What can I do to lighten dark skin?

Dermatologist Fernanda Ota explains how to choose the best whitening method

Although common, the blackening of certain parts of the body can greatly affect self-esteem. This is why many people end up using dangerous skin bleaching methods, which circulate on the internet without showing the health risks they pose.

In other words, the big problem with these home treatments is not their ineffectiveness, but their ability to attack the skin barrier even more, worsening the appearance of the area already sensitized and generating irreversible scars.

How to lighten skin safely

So, before starting any treatment, it is recommended to consult a dermatologist to first identify the cause of skin hyperpigmentation – which can involve friction with clothes, excessive sun exposure, stress and even bad habits. food¹𑁦² .

During the consultation, the professional must analyze the characteristics of the skin, listen to the patient’s complaints and, if necessary, request tests, and only then define how the spots can be treated.

Generally, creams with or without acids, nutrient supplementation, laser or pulsed light technologies are used to reverse the problem. However, only the doctor will know what is best for each case.

Tips to Avoid Browning

Despite the many treatment options, it is always important to focus on prevention. For this, the main advice is to avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., because the sun’s rays can not only cause spots, but also intensify them.

It is also recommended to adopt habits beneficial to general health, such as following a balanced diet³, drinking plenty of water⁴, always sleeping well and relieving stress⁵ through physical and/or leisure activities, as these factors promote healthier skin, protected from external agents, which often cause imperfections.

All this is important because the darkening of the skin barrier is not only linked to aesthetic problems and can even indicate diseases. Therefore, it should be treated and prevented properly, especially by those with a greater predisposition to hyperpigmentation, such as dark or very light skinned people.


1 – STRUMIA, R.; VAROTTI, E. et al. Cutaneous signs in anorexia nervosa. dermatology, v. 203, no. 4, p. 314-7, 2001. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11752819/. Accessed 26 Jul 2022

2- SANTRA, G.; PAUL, R.; GHOSH et al. Generalized hyperpigmentation in vitamin B12 deficiency. J Associate Doctors Indiasoc. Doctors India, c. 62, no. 8, p. 714-6, 2014. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25856944/. Accessed 26 Jul 2022

3 – PARKE, MA; PEREZ-SANCHEZ, A. et al. Diet and skin barrier: the role of dietary interventions on skin barrier function. Dermatol. Practice Concept., v. 11, no. 1, 2021. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33614213/. Accessed 26 Jul 2022

4 – BRAZILIAN SOCIETY OF DERMATOLOGY. Daily skin care. Available at: https://www.sbd.org.br/cuidados-diarios-com-a-pele/. Accessed 26 Jul 2022

5 – OYETAKIN-WHITE, P.; SUGGS, A. et al. Does poor sleep quality affect skin aging?. Clinic Exp. Dermatol., v. 40, no. 1, p. 17 – 22, 2015. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25266053/. Accessed 26 Jul 2022

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