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Simple Home Remedies For Skin Whitening

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more


We all face issues related to our skin at various points in our life. The colour of the skin plays an important role in a person’s appearance. The skin contains cells called melanocytes. These melanocytes are responsible for producing melanin, a pigment that imparts colour to the skin. When the skin turns darker than normal due to overproduction of melanin, this condition is called hyperpigmentation.1. Tanning is the skin’s response to damage caused by harmful rays of the sun. The skin turns darker because of melanin, which is produced by the skin to prevent further skin damage.2

Skin whitening agents may be used when the skin has turned darker than usual and in case of hyperpigmentation. Some skin colour changes can return to normal without any treatment.1

skin whitening home remedies

Did you know?

What Causes Skin Darkening?

Skin colour is the result of the presence of melanin in the skin. The skin turns darker than normal due to the overproduction of melanin. Melanin overproduction is a consequence of sun exposure and tanning.1,3

When the skin is overexposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVA), it protects itself from sun damage by producing melanin. The formation of more melanin is what makes the skin darker than usual.2

Symptoms of Skin Darkening:

If your skin has turned darker than your usual skin tone, you might be having skin darkening.1

Skin lightening creams should be used under medical supervision without which they may cause more harm than benefit in the form of scarring, excess darkening or excess lightening of the skin, with sometimes visible blood vessels on the surface of the skin. Caution is advised while using Skin lightening creams.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Suggested Home Remedies for Skin Brightening:

Home remedies for skin whitening are as follows:

1. Coffee and Tea

The ultraviolet (UV) rays are the major component of sunlight that causes hyperpigmentation. Consumption of coffee and tea might be beneficial for reducing skin hyperpigmentation. The polyphenols present in coffee might be responsible for this benefit.4 You can make a mask or paste using fresh coffee grounds and apply it directly to your skin. You can use facemasks with tea and apply them directly to the affected area.

2. Saffron

Saffron has skin whitening and tan lightening properties. It can be taken with milk to impart a glow and lighten the skin colour. It also provides protection from damage due to the sun’s UV rays.5 You can put saffron in your homemade facemasks to get benefits.

3. Grape Seeds

Grape seeds are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and Vitamin E. The antioxidant property of grape seeds is helpful in dealing with hyperpigmentation. The antioxidant activity inhibits the enzyme responsible for producing melanin.5

4. Green Tea

The presence of certain chemical constituents in green tea provides protective benefits to the skin against harmful UV radiation present in sun rays.5 You can put green tea in your face pack and apply it to the affected area.

5. Beefsteak Plant

It is used as a skin-lightening agent that can manage hyperpigmentation. It is also used as an ingredient in many herbal cosmetics because of its anti-ageing and antioxidant benefits.5 Its seed oil can be used on the skin to get the benefits.

6. Liquorice Root

Liquorice root contains glabridin, which is referred to as whitening gold because of its skin whitening properties. Glabridin is a common ingredient of many cosmetics meant for skin whitening. Liquorice exerts a skin whitening effect by stopping an enzyme essential for melanin formation.6 You can use liquorice root to make powder. This powder can be applied directly to the skin to get the benefits. You can also include this powder in your facemask recipes.

7. Protecting the Skin from the Sun

It may help prevent hyperpigmentation of the skin. You can follow these steps to avoid sun damage:

  • Applying sunscreen every day: Go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen (that blocks both UVA and UVB). Also, it should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  • Wearing protective clothing or hats before going out in the sun
  • When using a sunblock, use a physical blocker like titanium oxide or zinc oxide.7

Also Read: Dark Inner Thighs: Research-Based Causes and Management Options

Though there are studies that show the benefits of the given herbs and home remedies in this condition, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these herbs and home remedies on human health.  Thus, these should be only taken under the guidance and supervision of your ayurvedic physician.

Grape seed extract contains proanthocyanidin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Although, there are no studies on the topical use of grape seed extract, but oral intake for 6 months has been found beneficial in patients with melasma . Also grape seed extracts has many beneficial health effects apart from skin lightening.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

When to Seek Medical Help?

