As our skin ages, it changes – not always for the better. Age spots, also called melasma or hyperpigmentation, are areas of dark skin pigment, or melanin, that has gathered on the skin over time. Hyperpigmentation is typically found in people older than 40 years but can be seen in people as young as their mid-20s. Sun exposure is the most common cause of hyperpigmentation, and treatment can range from professional facials to cosmetic surgery. Home remedies can deliver similar results without the harsh chemicals or high price tag.
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Lemons and Hyperpigmentation
Lemons work as an effective natural age spot treatment for several reasons. They contain large amounts of vitamin C, which helps neutralize free radicals in the body and prevent damage to skin. Lemons are naturally antiseptic, which prevents acne, infection and skin irritation. Because of their high citric acid content, lemons can gently slough off dead skin cells, encourage speedy cell turnover and promote the growth of healthy new skin. Over time, including lemons in homemade skin care can lighten the appearance of hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone. Whether your skin is oily, sensitive or has stubborn dark spots, there is a homemade lemon-infused treatment option for your skin type.
Lemon Toner for Oily Skin
A toner is an astringent liquid that is used to tone, brighten and cleanse the skin. Toners are especially effective for people with oily skin, as their generally acidic ingredients break up the dirt and oil that cause breakouts. To make a spot-lightening lemon toner, combine 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, a green tea bag and 1 cup boiling water in a large mug or heat-safe bowl. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes, then remove the bag. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and apply to dry skin in a gentle, sweeping motion. Gently buff problem areas – like uneven spots – with the cotton ball. Do not rinse. A toner can be used twice a day.
Lemon-Apple Mask for Dark Spots
Apples contain phloretin, a powerful anti-oxidant. When phloretin is combined with the vitamin C found in lemons, it can penetrate deep into skin and hinder the formation of wrinkles and age spots. This skin-saving combination is also believed to protect skin at a cellular level, protecting it from the harmful changes that can cause melanoma and other skin cancers. To create a homemade spot-fighting mask, puree one whole apple in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and stir until blended. Apply the mixture to dry skin and let it soak in for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Use the mask twice a week.
Lemon-Papaya Mask for Sensitive Skin
Papaya contains the enzyme peptin, which can brighten the complexion, even out blotchy skin tone and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. Adding papaya to a lemon-infused facial can create a spot-fighting mask that is also gentle on sensitive skin. Yogurt is an additional bleaching agent that contains lactobacillis, healthy bacteria that speeds new cell turnover. Place half a peeled, seeded papaya in a food processor with 2 tablespoons honey, 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/4 cup plain yogurt. Puree the mixture until it is creamy, then apply to dry skin using your fingers. Let the mask soak in for 15 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. This mask can be used up to three times a week.
- Mayo Clinic: Age Spots (liver spots)
- "Allure"; The Newest Anti-Aging Ingredients You Should Be Using; Lindsy Van Gelder
- "Natural At-Home Beauty"; Janice Cox; 1994; pg. 33-34
- "Naturally Skinsational: Rejuvinating Skin Care Recipes"; Sue Dolan; 2009; pg. 29