How to heal your skin from deep, chemical damage due to harmful creams

Skin damage from the long-term use of steroid-based or other toxic creams (e.g. hydroquinone, monobenzone, mercury) can be distressing. They can include thin/fragile skin, hyperpigmentation, dark marks, nerve damage and changes in texture.

However, with time and patience, there are ways to reverse the damage and restore your skin to its original health.

Our organs (including the skin) are resilient, and if we give it what it needs, it can slowly heal itself.

To support skin healing from the bottom-up, the first thing you can do is clean up your diet and lifestyle as much as possible.

Change your diet to include more fruits and vegetables. Read up on the healing benefits of an alkaline diet as well as raw fruits/vegetable juices.

An alkaline diet will help to heal skin from the bottom up.

The second thing you can do is to apply healing, penetrative oils on your skin every day (such as cold-pressed castor oil, extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil).

Use deeply penetrative healing oils like castor oil or extra virgin coconut oil daily to restore skin,

Castor oil is one of the most healing oils there is. In fact, castor oil can be especially helpful in treating chemically-damaged skin as it has the ability to draw out toxins and penetrate deeply into the skin.

Read more about castor oil

Other beneficial healing oils include shea butter, Vitamin E oil, cold-pressed coconut oil (EVCO), and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

Any oil you use should ideally be cold-pressed as it would retain more nutrients and not contain any chemical preservatives.

However, for this to work, patience really is key. It could take several months to a year of daily applications of oil to get results. 

As appealing as they are (and I definitely understand this feeling), quick fixes are unlikely to restore your skin. And any results you get from a ‘quick fix’ will likely prove disappointing or be temporary at best.

In the case of deeply damaged skin, I believe slow and steady really does win the race. It might help to know that the damage was done over a long period of time, so healing will also take time.

173 Replies to “How to heal your skin from deep, chemical damage due to harmful creams”

  1. Hi
    I had used a steriod skin lightening cream given by a skincentre for about two years .skin had become very thin ,red patchy . Its been a year. Since i stopped it . Now my skin texture is highly damaged but skin is slowly healing i feel . Will take time though . Anything natural to hasten healing . Did anyone experience inflated skin . Earlier i had full cheeks now skin feels flat . Wish it gets back its youthful plumpness .its horrific what a simple cream could do to my face .

      1. Hi my face was burn I am using retino a hidroqunon trenion cream givin me Dr I use cream my face burn and black please help me what can I use my face very sensitive I use anything my face is burn become dark black please what can I use treat my face

      2. I am a former skin bleacher due to the marks on my face I used the bleaching cream now I have dark Mark’s around the outer part of my mouth and the outside of my eyes especially,the whole skin on my face, my face looks dull and lifeless Affria products which I brought on Amazon is pretty good and the butter bar especially the melanin in serum however because of the damage to my skin it has become so sensitive. I have the real aloe plant so I will be putting on my face and using every night the less chemical the better drink lots of water put in your weight and it will tell u how much water u need to drink daily eat more veggies and fruits replace all snacks with fruits or nuts I hope this helps oh exercise that way you can sweat out all the toxins even if you walk for 30 minutes let it be brisk and make sure you sweat

    1. Hi,
      I used a steroids cream for 10 days continuously and I noticed some changes on my face, then I stopped face became even dark in color with uneven patches.its been 7 months after my usage, but there are still marks on my face and ,now I’m noticing some pimples on my face.what to do??
      So, plzz don’t use steroid creams …

  2. I used a steroid for couple of month and I had huge results in skin whitening but I was also facing acne problem which I never had before. so I stop using that steroid but I’m still facing acne problems. what can I do to get rid of this acne’s???

    1. Hi am Rika Hilda from Cameroon you consume lots fruits and vegetables, oil your skine with baby lotions, castor oil, virgin coconut oil and olive oil it will help u a lot

    2. Use aloe vera gel to heal it first for a period of time .2nd step apply moringa powder mixed with sandalwood and mix with any essential oil that sooth your skin.I recommend argan oil or olive oil.
      Oil try argan and carrot seed oil. Go to beauty mumsta website for the right measurement. Or u can use moringa oil

  3. I had been using skin lightening cream for a while , it made good result in skin whitening but… when i stopped it my skin turns too dark than my earlier colour when i wasnt using it.. what do i do now i cant go out to the sun.. my skin feels like burning.. .. it just become.. so thin.. what do i do.. 😕😔😔😔

    1. Use African black soap to bath, and apply carrot oil, avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil on your skin daily. Your skin will return to normal.

  4. I’ve been using betasol for abt 4 years now but I stoped 3mnths Back but my skin doesn’t seem to go back to normal help me what can I use?

  5. I want to stop the steroid cream I am using, pls what cream can I use to make my skin go back to the former colour it was,as soon as possible. Thanks

  6. Guys i have been using hydroquinone 2% for years everynight now my skin is damaged its been two years i stopped using it my skin healed a bit i’m crying everyday for my mistake please help how to get back my skin back

    1. I think you should use castor oil and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables even more than you consume food, and don’t expose your self to sun

  7. I used lemon and turmeric on my pigmented area on face. Day before this i used goree cream which i used for the 1st time for pigmentation on night. my pigmented area become darker n my skin is luking like burnt . Its luking so weird i am so depressed by this please suggest me What should i do to recover . 🙏

    1. Hi puja, I’m sorry to hear about this. You probably didn’t realise it, but Goree contains mercury. The best thing to do is throw it away.

