How light can your skin get?

What’s the most amount of skin lightening possible?

This depends on the method used to lighten your skin or dark marks. And whether you choose to use natural methods or completely chemical methods.

Natural methods of skin lightening

I use the term ‘natural methods’  here loosely. You’ll see that exfoliation by using AHAs is classified as natural means below (even though these are made in a lab). This is because with gentle acids or light peels, you’re not doing much more than exfoliating the top layers of your skin to increase cell turnover – which is what your body does anyway on its own, you’re just speeding it up.

Manual exfoliation Acid exfoliation (gentle)
Dry brushing



Alpha hydroxy acids

Beta hydroxy acids

Low to medium acid peel concentrations

Natural fruit acids like lemon juice

Internal methods External methods
Raw food diet






Avoiding sun exposure

Wearing protective clothing

The lightest shade possible for each person

Excluding skin conditions like vitiligo (where the body is actively attacking melanin-producing skin cells), by using only natural skin lightening methods consistently, skin can become as light as it was when you were a baby. That is the lightest shade that can be derived naturally.

The color you were born with is how light you can get naturally --- before years of sun exposure and environmental toxins take its toll


Why is a baby’s skin color a good indicator?

Your skin color when you were born is a good indicator of the maximum possible extent your skin can lighten in adulthood because that was your skin before environmental and lifestyle factors could have an effect on it.

From the first year of your life to now, you would have lived through thousands of days of sun exposure, harmful pollutants, and chemicals – all of which would have darkened your skin, both internally and externally.

Some common causes of skin darkening over the years are…

  • Daily sun exposure. How many thousands of hours have you spent playing outdoors while you were a kid, going to the beach, swimming, playing organized sports at school?
  • Environmental damage. Damage from the environment in the form of pollution, toxins and chemicals can make your skin appear dull and darker. Unfortunately, unless you live in a rural commune these toxins are in everything you touch, eat, and drink. If you live in the city or near an industrial area, the very air you breathe is full of toxins.
  • Poor diet/lifestyle. Who amongst us hasn’t eaten greasy cheeseburgers and french fries, only to wash it down with sodas? While junk food may taste good, the frightening truth is that we become what we eat. Every cell in our bodies is made up of the nourishment we choose to ingest, and eating a poor diet filled with fat, sugar and preservatives will affect your health and give you drier, darker-looking and more damaged skin.
  • Hormonal changes. Hormones can wreck havor on our bodies and our skin. Some of the causes of hormonal changes include puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, and even eating hormone-injected meat. I won’t even mention the xenoestrogens we ingest. (Oops.)

There are of course other ways to lighten skin color beyond what you were born with as a baby. But I wouldn’t recommend them.

40 Replies to “How light can your skin get?”

  1. Hi i have just finished reading your information that you provided on the net and it has caught my attenetion and made me realise the different things that cause different pigmet colouring in the body.My legs are ver light skin toned and other parts are darker and then my breast area are very light almost likea yellow colour. (I am a natural very light skin toned person well i shud be due to environmental affects etc) but i was jus wonderin to definately see what my skin tone shoutld be in matching with my birth tone should i look at the colour of mty underside of my forearm? How can i get the same skin tone as i did at birth or close to because it will be very hard to determine this. Question: you know how you stated the reasons for why people naturally get darker, you know if you reduced these and wore a sunscreen of 50 + would it help to lighten skin tone whilst still drinking lots of water and dieting right. Oh and person advice aswell im goin away on holiday and i was wondering should i use a sunscreen of 50 + to maintain colour all over even though i have some very dark parts of my body. And then work on gettin my birth colour when i get bak? Thanx for your time .

  2. I have read and enjoy your posting as well as taking some important notes. My friend is a medium light skinned woman and has always wanted her skin to be more lighter or whiter. She’s been using hydroquinone 4% for about 15 years but it damages her skin by showing a lot of veins and she’s not getting the lighter complexion she really wanted. She wants an idea as to what to use that will be safe to give her a very clean and flawless beautiful white or lighter complexion without having to reveal veins on her body. Thanks

  3. Hi, iam med/light brown skinnned and have used in the past skin lighter to maintain my skin colour, and now that i have gotten older in age my skin has gotten darker over the year’s, I would like to lighten my complexion back up, I know that i will not be able to get it to it’s natural colour, so i would like to lighten it up overall to look even and not messes. For a clean and beautiful fawless look. What can i do, that will help, begin the process.

