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  5. How To Lighten Your Freckles With Ayurvedic Remedies?

Have you noticed developing circular dark spots on your skin every time you step out into the sun? Freckles are an indication of skin damage, showing your skin’s low tolerance to the sun.

Usually, freckles are harmless and some of you might even embrace them to add to your beauty. However, if you wish to lighten their appearance, Ayurveda recommends a list of ‘Varnya’ herbs that have excellent skin brightening properties.

Including them in your regular skin care can strengthen your skin barrier and give you a spotless complexion. Scroll down to know what causes freckles on your skin and the best Ayurvedic remedies to lighten them.

What Are Freckles?

Freckles [1] are a group of tiny, dark ,circular patches on your skin that usually occur due to excess sun exposure. These skin lesions are formed when melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) in a certain area over-produce melanosomes, leading to hyper-pigmentation of your keratinocytes (uppermost layer of skin cells).

Freckles can appear on the face, arms, chest, back and any other part of your body that is constantly exposed to the sun. People with light coloured skin are often more prone to developing freckles.

Freckles are of two types, Ephelides and Lentigines. While ephelides can affect both children and adults, solar lentigines [2] (sun spots/ age spots/ liver spots) are more prevalent among the middle aged and older population. Though both types are UV radiation induced skin conditions, ephelides usually have an underlying genetic condition in play.

Having freckles on the skin is considered a fashion trend in many cultures. Hence, women who don't have freckles apply henna spots on their face to create a freckled look.

Are Freckles Bad?

Freckles are benign, so there's nothing to worry if you have them. They occur when your skin is over exposed to harmful UV radiation. However, the occurrence of freckles indicates your skin has suffered photodamage. This can increase the probability of developing melanoma ( a type of skin cancer). Thus, it is mandatory to take precaution in order to avoid further skin damage.

What Causes Freckles To Appear?

woman checking freckles on face in mirror

Melanin, the pigment that gives you your unique skin colour is an excellent reflector and absorber of UV radiation. Thus it forms an important part of your skin’s immune defence.

When your skin is constantly exposed to UVA and UVB rays the melanocytes are stimulated to release more melanin to protect your skin. This excess melanin is transported by melanosomes to the topmost layer of your skin, leading to the formation of freckles, mainly solar lentigines.

In the case of ephelides, one or more variants of the Melanocortin -1- receptor or the MC1R gene may also play a part along with UV ray exposure.

Other causes of freckles may include diseases such as xeroderma pigmentosum which cause sunburns and freckles to appear in areas that are exposed to the sun.

According to Ayurveda, ‘Vyanga’ or a hyperpigmentation skin condition that leads to freckles is caused by the aggravation of the ‘Bhrajaka Pitta’ and rakta Dhatu (blood tissue). The ‘Bhrajaka Pitta’ is a subcategory of the Pitta Dosha that regulates melanin synthesis and body temperature. A vitiation of this Dosha can stimulate your body into over- producing melanin, causing the occurrence of freckles on your face and other skin areas.

How Do You Know If You Have Freckles?

Differentiating freckles from moles or other spots on your skin can seem confusing. In fact the two types of freckles, ephelides and lentigines are also slightly different from each other. To help you easily identify if you have freckles or not, we have mentioned below a few tips.

Categories

Freckles (Ephelides)

Solar Lentigines

Moles

Appearance

Cluster of small, flattened, tan or dark spots

Flat dark coloured spots. Usually larger in size than ephelides

Brown or black, round /oval raised skin lesions

Skin Sensitivity

Painless

Usually painless

May be painful

Affected Body Parts

Can appear anywhere on the body, including the eyes

Parts that are overexposed to the sun such as face, arms, legs, back

Can appear anywhere on the body

Causes

Presence of variants of the MC1R gene along with sun exposure

Overexposure to the sun

Skin cells growing in clusters

Recovery Time

Ephelides may fade as one ages

Sun spots don’t fade. They may require treatment

Usually requires treatment. May disappear over time

Can Freckles Be Removed?

