Tips for Lighter Skin

1. Keep out of the sun.

Obvious perhaps, and sometimes hard to avoid. If you must be out of doors, keep your skin well concealed by wearing long sleeves, hats, shawls and other protective garments. Staying out of the sun trumps all other methods for correcting or preventing tanning, freckles and sunburn.

2. Use sunscreen properly.

Always use a good sunscreen. Many people complain "I use sunscreen and it doesn't work!" This is because many people do not use sunscreen correctly. First of all, always use an SPF of 40 or higher -- low SPF sunscreen barely works at all for light-skinned folks in harsh sun. Secondly, apply the sunscreen very liberally. Many people don't use a sufficient quantity of the product. Finally, remember that the sunscreen needs to be reapplied several times a day -- about every 1-2 hours.

3. Exfoliate.

Scrub away damaged, tanned or freckled skin to allow fresh clear skin to regenerate. Many of the lightening recipes on this site are nothing more than strong exfoliating treatments. Facial and body scrubs, microdermabrasions, chemical peels, alpha hydroxy lotions and retinol products all produce this effect -- just be careful not to use too many of these methods together or your skin may become overly sensitive.

4. Keep moisturized.

There is evidence to suggest dry skin increases melanin production (melanin being the chemical which colors the skin.) Additionally, dry skin can become irritated and take on a reddish tint that mimics the look of a tan. You can use a skin lightening lotion to increase the beneficial effects of this step.

5. Be persistant.

All it takes is one slip-up to ruin months of work. You may achieve light, clear skin then accidentally go for a long walk without a hat and poof! you have to start over from scratch. You will also burn, freckle and tan much more easily once you've lightened your skin, so be attentive to upkeep once you start.

Photo by Javier BaƱo.