What’s the most amount of skin lightening possible?
This depends on the method used to lighten your skin or dark marks. And whether you choose to use natural methods or completely chemical methods.
Natural methods of skin lightening
I use the term ‘natural methods’ here loosely. You’ll see that exfoliation by using AHAs is classified as natural means below (even though these are made in a lab). This is because with gentle acids or light peels, you’re not doing much more than exfoliating the top layers of your skin to increase cell turnover – which is what your body does anyway on its own, you’re just speeding it up.
Natural methods to brighten the skin tone and fade dark marks
|Manual exfoliation||Acid exfoliation (gentle)|
|Alpha hydroxy acids|
Beta hydroxy acids
Low to medium acid peel concentrations
Natural fruit acids like lemon juice
|Internal methods||External methods|
|Raw food diet|
Avoiding sun exposure
Wearing protective clothing
The lightest shade possible for each person
Excluding skin conditions like vitiligo (where the body is actively attacking melanin-producing skin cells), by using only natural skin lightening methods consistently, skin can become as light as it was when you were a baby. That is the lightest shade that can be derived naturally.
Why is a baby’s skin color a good indicator?
Your skin color when you were born is a good indicator of the maximum possible extent your skin can lighten in adulthood because that was your skin before environmental and lifestyle factors could have an effect on it.
From the first year of your life to now, you would have lived through thousands of days of sun exposure, harmful pollutants, and chemicals – all of which would have darkened your skin, both internally and externally.
Some common causes of skin darkening over the years are…
- Daily sun exposure. How many thousands of hours have you spent playing outdoors while you were a kid, going to the beach, swimming, playing organized sports at school?
- Environmental damage. Damage from the environment in the form of pollution, toxins and chemicals can make your skin appear dull and darker. Unfortunately, unless you live in a rural commune these toxins are in everything you touch, eat, and drink. If you live in the city or near an industrial area, the very air you breathe is full of toxins.
- Poor diet/lifestyle. Who amongst us hasn’t eaten greasy cheeseburgers and french fries, only to wash it down with sodas? While junk food may taste good, the frightening truth is that we become what we eat. Every cell in our bodies is made up of the nourishment we choose to ingest, and eating a poor diet filled with fat, sugar and preservatives will affect your health and give you drier, darker-looking and more damaged skin.
- Hormonal changes. Hormones can wreck havor on our bodies and our skin. Some of the causes of hormonal changes include puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, and even eating hormone-injected meat. I won’t even mention the xenoestrogens we ingest. (Oops.)
There are of course other ways to lighten skin color beyond what you were born with as a baby. But I wouldn’t recommend them.