Completely flawless skin is an illusion. Actually we all know that. But when impurities or too much sun on our skin tend to leave little souvenirs in the form of brown spots, it can gnaw at our self-confidence. In this article I will tell you which powerful natural active ingredients you can use to remove pigment spots on your face and prevent them from forming. Plus: 5 effective tips for supporting even skin from within and my verdict on popular home remedies for pigment spots.
Removing pigment spots on the face – this is how it works naturally!
Before we get started, a few important facts. There are two main reasons for the appearance of pigment changes on the skin:
- Sunbeams (strictly speaking, the UV radiation)
- and inflammation or injury to the skin.
Both can affect the formation of melanin in our body. Melanins are endogenous color pigments that are responsible for coloring our skin and hair. If our body produces too many of them in one place, this shows up on the skin in the form of small, brown-black spots, so-called pigment spots or age spots.
With this little background, you can now go directly from theory to practice – or rather: to the phenomenal world of active ingredients in nature. She has a few effective power substances for a uniform skin tone in stock. The good news is that laser treatment is not the only way to get rid of pigment spots. With the right active ingredients, you can remove pigment spots in a completely natural way and prevent pigment changes.
These natural active ingredients help against pigment spots
Vitamin C – the antioxidant skincare superstar
Vitamin C is one of those ingredients that deserve a permanent place in every skin care routine. It has a lightening effect, protects cells and is important for collagen formation in the skin (slow aging, anyone?). Its effect against skin discoloration is based on the following mechanism: Vitamin C inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is needed for the production of melanin 1 .
And less melanin means - yes, less brown spots. The appearance of existing hyperpigmentation is reduced, so that the development of new discolouration is effectively prevented at the same time as pigment spots are removed.
If you want to benefit from the benefits of vitamin C against pigment spots , we recommend the Vitamin C Booster from Pai Skincare. Also ideal in combination with the FIVE products . More on that below.
Sea Buckthorn Pulp Oil – the bright orange glow getter
Sea buckthorn pulp oil contains particularly high levels of the valuable palmitoleic acid 2 . And it's one of the best-kept beauty secrets for even skin tone 3 and fast wound healing 4 . This rare unsaturated omega-7 fatty acid influences the formation of pigment cells, so you can successfully remove pigment spots with the active ingredient. Because it ensures that less melanin is produced in the skin, palmitoleic acid is an effective, natural active ingredient against hyperpigmentation .
By the way: Due to their unique composition, the small, orange-colored berries of the sea buckthorn plant are considered to be one of the most nutritious and vitamin-rich fruits 5 . The oil pressed from them is full of bioactive substances such as phytosterols and carotenoids - the latter giving it its bright color and antioxidant superpowers. Carotenoids protect cells and protect the skin from oxidative stress 6 .
🧡 Your ideal companion for pigment spots : Our FIVE facial oil - dry skin is formulated with precious sea buckthorn pulp oil. The contained lipids also strengthen the skin barrier and thus have a regulating effect on the moisture balance of the skin.
Wild rose oil - the noble skin care hero
Wild rose oil is another natural active ingredient oil that can remove or visibly reduce pigment spots on the face with long-term use. Its lightening properties are due to its high content of α-linolenic acid. Studies show that this triple unsaturated fatty acid inhibits melanin formation while stimulating cell renewal 7 .
So you can be twice as happy: existing pigment spots are visibly reduced and the formation of new discolorations is effectively prevented. The complexion looks brighter, pure and even.
And there is another beauty benefit. Dark red, cold-pressed wild rose oil may contain traces of all-trans retinoic acid. This form of vitamin A is also known as tretinoin and is one of the most popular active ingredients for cell renewal, a refined skin texture and a youthful complexion.
We recommend Pai Skincare's Rosehip Oil. Make sure to only use the oil in the evening as it can increase the skin's sensitivity to light.
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Remove pigment spots on the face: The 1-2-3 care routine!
If you want to reduce your pigment spots , we recommend the following care program:
In the morning
Skinfood: 5 tips for even skin from the inside
Admittedly, the fact that what we eat has an impact on our skin health is actually nothing new. But now the breaking news: Did you know that with the right diet you can ensure good melanin distribution in the body? I'll tell you now how it's done.
