Dark spots or skin pigmentation is one of the most common worries in India. And that’s because we’re more susceptible to skin pigmentation since brown skin has more natural pigment or melanin than Caucasians. One of the most common signs of ageing, even-toned skin is the need of the hour. While the beauty industry is full of actives & laser treatments to brighten skin and reduce pigmentation, we’re going to take note of potent Ayurvedic formulations and ingredients that have stood the test of time and are equally effective in reducing skin pigmentation.
But first, let’s discuss the possible causes of skin pigmentation, Let’s get started.
You may have heard about a natural pigment called melanin that’s present in the skin. Each of us has the same number of cells that produce melanin known as melanocytes. Yet the amount of melanin these cells produce varies from person to person and determines our skin colour.
However, due to certain external and internal factors, there can be an increase in melanin production, leading to skin pigmentation on the face or body . These include
Long term exposure to UV rays (UVA and UVB) without sunscreen can cause sun damage including dark spots, a common form of pigmentation.
Internal changes in the body such as a change in hormone levels, or conditions such PCOS, thyroid, pregnancy can cause skin pigmentation.
Melasma is a very common worry for expecting or new mothers due to hormonal changes in the body. Blue or grey-brown patches usually found on the face are commonly known as melasma.This is more common between the ages of 20-40.
Leftover marks caused by pimples, acne or even eczema in some cases is referred to as post-inflammatory pigmentation or PIH.
Other common causes of pigmentation include side effects of certain medicines and skin irritation.
These are also known as age spots, sunspots and Solar lentigines.
Usually caused by genetic predisposition, Melasma shows up on the face as large brown patches during or after pregnancy.
Commonly known as PIH, it’s your skin’s response to an injury like acne, friction and more.
There are many Ayurvedic formulations and skin pigmentation creams with a variety of ingredients that do help reduce pigmentation, with regular usage. With time, cosmetic treatments have also progressed leaps and bounds and offer many solutions to pigmentation.
However, today, we will be discussing Ayurvedic ingredients that can, in time, reduce pigmentation.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that an imbalance of Pitta and Vata, can cause skin pigmentation. So, apart from using skin pigmentation creams & oils , which we discuss shortly, it is important to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
An Ayurvedic formulation prescribed for dull, pigmented and ageing skin, it is formulated with saffron, manjishtha, sandalwood and liquorice extracts. Not only does this reduce hyperpigmentation on the face, but also illuminates skin.
Described as a natural skin illuminator in Ayurveda, Nalpamaradi Thailam is a miracle oil that brightens the complexion. With barks from four different species of Ficus trees, it also has ingredients like vetiver, turmeric and amla to help reduce pigmentation. Known for its detanning properties, Nalpamaradi Thailam can be used on the face and body.
A traditional concoction of herbs, it uses a base of coconut milk and sesame oil, it is suitable to be applied on the face and body. Please note: Not ideal for those with acne-prone skin.
Other than these ready-to-use oil blends, bookmark these three wonderful ayurvedic herbs and DIY skin packs for skin brightening:
This is an Ayurvedic herb that is a blood purifier and can treat the skin from within. It is believed to be an effective pitta pacifier. You can consume it in the form of a capsule (after consulting an Ayurvedic doctor) or make a face pack with manjistha powder with honey.
Make most of turmeric’s brightening properties by applying wild turmeric (also known as kasturi manjal) and mixing it with cow’s milk for a DIY face pack for skin pigmentation. It also gives your skin a healthy, natural glow. Please note: apply sunscreen while stepping outdoors when using turmeric in your beauty routine.
Liquorice contains liquiritin which is an active compound that disperses the existing melanin on skin. You can combine a tablespoon of liquorice powder with half tablespoon of sandalwood powder with some raw milk to get an easy, homemade face pack that brightens skin. Use this thick pack twice a week for best results.
There are studies that suggest desi ghee is effective in treating skin pigmentation. Abundant in short-chain fatty acids and vitamins and antioxidants, ghee helps reduce oxidative stress and maintains healthy skin. This carotene also shields your skin from UV rays which are also known to cause pigmentation. While some of our products have ghee in it, you can also make your own DIY Face Pack. Here's how to use it: Combine 1-2 teaspoons of gram flour, amba haldi or kasturi manjal and a couple of drops of lemon juice. Mix it well and use it as a face pack to treat pigmentation on skin.
Here are some quick ways to use liquorice powder for different skin types:
For Oily skin: Take powdered orange peel with one tablespoon of liquorice powder and 5-6 drops of lemon juice. Mix it and use this paste for skin brightening for oily skin while also getting rid of excess oil.
For Dry skin: Mix honey and liquorice powder into a paste and use it as a hydrating face pack for dry skin that also helps brighten it.
For Normal skin: For normal skin, mix aloe vera gel and liquorice powder to make a soothing face pack that nourishes the skin and helps with skin brightening.
Here are a few home remedies you can try for removing dark spots and dark patches:
Lactic acid is known to lighten patches and dark spots effectively. Soak a cotton pad in milk or yogurt and apply it over your face.
Simply apply apple cider vinegar mixed with water on your dark patches. Leave it for some time and wash it off. Acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar helps lighten skin pigmentation.
Take off the skin of the red onion and dry it naturally. Grind it into a powder and use it in combination with honey, or milk to apply it over your dark spots.
Rich in a substance called lycopene, tomato juice is proven to reverse the damage on skin caused by the sun. It is helpful to both apply it on your skin and make it a part of your diet.
Soak red lentils overnight and grind them into a paste in the morning with some water. Apply this paste as a face pack twice a week to get rid of pigmentation.
So now you know every skin brightening treatment, DIY remedies as well as Ayurvedic products that can help in treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Start including them in your skincare regime NOW to get the results ASAP!
Manavi Siddhanti is our in-house content manager at Kama Ayurveda. A former Beauty Editor & Consultant with over 14 years of experience in the media industry.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.