Safe alternatives to Hydroquinone
With the change of seasons and the cool weather our natural movement to indoor life calls us and our contact with the suns rays becomes significantly decreased. This causes two changes. One - we loose the vital Vitamin D from the suns rays our body needs, and two - as a result our skin lightens as the summer skin cells shed. This is when so many spots that had been developing from the sun and were hiding under tanned skin also begin to appear darker in contrast to the lighter tone.
The first thought we might have is how did I get these spots, and then we want to know how to get rid of them.
Dermatologists will often turn to Hydroquinone when a complaint is raised about new dark spots or hyper-pigmentation (melasma). That was the first option I was offered by my own dermatologist. It was explained to me to only use it on the dark spots or I would have an overall lightening of the skin. To reverse the effects of dark spots caused by hormone changes and hyperpimentation from using other endocrine disrupting products on my skin was to add another to the cocktail?
What is the endocrine system? Your endocrine system is responsible for regulating your hormones. Your hormones work for you to regulate sleep, mood, metabolism and the amazing reproductive system. So by using the hydroquinone, I was adding a a hormone disruptor to an already established issue with imbalanced hormones... Problem. Learn more about endocrine disruptors here.
What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone or tocopheryl acetate - Depigmenting agent. It can lighten dark patches on the skin.
In 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration revoked its previous approval of hydroquinone and proposed a ban on all over-the-counter preparations. The FDA stated that hydroquinone cannot be ruled out as a potential carcinogen. source The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
To avoid the dark spots caused by hormone changes in the first place, become familiar with ingredients in your products that have established research on the ingredients causing endocrine system disruption. Another major player is BpA. The stuff that makes plastic stiff, and hides in everything. You can look for many products that now put clearly on their packaging, they are BpA free.
If you have already taken your bath (literally because they are in the fragrance of your bath bombs or figuratively your shower with Suave) in endocrine disruptors, and have the resulting dark spots or hyper pigmentation then there are natural ways to help fade them. After removing the culprits from my beauty and self care and using the right natural oils and food based masks, I have seen a serious reduction, if not disappearance in my raccoon rings of hyper pigmentation. It took time months to years and not repeating the offense by going back to hormone disrupting products, but they are now almost invisible when I wear makeup.
Here are some awesome natural ways to help care for your dark spots.
Brightening Mask Recipe from Wellness Mama - Katie
- 1 teaspoon raw manuka honey or organic honey
- 1/2 teaspoon organic brown sugar (or regular sugar but it is more abrasive) – Optional, but good for exfoliating
- 1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder (natural source) or fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 drops of high quality lavender essential oil
- Mix all ingredients together.
- Massage onto face for 1-2 minutes in a gentle, circular motion.
- Leave on for 5 minutes to 45 minutes.
- Rinse off with warm water and a wash cloth.
- Finish with a Vitamin C or apple cider vinegar toner (optional).
- Repeat as needed for clear skin.
Note: If you use the Vitamin C powder instead of the lemon juice, this mask will have a shelf life of several months at least. When using the Vitamin C powder, I mix a triple batch and store in a small jar in the bathroom for use every few days.
Mushroom Superpowers -
This is best for those looking to target dark spots though it says to use all over the face, it will last longer if used for the trouble areas.Citrus -
This serum is awesome for overall brightening of the completion especially if it's been sunburned several times over the summer, and hasn't been pampered back into shape. I love this serum for my skin.
Oil Based Serum-
Food Based Quick Fix -
When I am in a pinch I grab a lemon slice it, squeeze it and add a bit of honey and have a simple face mask. (note: do not use lemon juice on irritated, inflamed, or broken skin, it will burn.)
Do you have hyper-pimentation or brown spots?