free radicals thanks to its antioxidant properties coming from the volatile and phenolic compounds in it[17]. For scrubbing, you could make use of either white or brown sugar.

  • Mix sugar and honey together at a ratio of 3:2
  • Mix them well and apply a thick layer of this mixture to your skin
  • Massage in circular motions for several minutes
  • Wait for 5 minutes and rinse it off with tepid water
  • Do this routine twice per week

As an alternative, you could also mix sugar with coconut oil, chocolate, essential oils, oatmeal, or any fruit pulp.

9. Salt

Sea salt or Epsom salt[18] may help you to get rid of a tired-looking and lifeless skin[19]. Epsom salt has sulfates and magnesium, which remove toxins from the body and decrease skin inflammation. On the other hand, sea salts have minerals beneficial for the skin. The grainy texture of salt may remove dead skin cells. For scrubbing purpose, you can use either sea salt, or plain salt Epsom salt, and kosher salt.

Method 1:

  • Put ½ and 2 tablespoons of salt in a bowl
  • Then, add 4 tablespoons of salt, the juice extracted from a lemon, and some lavender buds
  • Mix all ingredients well and pour them in an airtight container
  • Next, use enough amount of this mixture to rub on your skin gently
  • After scrubbing for a few minutes, wash it off with water
  • Repeat this routine twice per week

Method 2Salt and essential oils

  • Mix 1 cup of sea salt/Epsom salt with ½ cup of almond oil, followed by 5-10 drops of essential oil (orange, geranium, or peppermint)
  • Mix them together and store in the fridge
  • When you have a bath, use them to massage on your skin for several minutes
  • Wash it off with water and pat it dry
  • Do it twice per week
10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal, among other home remedies for skin whitening, is a gentle exfoliating agent suitable for people with sensitive skin. The gritty nature of oatmeal aids in exfoliating the excess sebum, oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. Also, it reverses skin damage resulted from UV rays, pollution, and harsh chemicals[20].

  • Grind oatmeal to have a coarse powder
  • Mix them with buttermilk to have a thick paste
  • Apply it to your skin and massage it in circular motions for about 2 minutes
  • Wait for a few minutes
  • Wash it off with tepid water and then followed by cool water
  • Follow this method 2 or 3 times per week

You could also mix oatmeal with some ingredients, such as coffee, gram flour, sugar, milk, yogurt, or fruit pulp, to get faster results.

11. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel has potent astringent properties[21], helping shrink open skin pores, kill the bacteria presenting in the skin pores, prevent skin aging[22], and stop cellular damage.

  • Take a cotton ball to apply witch hazel mixed with water to the skin
  • Wait till it dries and rinse it off with water
  • Repeat this routine twice per day
12. Papaya

This fruit is regularly used in many beauty treatments and could be used to help brighten the skin complexion[23] [24]. Papaya is strongly believed to have natural bleaching properties along with a variety of nutrients. The enzyme papain and the alpha-hydroxy acids act as an excellent exfoliator, dissolve inactive proteins, and remove dead skin cells[25]. You can make use of papaya as a fruit, and the cleansing properties of it may cleanse your skin from impurities from inside out. 

Method 1:

  • Blend two papaya peel, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 5-10 drops of lemon juice
  • Mix them well and apply the mixture to your skin
  • Rinse it off after 15 minutes

Note: This method is not suitable for people with sensitive skin.

Method 2: Papaya and milk

The combination of papaya and milk works as an anti-aging and skin firming mask. Additionally, it helps remove blemishes.

  • Mix 1 cup of papaya with 3 tablespoons of milk
  • Apply the mixture to your skin and rinse it off after 20 minutes
  • You can also use curd to replace with milk
  • Repeat this method 2-3 times per day

Method 3: Papaya, banana, and cucumber

This face pack will exfoliate and hydrate the skin and remove scars, dark spots, and pigmentation.

  • Chop ½ ripe papaya and peel it
  • Then, mix it with ½ banana and ¼ cucumber to have a good paste
  • Apply it to your skin and wait for 30 minutes
  • Repeat this routine twice or thrice per week

Method 4: Papaya and orange juice

  • Peel ¼ papaya before chopping it into small pieces
  • Then, mix it with 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  • Apply this mixture to your skin by using your fingertips or a cotton ball
  • Wait for 15 minutes and wash it off
  • Do this twice or thrice per week

Some great ingredients you can combine with papaya include vitamin E oil, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, bentonite clay, aloe vera, almond oil, or pineapple.

13. Turmeric

Often used in cooking, turmeric is also good at improving skin tone. It may reduce the melanin content to help maintain an even skin tone[26]. Besides, with antiseptic and antioxidant properties, turmeric is good for skin health in general[27] [28].

