Herbs for Skin Whitening
Some people seek an all-purpose formula to whiten hands, body or the complexion, while others look for natural whiteners to fade age spots and freckles. In most cases, the same formulas can be used for either all over whitening or targeted fading. There is no scientific evidence that these herbs work better or even as well as over-the-counter or prescription skin lighteners, and some may cause allergic reactions, so use with caution.
Lady’s MantleNamed for its reputed ability to aid a number of women’s problems, from heavy periods to sagging breasts, lady’s mantle also boasts a reputation for lightening and softening skin. To fade freckles and age spots, herbalist Lesley Bremness suggests crushing fresh leaves to extract their juice. Dab this juice on the skin you want to lighten, leave for several minutes and rinse off. Alternatively, infuse the leaves in hot water and use this herbal water in place of plain water in lotion recipes. Ask your dermatologist about using lady's mantle, and test a small patch of skin before applying it to a large amount of skin. The herb is a traditional, rather than well-researched, whitening remedy.
ChamomileMore famous as a hair lightener than a skin whitener, chamomile nonetheless works effectively to whiten hands and the complexion, according to Bremness. Infuse the flowers or a few bags of chamomile tea for use as a facial steam. Alternatively, cool and strain the mixture and use as a skin-whitening hand soak. Ask your dermatologist about using chamomile, and test a small patch of skin before using this traditional whitening herb on a larger area.
Lemon JuiceThe acidity of lemon juice gives the citrus fruit its ability to strip away darker outer skin layers and reveal lighter skin underneath. The juice works best for targeted areas, such as age spots and freckles, or even for removing tobacco stains between your fingers. Apply the juice with a cotton ball. Lemon juice can irritate the eyes and sting open wounds; use caution when squeezing and applying the juice. Avoid if you have citrus allergies, and check with your dermatologist.
Red OnionsBecause red onions contain acid compounds similar to those found in lemons, a red onion slice represents another targeted approach for dark patches of skin. Rub a fresh slice on the area daily. Be careful to not rub the onion near your eyes or an open wound, and do not use if you are allergic to onions. Ask your doctor before trying any herbal cures.
Egg WhitesEgg whites dramatically tone your skin and temporarily shrink your pores. Combine the white of a small, cold egg with 1 tsp. cornstarch in a mixing bowl, and beat with a wire whisk or fork until it's frothy. The mixture should not be lumpy. Apply a thin, even layer to your face, and lie down on your back for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture dries completely. Rinse with warm water, and repeat once or twice weekly as needed.
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