  4. I was born very dark when i was young but now i am not that dark..
    so does that mean i cannot get any lighter?

    Uptil now i have not done anything to lighten my skin…i got lighter naturally compared to when i was born!

    1. of course u can get lighter without any creams. that is genetics for u and remember the skin tone u were born with is not ur real skin tone nor does it determine ur final skin tone. it can change both ways.

  5. I have like a light brown tan but the colour of what I was born with was a lot lighter but I was just wondering if I used things at home like the lemon juice method every day could I still go out or do I have to stay in the house everyday for a month till I see results and also what happens when you get you desired look to get lighter, if you start going out in the sun again will you become dark again ….. Thanks for all the information it is really helpfull:) xx

  6. you lightest skin part is your SCULL and you bottom, if your white and can’t tell the difference between your scull and face then be sure you may be very very light skinned…so you shouldn’t look at your wrist when determine natural color since your wrist can be tanned easily, but your scull and bottom.

    i usually think i’m dark but most people say that i am fair…not pale, but fair skinned, foundation type now i wear ivory/sand…on top of that i STILL have my tanning lines!…

  7. Hi, so I just read this post and what I learnt here is the opposite of what I’ve been told at the ‘AskMeHelpDesk’ in the skin lightening region. I asked if I could get the skin color I was about 4-6 years old and I was told no I couldn’t. But here it says that I could. I’m willing to believe yours though, because the answer I was provided with was short and kind of rude. I don’t want to lighten my skin past my birth color! I want to get my skin color back, and so now I’m asking you, can I be the skin color I was when I was about 6?

    1. Yes, it’s possible but it’s not easy. It requires diet and lifestyle changes and the results will take time (just as it took a long time for the skin to darken, it will also take time to reverse).

      But if you go down this road, the results will be long-lasting and sustainable. And you’ll see many other positive changes in your skin as well (not just skin lightening, but skin texture and overall health will improve).

      Good luck!

      1. Thx, for replying so quickly and nicely to my question! Really appreciate it! I have one more question, I have a sun damage back that is possibly about 4 shades darker than how I was when I was a kid. About how long do you think it would take if I lightened it back up, using Diana stalder kojic acid soap and the lightening cream. Thanks!

        1. You’re welcome, but I don’t have experience with those products so I can’t tell you. Maybe you can try asking the seller? Also the effectiveness of any lightening treatment depends on how deep the damage is, so it’ll be different for everyone. Some surface damage is quite easily treated with weaker exfoliants like kojic acid.

  8. So the lightest part of your bodys ment to be the skull and bottom… Even though I’m naturally light but got darker over the years my bottoms actually gone darker?

  9. may i know, the yanko skin whitening product from Taiwan is it contain mercury? some people said this product really good to reduce the pigmentation.

  10. I seriously don’t like my skin tone, it’s very uneven. My face is dark brown and so are my hands and legs. My stomach, breast and thights are light brown(wtf) and ass is like (very) dark brown. I dont know if its because of too much exposer to the sun but how and what am i going to do??

  11. Well… where should i begin… my mother is Asian white while my dad is an Indian but not the dark type, when i was born i was fair like my mom, white like those Asian artist.. but when i turn 11 years old my skin started to change. It change into my father’s skin light brown… To add my misery even further, i suffer eczema, which is really hard for me to try any modern or traditional products… So help me out here….

  12. Hello,

    I am browsing and reading comments. I am so unhappy with my pale skin. I am so white. I have had boyfriends in my past tell me to get some sun. I don’t know how it feels to have brown skin, I see that some people are unhappy with darker skin and I cannot understand why. I use tanning creme all year long. To those with brown skin, you are all so beautiful! You are lucky to have color in my eyes. xxx

  13. Hiya

    My birth skin tone was pale, but in recent years I’ve gotten a tan that doesn’t seem to
    Fade, and it means I have an uneven skintone. The lower half of my body is still pale, whereas my neck, face and forearms are quite tanned. What’s even more stranger is
    That my chest is pale and so is my bottom, however my waist, shoulders and back are
    Also tanned.