1. Carotenoids prevent pigment spots.
Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments. They add color to orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables. Their special feature: They have an antioxidant effect and protect the skin from cell damage caused by UV rays . And quite effectively (even if they don't replace sunscreen). Studies show that those who eat carotenoid-rich foods are better protected against sun damage 6 .
- and grapefruit
Why sun protection is important for preventing and removing pigment spots ? UV rays are the main cause of hyperpigmentation because sunlight stimulates melanin formation. You probably know this: pigment spots usually appear on the face or hands – in places that are often exposed to the sun.
2. Lycopene has a cell-protecting effect.
We'll stick with the carotenoids because lycopene is the most potent of them all. Lycopene accumulates in the skin and unfolds its effect there when it is needed: It effectively protects the skin from cell damage caused by solar radiation, prevents premature skin aging and promotes skin regeneration. Perfect conditions to remove and reduce pigment stains .
By the way, you can easily cover your daily dose of lycopene: With a tablespoon of tomato paste and a little olive oil. Really true: The effectiveness of this mixture on acute and long-term sun damage has even been scientifically proven. More on this under Superfood tomato paste - slow aging for the skin .
3. Vitamin C brightens from within.
Yes, this vitamin can also exert its effect against unwanted skin discolouration from the inside and remove or at least reduce pigment spots in the long term. You also pamper your skin with the other benefits of this popular beauty vitamin. Vitamin C regulates the production of skin fat in the sebaceous glands, has an anti-inflammatory effect and protects against premature skin aging thanks to its antioxidant power.
These foods are good sources of vitamin C:
4. Healthy fatty acids support skin regeneration.
I mentioned it briefly above: In addition to too much sun, inflammation and injuries to the skin are among the main factors in the development of hyperpigmentation . You may know this if you suffer from acne and pimples regularly leave dark discolorations on your skin.
If this is the case, incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to remove pigment spots. Good vegan sources include walnuts, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. Because omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and lay the foundation for healthy cell regeneration, they can prevent acne and blemishes. For you, this means: clean skin without annoying pimples. You can read what else omega-3 has up its sleeve for your skin underBeautiful skin thanks to omega-3: Is it also vegan? .
5. Lutein ensures an even skin tone.
Lutein is another carotenoid (of which there are about 800, by the way) that studies have shown to have whitening properties 8 . Lutein blocks an enzyme needed for melanin formation. At the same time, it protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
If you take lutein through food, it begins to work in the skin "from below". Good for you, because: The pigment spots on the face are combated in depth, the complexion is visibly brightened 8 .
These foods contain lutein:
Interim conclusion: You can prevent pigment spots on your face with a healthy diet!
If you eat a colorful and vitamin-rich diet, you lay the foundation for healthy skin without discoloration . Incorporate fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and nuts into your diet. In this way, you provide your skin with powerful antioxidants, help it build up protection against UV damage and can effectively prevent the development of pigment spots. With the right precautions, you can prevent the time-consuming process of removing pigment spots in the long term.
Good to know: There are also dietary supplements that extend the protection from within. I rather advise against that. My recommendation: try a few small changes in your diet and you will see - the positive effect of fresh, natural foods on skin, hair (and soul!) is simply unbeatable.
Home remedies to remove pigment spots: what really helps?
You can find a number of tips on the Internet on how to effectively remove pigment spots with simple home remedies . But beware – all that glitters here is by no means gold. Let's bring light into the darkness.
- lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Lemon juice contains about 5% citric acid, apple cider vinegar about the same amount of acetic acid. The fact is: Both acids can lighten hyperpigmentation. But it is also a fact: Irritation can occur - or the lightening only works in places and your skin appears more blotchy afterwards than before. My verdict: better not. And if you really want to try it, limit yourself to the back of your hand to be on the safe side.
- Papaya. Papayas contain the enzyme papain. And that's a real skincare miracle. Papain has an exfoliating effect as it removes dead cells from the skin's surface. Studies show that papain can partially remove pigment spots and stimulate skin renewal 9 . There is one small drop of bitterness though – papain is mainly contained in the seeds and the green skin of the papaya. You can use the pulp of a ripe papaya as a refreshing mask, but you will not benefit from the effects of papain in this way. My verdict: the mask with papaya pulp advertised in many beauty blogs is only partially suitable for removing pigment spots!