Freckles (ephelides) often reduce with age. You can reduce their appearance by limiting your exposure to the sun and applying Ayurveda recommended herbal remedies. Of course there are certain cosmetic procedures to manage freckles on skin such as chemical peeling but these are often ridden with various side effects.

How To Lighten Freckles?

A. Natural Methods

1. Tender Coconut Water Cleansing

Tender coconut water is a natural depigmenting agent which has been used for centuries to remove spots and scars. Being packed with antioxidants and amino acids makes it a great treatment for freckles. Regular cleansing with tender coconut water can help lighten freckles on your face and other parts of your skin.

How To Use Coconut Water For Freckles

Apply on affected areas for 15 to 20 minutes as part of your daily skincare routine and wash off with cold water.

2. Green Tea Exfoliation

Flavonoids are a boon for freckled skin. Being powerful antioxidants they protect your skin from further sun damage. Exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week with green tea can rejuvenate your skin, remove the dead damaged cells and gradually remove freckles.

How To Use Green Tea For Freckles

Make a paste by adding lukewarm water to green tea leaves. Apply on affected areas and gently exfoliate for 15 minutes and rinse off for glowing freckle free skin.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has been an age old freckle treatment. Ascorbic acid present in lemon juice gently bleaches your skin and removes the upper damaged layer of skin. This helps new healthy skin cells to reach the surface making your skin look brighter.

How To Use Lemon Juice For Freckles

To remove freckles with lemon juice, squeeze a full lemon and apply its juice for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off with water. Repeat as required.

4. Potato Juice

Potato juice has amazing skin lightening properties. With Catecholase, a natural bleaching agent, it can easily lighten freckles on skin. Potato juice being gentle on skin can be applied frequently to affected areas to treat freckles.

How To Use Potato Juice For Freckles

Apply for 15 minutes and rinse off with cold water.

5. Onion Bulb Juice

Allium Cepa or onion bulb extract is the new sensation in both dermatological and cosmetic (Korean skincare) skin products for spots, scars and freckle treatment. Allantoin present in onion bulb juice is a natural collagen booster which speeds up the cell renewal process. It helps lighten dark spots from your skin and protects the upper epidermal layer from sun damage.

How To Use Onion Bulb Juice For Freckles

Peel and blend 2 to 3 small onions and strain its juice. Apply this on your freckles and wash off after 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Tomato Pulp

This is probably every household’s secret skin brightening recipe. Tomato pulp contains Lycopene, a natural brightening agent that can even lighten old sun spots and freckles on your skin.

How To Use Tomato Pulp For Freckles

It is safe for daily use and can be applied on freckle affected areas for 20 to 30 minutes and rinsed off.

B. Ayurvedic Treatments For Freckles

ayurvedic herbs to treat freckles

Ayurvedic treatments [3] focus on lightening your freckles to a certain extent. Treatments include herbal detoxifiers, Pitta balancing and blood purifying lepas (packs) and natural medicines.

1. Udvartana Or Herbal Exfoliation

Herbal exfoliation is given special importance in Ayurvedic treatments concerning freckles. Coarse powders and oils made from special herbs are used to improve blood circulation and pacify the Doshas on your skin.

It is also an excellent method for removing the harmful toxins that can cause oxidative stress and skin damage. Massage your skin with the below mentioned Ayurvedic churna (herbal powder) using upward strokes for best benefits.

How To Use At Home

Herbal powders and oils are easily available in any Ayurvedic store. Mix Yashtimadhu, a pinch of Cinnamon, Chandaman, Triphala and Coconut Oil. Apply on the freckles on your nose, face, arms or any other parts of the skin. Gently exfoliate for 5 to 10 minutes, leave it on for another 5 minutes and wash off.

2. Ayurvedic Lepas

A. Yashtimadhu, Nagakesar And Milk

According to research, Glabridin, present in Yashtimadhu, is a powerful depigmenting agent. Yashtimadhu also contains the phytochemical Licochalcone A that gives your skin protection from UV ray damage thus minimizing the production of excess melanin.