  • Mix turmeric powder with milk cream to have a thick paste
  • Apply that paste to your skin and let it dry before washing it off with tepid water
  • Do it regularly to get noticeable results

Or, you could also mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric, 2 teaspoons of gram flour, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply it to your skin for 20 minutes or until it becomes dry. After scrubbing for a few minutes, you wash your skin with tepid water.

15. Cucumber

As mentioned earlier in the home remedies for skin whitening, cucumber is often combined with other ingredients for skin lightening purpose. Cucumber may increase the production of collagen and give your skin a firm and supple texture. Also, cucumber possesses a cooling effect, and it is suitable for all types of skin. Moreover, cucumbers have high water content. They are made up of approximately 96% water, which is beneficial for proper hydration and moisturizing the skin[29].

  • Prepare some cucumber slices and place them on your skin. Wait for a few minutes before washing it off with water. Do it twice per day.
  • Alternatively, you can also grate a cucumber to mix it with honey to get a spot-reducing face mask. Apply it to your skin and wait for 15 minutes to wash it with cold water. Do it twice per day.
  • Combine 1 teaspoon each of cucumber juice and lemon juice and put the mixture on your skin. After 15 minutes, rinse it off with water. Repeat this routine daily for 2 – 3 weeks.
16. Mint Leaves

Mint is famous for its salicylic acid[30] and astringent properties, so it is helpful in removing dead skin cells and dust, and tightening the skin pores.

  • Take 1 ½ cup of water to boil up
  • Add 1 cup of shredded mint leaves to it and let it simmer for 5 minutes
  • Remove it from the heat and let it steep for another 5 minutes
  • After straining, you let the solution cool down
  • Put a cotton ball into the solution and apply it to your skin
  • Wait until it dries entirely and wash it off with water
  • Store the remaining solution in the fridge
  • Repeat this daily
17. Fruit Mask

If you want to have lighter skin, you can also use fruit masks to get faster results. Fruits are reckoned the best manners to brighten skin color. Even, a fruit mask may enhance the skin radiance, prevent it from being sagged, and increase elasticity naturally. Also, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables confers measurable and noticeably beneficial effects on white skin appearance after six weeks[31]. You could make use of some fruits to create face masks, such as papaya, pineapple, strawberry, kiwi, berries, avocado, apple, etc.

  • Blend any fruit of your choice
  • Apply it to your skin and wait for 15 minutes
  • Wash it off with water and pat the skin dry
  • For added benefits, you could add gram flour, honey, oatmeal, or rice flour.
18. Clay Mask

Clays, one of the must-try home remedies for skin whitening, are renowned for its amazing absorbing and skin lightening properties. Using it will leave your skin firm and supple because clay application increases the production of collagen fibers[32]. Also, it strengthens your skin tissues, lightens scars, and reduces skin inflammation[33]. There are a few types of clays, such as white clay, green clay, kaolin clay, bentonite clay, and morocco clay. You could use any type to get lighter skin.

  • Mix 4 tablespoons of clay with a small amount of water to have a good paste
  • Spread a thick layer of the paste on your skin 
  • Wait for 20 minutes before washing it off entirely
19. Licorice Root Extract

This is a popular remedy for different skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema. It has glabridin that may reduce the production of melanin[34], therefore lightening skin[35]. Also, it is great in treating dark spots and scars on the human skin.

  • Boil some licorice roots
  • Let it cool down and strain it up
  • Apply the extract to your skin and leave it on overnight 
  • Rinse it off with water
20. Milk

If applied topically, the lactic acid in milk may help diminish the visibility of skin pigmentation[36] [37] and lighten complexion, especially milk kefir whey[38]. Also, milk has calcium that aids in maintaining an effective barrier against moisture loss when applied to the top layer of the skin. As a result, the skin will be prevented from excessive dryness[39], a trigger of uneven skin color. If you use milk regularly, it will make your skin lighten up.

Method 1:

  • Pour some milk in a bowl, soak a cotton ball in it, and wring it out
  • Apply it to your skin and remember to soak it again and again
  • Do this for a few minutes and wait for a few hours before rinsing it off with water

Method 2:

  • Soak a lemon slice in ½ cup of milk for about 15 minutes.
  • Rub the lemon slice on your face before your bedtime
  • Wash your skin in the next morning

It is very important to maintain some of the home remedies for skin whitening for a period to get noticeable results. Because they are natural methods, so regular and consistent usage is necessary. It takes time to see visible changes. In case, you use these methods for a significant amount of time without any effect, then you could switch to another method. Also, bear in mind that healthy skin is as crucial as a beautiful skin tone. Thus, maintain healthy skin as well. If you have any contributing idea about this article, feel free to leave your words below this post. We appreciate your comments and will reply as soon as we could.

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