9 Skin Lightening Home Remedies That Work Surprisingly Well

Although we can all agree that all skin colors are beautiful, it also cannot be denied that a lot of women long to achieve a lighter complexion. Whether it be the want to achieve skin that’s just a shade lighter or the want to achieve a snow white type of complexion, there is no shortage in products and procedures that promise to cater to these desires.

Not everyone though has access to these remedies – it could be lack of funds, lack of access, or incompatibility, among other reasons.

Which is why it’s a good thing there are a bunch of things you can do right at home to effectively lighten the skin. Here’s a list of the most effective skin lightening home remedies you already have sitting in your kitchen cabinets!

The best part? They’re all natural and free of unwanted side effects so combine them to your heart’s content 🙂


skin lightening home remedies

This is something that most Asian women can attest to as using rice water and rice powder has long been a popular remedy for softer, healthier, and lighter skin. And seeing how a lot of Asian women have beautiful skin, we would do well to take their word for it.

In fact, there are a handful of reasons why rice is effective in lightening the skin. It contains para aminobenzoic acid, ferulic acid, and allantoin, among others that protect and lighten the skin.

It is also very easy to create a mask out of rice and milk. First step is to grind uncooked rice into powder (or simply buy finely ground rice powder). Once you have your rice powder, simply add milk to form a paste. This paste can now be used as a mask for your face or whatever areas you want to lighten. Apply the paste, leave on for around 20 to 30 minutes or until dry, and rinse off with warm water as per usual.

Rice powder with milk is so effective that you need to do this at least once a week only before seeing results in about a month.


skin lightening home remedies

We already know of the many bodily benefits that milk brings when consumed. But it is actually also effective when applied topically – especially on the skin; a reason for which most products that promise to enhance the skin include milk as one of the main ingredients. According to dermatologist Dr. Surbhi of Dermatocare, milk does wonders by hydrating, exfoliating, soothing, and lightening skin.

The lactic acid found in it is what reduces the skin’s pigmentation when applied.

Using milk as a remedy for skin lightening is simple. Simply take a washcloth and dip it into a bowl of milk. Gently massage the washcloth onto clean skin and let it dry. After a few minutes rinse off with lukewarm water. Do this regularly and after a few weeks you will notice that your skin has become a shade or two lighter.


Not only is yogurt popular for its health benefits and as a staple for dieters – it also enhances the skin and makes it lighter when applied. Applying yogurt topically on the skin is actually something that can be traced way back to Ancient Egypt, with Cleopatra herself known for her daily sour milk baths.

Since yogurt is a by product of milk, it also contains lactic acid known for its bleaching properties. Aside from this, it contains zinc, calcium, and B vitamins – which all help skin become not only lighter but also healthier.

When used as a remedy, it is best to go with unsweetened (plain) yogurt. Gently rub yogurt onto clean skin and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Do this daily to see changes in just a few weeks. You can also add other ingredients into yogurt for even better results. N.Y.C. dermatologist Whitney Bowe swears by using a weekly mask consisting of “probiotic-rich Greek yogurt, half an avocado, and one tablespoon of honey”.

Oranges (especially peels)

skin lightening home remedies

Oranges are known for being a good source of vitamin C which is an essential nutrient in keeping skin healthy. Regular consumption of oranges help your skin remain supple with good texture, while using it topically can lighten your skin’s complexion.

There are different ways you can go about in using oranges as a skin whitening agent. First is by combining two tablespoons of orange juice and a pinch of turmeric powder. This mixture can be applied to the face and other body parts such as the arms and legs. Leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.

Another way is to make orange ice cubes with fresh orange juice. These ice cubes can then be massaged onto the face for around 4 to 5 minutes daily for a lighter complexion.

Third is by making powder out of orange peels that have been dried and crisped under the sun (you can always purchase pre-made powders). Mix this powder with yogurt to create a paste that can be applied on your body and left to dry for around 20 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water after.

Last tip: You can also blend fresh orange peels and mix it into a DIY sugar scrub for an all natural way to lighten your body skin or get rid of a tan!