Kesar or saffron has been in use as a skin lightening agent in various Ayurvedic treatments for its antioxidant and blood purifying properties. Lactic acid present in milk helps in the removal of damaged skin cells thus revealing clear skin in no time.

How to Use

Make a paste by adding yashtimadhu, kesar and milk and apply on your freckles. Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash off.

B. Gotu Kola, Shatavari, Manjistha And Honey

With excellent collagen boosting and skin lightening properties, Gotu Kola is a frequently used cure for freckles and melasma. Shatavari is an age-old ‘Varnya’ (skin brightening) herb that improves blood circulation and skin complexion.

Manjistha detoxifies and removes Ama toxins bringing a natural glow to your skin. All three herbs show significant Tyrosinase (an enzyme that causes pigmentation) inhibition activities which in turn can prevent the formation of freckles.

How To Use

Mix all ingredients and add honey to it to make a paste. Apply this on the freckles on your skin for 15 minutes and wash off.

C. Turmeric, Cardamom, Chandanam And Milk

Curcumin [4] in Turmeric is known for its ability to suppress excess melanin formation. Being rich in Vitamin C, Cardamom helps improve your skin complexion and protects your skin from sun damage.

Chandanam pacifies the ‘Bhrajaka Pitta’ and also has a cooling effect on your skin. Adding milk further enhances the lepa’s ability to remove freckles from the face and other parts of the skin.

How To Use

Grind the turmeric and cardamom. Add chandanam and make a paste by adding milk. Apply the lepa for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off.

D. Amla, Sariva And Kumari

Amla is packed with Vitamin C that inhibits melanogenesis and also prevents sun induced oxidative stress. Sariva purifies your blood, prevents hyperpigmentation and balances your Pitta. The use of Kumari or aloe vera for freckles is dermatologically proven to be effective due to the presence of alloin, a naturally depigmenting ingredient.

How To Use

Blend amla and sariva and add aloe vera gel to it to make a paste. Apply this on freckles and wash off after 15 minutes.

3. Nasya

Nasya [5] is a multi beneficial Ayurvedic technique where medicinal oils and ghee are administered through the nasal cavity. The Nasya therapy not only benefits various skin disorders including freckles, it also strengthens the body’s defense system. As a result your body is more equipped to fight sun damage that can lead to melanoma.

4. Panchakarma Vidhi

The 5 step purification treatment in Ayurveda is administered to cure various skin diseases. Panchakarma therapy balances your Doshas, detoxifies your body and removes Ama toxins that can lead to the formation of freckles. The 5 steps include:

  • Vamana (therapeutic vomiting)
  • Virechana (purgation)
  • Niroohavasti (administration of medicated enema)
  • Nasya (administration of medicated oils through the nasal cavity)
  • Anuvasana Vasti (administration of oil enema)

C.Home Remedies For Freckles

The below mentioned homemade face packs are amazing treatments for freckles on your nose and other parts of the face. Packed with the goodness of natural skin friendly compounds, these ingredients lighten spots, brighten and visibly improve your overall skin health in a short span of time. Apply them 2 to 3 times a week to lighten the appearance of stubborn freckles on your skin.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar And Honey

With mild bleaching properties, apple cider vinegar helps in lightening freckles on your face. Honey moisturizes your sun damaged skin and protects it from further external damage.

How To Use

Mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with 1 or 2 tbsp of honey and apply. Wash off after 10 minutes.

2. Curd, Gram Flour And Coconut Oil/ Almond Oil

Both curd and gram flour are excellent home remedies for freckles, sun spots and sun tan. Coconut oil and almond oil being rich sources of Vitamin E, heal the upper epidermal layer and help suppress hyperpigmentation.

How To Use

Blend curd and gram flour and add a few drops of coconut or almond oil to it. Apply this for 10 to 15 minutes and wash off.

3. Papaya, Lemon Juice And Honey

Papain in papaya is a natural enzyme with amazing skin lightening properties. Make a pack using papaya, lemon juice and honey and apply it a couple of times in a week for spotless skin.

How To Use

Blend papaya and add lemon juice and honey to it. Apply over the areas with freckles and wash off after 15 minutes.