    I’ve never actually sat outside and sunbathed, I’ve played outside often but I’ve always kept myself fully covered, (to prevent heat rash).

    I was wondering if you could suggest how I could regain my birth skin tone and get rid of my

    Thanks 🙂

  14. Hi I would like to say that i was born light brown skin tone ;/ and as i got older i became darker and i want to have lighter skin im the darkest from my sisters all my sisters have white fair skin so i want to have lighter skin when i go out with my sisters people think im not their sister cuz of my skin soooo plzzz plzz help me i have tried my hardest naturally but no improvemnt i need help … my question is can i get lighter skin?……

    1. Hiya Sarah
      I got an email about the comment you posted nd I thought I could help 🙂

      I think it’s a possible for you to regain your birth skin tone which as u said in your comment was ‘light brown’.the reason why you may have gotten darker in skin tone is probably due to sun exposure, the only way to get rid of a tan is to avoid the sun at all costs and use sunscreen on a daily basis, also I’d avoid going  outside between 11am and 3pm the sun at that time isn’t the best. If you have an uneven skin tone I suggest using bio oil, it’s apparently great for fading scarring, and marks. there are also plenty of anti-oxidants you can eat that help improve your skin as well as its tone. Stuff like berries. I’m not an expert on what types of food exactly, but I suggest you look it up.

      i kind of understand what you mean by people assuming that you and your sisters aren’t related because you look different. Because it’s the same with me and my sister. she’s quite tan, and I’m not, and people always point that out to her. Which annoys us both. to be honest most people are just really inconsiderate and I wouldn’t listen to what they say. Also they have no right to comment on what you look like.

      Hope this helped and if u hav anymore questions I’d be happy to try and answer them :))))

  15. I am an asian. I used steroid based cream for about 4 uearz n got tremendous results,, but nw my skin is becomin thin n dry. please tell me what could be the best alternative of steroids and can be used in long term?

  16. vinay that was not a medicated cream. i had that from a beauty salon. but that cream worked wonders.can you please tell me some alternativ???

  17. hey guy so i have been looking through all ur comments and i have been wondering the same exact thing why is my skin darker after growing up . i really want my birth skin tone badly . does anyone know how i can get it back?

  18. Apologies as this is slightly off-topic and probably something a bit too personal for most people to want to talk about but I was just wondering why/when did you all start lightening your skin. Did something happen that made you start doing it? Or was it purely just because you (not other people) thought it would look better. I ask because I hear people, all the time, saying that it’s just the same as getting a spray tan or a sunbed but to me, it couldn’t be more different.

    I am more than happy to share my own experiences, if anyone is interested.

  19. I born with fair skin.after 10 years old my skin is going on something black.Can i get fair skin again.What can i do…..

  20. I was born with white skin as a baby, when I was a toddler my skin turned into white beige, then finally my skin remained a whitish yellow complexion throughout. When I turned 8 my skin began to darken into a brownish color, I have insulin resistance and genetic diabetes and I used to eat fattening foods so I am sure this is everything you listed. I get darker every year and while I’m still considered a light skin black woman and not even the color of Halle Berry yet (but getting closer) I tried mixing lemons + eggs + honey and putting it on my skin and arms and my skin got lighter right away! This also happened to me when I rubbed lemons on my face. Is this a sign that my skin darkening has to do with damage, illness, and pollution?

  21. Hi, I was born with fair skin but growing up my skin has became more darker . Like my face hands and legs are much more lighter then my torso and it just stayed like that for years and I been trying everything to lighten my skin to have even skin tone from head to toe. What should I do? Exfoliate then apply brightening creams all over my torso? I don’t really want to try bleaching creams…
    Also what’s good for freckles ?
    Someone please help me …
    This has became a depression

  22. this is b.s. for one i was born very tan and now i am extremely fair. i was tan until my teen years. so this web-sight is a bunch of lies. and by the way, if you are fair you get sunburned to hell and a bunch of other weird/random sh#t. why the eff would u purposely change your skin color? dumb.

  23. If we eat a lot of mineral and vitamin source food. Is it possible my skin light ?because my skin is light brown.
    And is it possible these minerals food make a recessive allele?

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