You should consult a dermatologist if you notice:

  • Persistent and unexplained skin darkening2
  • A skin sore or lesion that changes shape, size, or colour (maybe a sign of skin cancer)2
  • If you want to treat the dark spots and patches on the skin.3
  • In case of hyperpigmentation, if you notice these signs on your skin, you need to contact a healthcare provider:
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Hot to the touch
  • Pain
  • Leakage of blood or pus7

You must not rely on home remedies for the treatment of this   condition you should consult a qualified doctor for any advice for the condition.

Also Read: Healthy Skin Tips: Research-Backed Strategies for a Glowing Complexion


Skin darkening and hyperpigmentation can have many underlying causes that stimulate the overproduction of melanin in the skin.1 There are home remedies that might be useful in lightening the tan and giving skin whitening effects. These are commonly found ingredients, like tea, coffee and saffron.4, 5 Skin whitening is a personal choice, and it should not depend on somebody else’s opinion. But if you experience a severe form of hyperpigmentation or unexplained skin darkening, you need to contact a dermatologist.1,7

Also Read: Natural Home Remedies for Hyperpigmentation

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the home remedies for skin whitening?

Coffee is a good home remedy for skin lightening, as it is helpful in reducing hyperpigmentation. Herbal remedies like saffron, grape seeds, liquorice, green tea, and Beefsteak plant might also be beneficial in skin whitening and preventing skin damage.4–6

Why does the skin turn dark in sunlight?

Overexposure to UV radiation present in the sunlight causes the skin to produce melanin. This melanin turns the skin darker to prevent further damage to the skin.2

What can be the causes of hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation can have many causes: pregnancy, use of certain drugs, build-up of iron in the body (haemochromatosis), skin inflammation, Addison’s disease, and birthmarks.1

Should I visit a doctor if I experience skin darkening?

If you experience sudden or unexplained skin darkening, you should seek immediate medical help.1

Is hyperpigmentation normal?

Though not normal, hyperpigmentation is a common condition. It may make people self-conscious, but specific lifestyle changes and treatments may be helpful in managing hyperpigmentation.7

What can I do to prevent hyperpigmentation and skin darkening?

You can start by protecting your skin from the sun; it may help prevent hyperpigmentation. You can follow these steps to avoid sun damage: Applying sunscreen every day; Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB and has an SPF of 30 or higher. You can also wear protective clothing or hats before going out in the sun. If you use sunblock, use a physical blocker like titanium oxide or zinc oxide.7

Are dark patches on the skin normal during pregnancy?

The patches of dark brown or light brown skin that appear during pregnancy are called melasma. It appears because of the overproduction of cells that make melanin. Melasma is a relatively common, harmless, and normal occurrence that might fade on its own after a few months. You can seek medical help from a dermatologist as well.8


  1. Abnormally dark or light skin: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Last updated on: 2022 Mar 21. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003242.htm
  2. Tanning: MedlinePlus [Internet]. Last updated on: 2020 Dec 9. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/tanning.html
  3. How to fade dark spots in darker skin tones [Internet]. Last updated on: 2022 Mar 3. Available from: https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/routine/fade-dark-spots
  4. Fukushima Y, Takahashi Y, Kishimoto Y, Taguchi C, Suzuki N, Yokoyama M, et al. Consumption of Polyphenols in Coffee and Green Tea Alleviates Skin Photoaging in Healthy Japanese Women. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Mar 30];13:165. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32104042/
  5. Kaur A, Gurjeet Singh T, Dhiman S, Arora S, Babbar R. NOVEL HERBS USED IN COSMETICS FOR SKIN AND HAIR CARE : A REVIEW. Vol. 20. 2020. Available from: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/NOVEL-HERBS-USED-IN-COSMETICS-FOR-SKIN-AND-HAIR-%3A-A-Kaur-Singh/ab3c9cdb988252358eb43a1abf69048f2c6892ec
  6. Cerulli A, Masullo M, Montoro P, Piacente S. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis, and G. inflata) and Their Constituents as Active Cosmeceutical Ingredients. Cosmetics 2022, Vol 9, Page 7 [Internet]. 2022 Jan 5 [cited 2022 Mar 30];9(1):7. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/9/1/7/htm
  7. Hyperpigmentation: Age Spots, Sun Spots & Liver Spots [Internet]. Last updated on: 2021 Oct 7. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21885-hyperpigmentation
  8. Melasma: Treatment, Causes & Prevention [Internet]. Last updated on: 2020 Jul 27. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21454-melasma

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.



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