4. Kalonji, Orange Peel And Buttermilk

Kalonji (black jeera) serves as a cure to many skin conditions including hyperpigmentation. It is highly effective in reducing the appearance of freckles and melasma. Orange peel and buttermilk are also known for their skin brightening properties.

“Orange peel is rich in citrus oils, which have natural UVB blocking properties, and can prevent sun related dark spots,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

How To Use

Powder both kalonji and orange peel and add buttermilk to it to make a thick paste. Apply on freckles and wash off after 15 to 20 minutes.

Vedix Tip: Multani mitti or fuller's earth is a great option to manage your freckles. Add rose water, a few drops of sandalwood oil, lemon oil and coconut oil to make a paste. Apply this for 10 minutes and wash off. Repeat 2 to 3 times a week to quickly lighten your freckles and achieve evenly toned skin.

D. Top 6 Essential Oils For Freckles

woman with freckles applying essential oils

1. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is nature's boon to mankind. With amazing skin healing properties, jojoba oil can reverse the damage suffered by your skin from excessive sun exposure. Regular application can gradually remove the freckles from your skin giving you an even skin tone. Jojoba oil is also safe for overnight application.

2. Turmeric Oil

Curcumin in turmeric oil makes it a great freckle treatment. Add a few drops of turmeric oil to any carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive) and apply for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off for naturally bright, freckle- free skin.

3. Sandalwood Oil

Alpha- santalol, a naturally occurring substance in sandalwood oil, can suppress sun induced melanogenesis that leads to freckles on the skin. Massage on affected areas for 15 minutes and wash off to remove freckles on the face and other areas.

4. Lemon Oil

Regular application of lemon oil is a great freckles treatment that can gradually lighten the spots and prevent their recurrence. Lemon oil can improve your overall skin tone and give you an even complexion. Massage on the freckled skin and wash off after 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an amazing skin rejuvenator. It can lighten freckles, aid cell renewal and suppress hyperpigmentation. Tree tea oil can be applied daily for 15 to 20 minutes and washed off glowing, even toned skin.

6. Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E oil for freckles is a well known antioxidant treatment. It protects your skin from sun damage, reduces oxidative stress, prevents skin ageing and removes freckles and dark spots.

Note:

When using an essential oil for the first time, make sure to do a patch test to check your skin sensitivity to it. Essential oils are best applied in combination with a carrier oil to prevent any kind of allergic reaction.

E. Other Medications

Name

Benefits

Side Effects

Retinoids

Skin exfoliation, skin lightening, dark spot removal, acne treatment

Can cause skin irritation like mild burning, itchiness or scaling

Hydroquinone

Lightens skin tone, fades dark spots and freckles and melasma

Can irritate dry and sensitive skin

Kojic Acid

Suppresses Tyrosinase and prevents hyperpigmentation, lightens freckles and dark spots

May cause Contact Dermatitis, skin irritations

Why Do White People Have Freckles?

white girl with freckles on face

People with light complexions have fewer numbers of melanocytes than people with darker complexions. Thus, during UV ray induced melanogenesis, when their melanocytes release excess melanin, they develop freckles instead of an even tan.

What Happens If You Pick A Freckle Off?

Leaving your freckles alone is often the best course of action. Unnecessarily scratching or picking a freckle on the face or anywhere on your skin can lead to scarring. You may even end up infecting the affected area, thus further deteriorating the condition.

When To Consult A Dermatologist?

Observe your freckle's evolution. If your freckles, especially lentigines keep expanding in diameter it is better to have your doctor examine it. Early detection and necessary prevention can ward off the risk of melanoma or any other damage.

The Last Word

Freckles (ephelides) are often dependent on your genes along with your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Thus, one of the best ways to lighten your freckles is by reducing your sun exposure. Use sunscreen every time you step out and wear protective clothing. Apart from that a good Ayurvedic skincare routine and herbal remedies that suppress melanin synthesis can further improve the condition of freckles and prevent them from reappearing.

Know Your Dosha Now