- potatoes . From tropical papayas back to home. Our local potato is also a popular household remedy to remove pigment spots. It contains brightening vitamin C and is said to have a matting effect due to the starch it contains. The application is easy. Simply grate a fresh, raw potato and leave it on your cleansed face for a few minutes. My verdict: the potato mask is worth a try. Don't expect miracles though. Scientific studies on their effect against hyperpigmentation are still pending.
What else can you do against pigment spots!
- Chemical fruit acid peels: These include the AHA, PHA and BHA acids. Low-dose products for self-application loosen the superficial layers of skin on which the pigment spots are located. It is therefore less suitable for deeper discolorations. Fruit acid peelings also increase sensitivity to light, so adequate sun protection afterwards is an absolute must to prevent new pigment spots. Highly concentrated fruit acid peelings are used in dermatological practice. The skin has been red for some time after a chemical peel. Once it's completely healed, you can hope that the pigment spots won't come back.
- Laser treatment : If the pigment spots on the face are deeper, there is the option of having laser therapy carried out. The pigment cells are destroyed by the focused laser beam. After the treatment, your facial skin will be very sensitive for a few days. And be careful: After the pigment spots laser & peeling, sun protection is absolutely essential. Specialists therefore generally recommend carrying out such treatments in winter.
- Retinol: Clearly, this skincare wonder should not be missing from the pigment spot removal list. Retinol is a form of vitamin A that provides a powerful boost to your skin's cell regeneration and renewal. The accelerated skin regeneration brings new cells to light, your complexion appears even, smooth and padded. The small disadvantage: Retinol also makes the skin more sensitive to UV radiation. This can promote the development of new pigment spots. So the same applies here – either use it in the cold season or make sure you have sufficient sun protection!
Conclusion: Removing pigment spots also works with natural means!
As you can see, nature offers us a whole range of powerful active ingredients for your care routine, with which pigment spots can be removed and discoloration on the face can be effectively reduced - from the inside and outside! If you pamper your skin every day with valuable, brightening facial oils such as wild rose oil and sea buckthorn pulp oil and eat a balanced diet, you create the best conditions for an even, uniform complexion in the long term.
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- Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Esthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul;10(7):14-17. Epub 2017 Jul 1. PMID: 29104718; PMCID: PMC5605218.
- Fatima, Tahira et al. "Fatty acid composition of developing sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) berry and the transcriptome of the mature seed." Plos one vol. 7.4 (2012): e34099. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034099
- Yoon WJ, Kim MJ, Moon JY, Kang HJ, Kim GO, Lee NH, Hyun CG. Effect of palmitoleic acid on melanogenic protein expression in murine b16 melanoma. J Oleo Sci. 2010;59(6):315-9. doi: 10.5650/jos.59.315. PMID: 20484837.
- Weimann, Eleine et al. "Topical anti-inflammatory activity of palmitoleic acid improves wound healing." Plos one vol. 13.10e0205338. 11 Oct 2018, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205338
- Jaśniewska, Agnieszka, and Anna Diowksz. "Wide Spectrum of Active Compounds in Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) for Disease Prevention and Food Production." Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10.8 1279. 12 Aug 2021, doi:10.3390/antiox10081279
- Balić, Anamaria, and Mislav Mokos. "Do We Utilize Our Knowledge of the Skin Protective Effects of Carotenoids Enough?." Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 8.8 259. 31 Jul 2019, doi:10.3390/antiox8080259
- Ando H, Ryu A, Hashimoto A, Oka M, Ichihashi M. Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation of the skin. Arch Dermatol Res. 1998 Jul;290(7):375-81. doi: 10.1007/s004030050320. PMID: 9749992.
- Juturu V, Bowman JP, Deshpande J. Overall skin tone and skin-lightening-improving effects with oral supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin isomers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Clin Cosmetic Investig Dermatol. 2016;9:325-332 https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S115519
- M. Banchhor and Saraf, S., "Potentiality of Papain as an Antiaging Agent in Cosmetic Formulation", Pharmacognosy Review, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 266-270, 2008.