Oat meal is another food item that is popular for its health benefits and is also a staple for dieters. But did you know that it can also be used as an effective exfoliant that can lighten the skin?

A study conducted by the Bowie State University reveals that instant oatmeal, prepared and cooked, helps to slough off dead skin cells. And we all know how the presence of dead skin cells can make our complexions look less bright. Saponin found in oatmeal cleanses the skin and removes toxins that cause discoloration.

The amino acids, meanwhile lightens scars, dark spots, and discoloration. Lipids, proteins, and antioxidants lastly all keep the skin moisturized and nourished.

To use oatmeal topically, you can simply cook a plain unsweetened batch and let cool for around 15 minutes. After this, you can proceed with massaging it onto your skin and leave on for 15 minutes or until it dries and then rinse with warm water. You can also make a paste out of oatmeal and other natural lightening ingredients like papaya, yogurt, potato juice, milk, and so on.


skin lightening home remedies

Most of us who want to achieve lighter skin have probably used papaya soap or any other papaya infused product at some point. But, papaya is actually also effective when used naturally. In fact, eating papaya daily can help lighten a person’s complexion. Even more effective is when papaya is used topically.

Papaya contains the enzyme papain which decreases skin pigmentation and vitamin A which reduces dark spots.

You can use papaya as a skin lightening agent in many ways such as by crushing it into a paste and applying onto the skin. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Papaya pastes can be enhanced by adding ingredients such as honey, milk, egg white, orange juice, or aloe vera.

Alternatively, you can use papaya peels by directly massaging onto your skin for around 2 to 3 minutes and then rinsing after about 15 minutes. According to Dermatologist Dr. Surbhi of Dermatocare, this is the most effective way of using papaya to lighten the skin. Apparently the enzyme papain which we mentioned above is present in the highest concentration in the peel of papaya leading to maximum benefits when used.


Pumpkin tends to be quite overlooked not only in the skin department but also for its overall health benefits. If you want to lighten your skin a shade or two, making a pumpkin mask at home is another option you can look into.

Pumpkins are loaded with antioxidants and exfoliating acids as well as beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C, which all help in lightening the skin. The International Dermal Institute also adds that pumpkins are loaded with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that brighten and smoothen the skin through increased cell turnover.

To make a pumpkin mask, you are going to first make a puree out of several pieces of pumpkin. You can do this by simply boiling your pumpkin pieces and then putting them in an immersion blender.

After this, simply mix two teaspoons of the pumpkin puree, ½ teaspoon of honey, and ½ teaspoon of milk to form a paste. You can now proceed with applying this paste onto your face and other areas you wish to lighten and leave on for about 20 minutes. As always, rinse with warm water afterwards.

Potato juice

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You probably didn’t think that potato juice would make it to this list. Potato juice is actually rich in vitamin C and other antioxidant properties. Aside from that it has a mild bleaching agent that whitens the skin and removes dead cells.

What’s more ideal is how easy it is to use as a skin lightening agent. You need but one peeled potato cut into inch sized pieces. You can then use these pieces by simply rubbing onto areas you want to lighten so that the potato’s juice is spread onto your skin.

Leave the juice on for about 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off with water. An alternative would be to grate the potato, squeeze out the juice, and apply onto the skin with a washcloth or cotton.

Gram flour

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Whether you call it gram flour or chickpea flour, it doesn’t matter – as long as you put it on your face! The ladies of India and Southeast Asia have been reaping the instant skin whitening benefits of this all natural flour for ages.

The powder has a soft, grainy quality that’s perfect to use as both a face mask and a gentle exfoliator – both of which come with skin lightening benefits – and you’ll see the results pretty much instantly. Just a ten to fifteen minute mask is long enough to see why this natural skin lightener has become a global favorite.

Armed with these home remedies to lighten skin, you don’t have to spend a lot of money just to achieve a fairer complexion.  The perfect ingredient may be lurking right in your kitchen!

Your skin will no doubt thank you for feeding it with natural ingredients and in no time you’ll be saying to hello to a lighter and brighter complexion.