DARK SKIN Dark skin can be a bane for people who crave a fair complexion. Though a lot of people have naturally dark skin, darkening of skin could also be due to hyperpigmentation and various other reasons. A dark colored skin has more of skin pigment Melanin, as compared to a fair skin. Unfortunately, increased quantity of melanin can cause the skin to look blemished and patchy. Dark Skin Symptoms The symptoms for dark skin include a dark brown to blackish skin. This could be coupled with blemishes or dark patches on the skin. Dark Skin Causes The causes for a dark skin or complexion could be many. Some of the most common ones are - Heredity - People who have a dark skin often have children who are dark-skinned too. The genes seem to pass on from generation to generation. Hyperpigmentation - In this condition the skin produces too much of the pigment melanin, causing the skin to become darker than usual. Skin disorders - Conditions such as Lichen Simplex Chronicus is a skin disorder that causes severe itching that leaves the skin thick, dark and patchy. Sun rays - Over exposure to sun causes the skin to tan. This is a natural mechanism, wherein to protect itself from the harmful UV rays of the sun, the skin produces more of the pigment melanin which shields the penetration of UV rays into the skin. Home Remedies for Dark Skin Here are some simple home remedies that you can do to lighten the skin tone and get a lighter complexion. However, they must be done regularly and best results are obtained if they are inculcated as a part of daily routine. Mix 1 tsp of milk powder, 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of lemon juice, and ½ tsp of almond oil. Apply on face and wash off after 10-15 minutes. This pack helps bring shine to the skin and also removes tan. Mix oatmeal with curd and tomato juice and apply on the face. Keep it on for 20 minutes and then wash it off with cold water. It helps remove the tan and lightens the skin. Place sliced raw potato on the face. It helps reduce blemishes and other marks. Applying turmeric powder along with lime juice removes the tan. Lime juice is a natural bleach. Dried orange peels mixed with curd also help reduce blemishes and scars. Wash off this mixture with cold water after 15 minutes. Soak 4 almonds overnight. Grind into a fine paste using milk. Apply on face and neck and leave it overnight. Wash with cold water in the morning. Do this daily for 15 days, followed by twice a week. A tbsp of gram flour mixed with 2 tsp of raw milk and 2-3 drops of lime juice works well for lightening dark skin. Apply this mixture and leave it for 15 minutes before washing off. Repeat for 4 weeks and follow up with once a week. Apply a paste of fresh ground mint leaves and leave it for about 20 minutes. Wash with cold water, continue for 15 days. Apply a mixture of grated tomato with 2-3 drops of lime juice on the face. Leave it for 20 minutes before washing off. Do this twice a day for 15-20 days for best results. Balanced Diet Although there are no particular foods that will lighten your skin instantly, a balanced diet definitely helps by giving your skin a healthy glow. Drinking an optimum amount of water hydrates your skin and keeps it blemish free. Some recommendations regarding diet are as follows – Avoid excessive consumption of heavy and oily foods. Incorporate whole cereals, pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Drink at least 4-5 liters of water every day. Water washes out the toxins from the body. Other suggestions for Dark Skin Use a good quality sunscreen when going out in the sun to protect the skin from tanning as well as the sun's UV rays. Be regular and persistent with the home remedies for skin lightening as suggested above.