      You could try a deep healing oil on your skin for a few months and see if that can help fade the hyperpigmentation. This is not a quick fix so patience is needed.

      Good luck.


    2. Your skin is damaged, using lemon is great for discoloration on healthy skin, but it will only irritate damaged skin. Use oils as stated in the article, your skin needs to heal. Only use natural products, not creams etc.

  8. please help me,I started using carotone spot corrector and skineal for 1year now,
    but my skin keeps getting worst though it lighten my skin o ,but d spot on my face n pimples start increasing for over two month now am so ashamed of my face right now,am looking so rough n my face look so so spoiled with pimples and spot ,big n mighty ones please help me

    1. Hello, those complaining about acne and pimples can try mixing 1 tsp of cinnamon powder, a drop of castor oil and 2 tsps of honey. Mix thoroughly and apply on your face for about 30 mins then wash off with cold water. Do this about 2-3 times in a week. Do make sure to apply any of the oils mentioned in the article above after washing your face to moisturize.

  9. Hi I have been using some lightening cream on my body for like three to six months now. Redness on my nose appears mostly in the evening whichseems not to be seen in the morning. And far darkness which is not easily noticeable on my chicks just below the eyes… I stoped using the creme like a month a go… What do I do for faster healing please help

  10. please help me I have been using funbat A on my face for years now and I stopped using it for about two weeks now since then I have been having itching and rashes on my face. please help me. what can I use to stop the itching and rashes.
    my email address is

  11. Please mi good friends, I ve been bleaching mi skin for almost one year bt now i tried to quit bt now mi skin has got black spots nd am realy feeling bad. What should i use to retain back mi normal skin in a short period. Thanx

    1. buy ponds normal to oily skin apply in da morning and buy tissue oil from pep apply it at night I promise u results are amazing I also had da same problem after using lighting cream

        1. Not 100% sure, but I believe tissue oil is a term that’s more used in Africa, and refers to oils that contain plants with some medicinal properties. Simply put, tissue oil is skincare oil.

  12. I also used GOREE CREAM sometime in April this year, and after a month of using it my face complexion lightened and it was really smooth. Others started to noticed the great difference.

    But as I started to experience a burning like sensation I stopped using it. That’s the time my nightmare begins. Pimples (huge and dark seems like burned), black heads and white heads started to surfaced on my skin which really depressing.

    1. Hii even m facing the same problem now 😪 I know how it feels to see such bad reverse in skin…. btw… how’s your skin now and what did u use to get rid of it….plzz help me too….

  13. I am just finding this site and realised the real reason for the bad breakouts I have been having. I wish I knew all these would have rejected the tube cream my friend made me to use now I have bad rashes, itching and pimples. Will just use shea butter at night till I get my real skin back no matter how long it takes.

  14. Hi I Am A Black 16 Year Old Teenager and I Was Introduced To A Bleaching Cream Called Extra Claire By A Friend When I Was 15. I Used It For Quite A While And I Became Lighter From A Darker Complexion. So I Stopped Now And I Am Starting To Get Very Dark And Its Not Good, What Do I Do Pls Help Me.

    1. Travis i also used Extra clair cream on my face for three years from the age of 12 years to 15 yeas. I got tired of it and used bio oil but castor oil can also help. It will take time to heal but patients is what u need to heal. Good luck!

  15. Hi I used a cream and the end result on my leg is very bad I hv used Vaseline for almost three years now, I do see some changes as in it repairing it back but am running out of time for I have being called for military camp training in a month time am really scared can I get something quicker

  16. I used a cream and it bleached my face making it black n white I have to drop out from school for some times is there anyway I can hasten it in a week

  17. Hi got a microdermabrasion in october and since then my face has gone crazy. I have enlarged pores all over my face, dryness, sensitivity, and redness. My skin looks old and crepey. Im only 21.

    My pores are starting to connect and look like lines. What do I do?!

    1. Hi Sara, I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sounds like too many layers of your skin were removed. You now have to give it time to heal slowly. There is no quick fix. Do not go for further microdermabrasion/peels/laser treatments etc. Those things will just take away more. It is time for rebuilding, not breaking things down.

      Start using a healing oil every day and keep it up for a few months at least. I would suggest applying it before bed at night. After a few months, if you see some positive changes, keep using it for several months to a year. If you have scarring, healing may take more time.

      In the meantime, support your internal health by taking probiotics (e.g. homemade kombucha, homemade yogurt) and Vitamin C regularly. Eat more fruits and veggies. Don’t smoke or drink. Sleep and rest when you’re tired. The healthier you are, the better and faster your skin will heal.

      Hope that helps.


    2. I used a whitening cream, and I started having dark pores and pimples and now it has spread all over, my face has some red patches. I have stopped but the patches are still there and it hurts too. Please what cream can I use to heal he places and clear the dark spot. Pls, it’s becoming embarrassing!

    3. I had microdermabrasion about 20 years ago. It should never be done on the faces of people with thin radiant skin. I’ll give your the good and bad news. I realized immediately that my skin had been badly damaged and that is should no longer be exposed to the constant sunlight on the beach in Southern California where I live. At first I wore a cloth old fashioned prairie bonnet that I could fold into a purse. Of course, that is completely out of style — but as a 21 year old, maybe it would look pretty and trendy on you. They are easy to make out of flowered fabric, or probably bought cheaply on eBay. Then, after 3 years, I realized I could wear a classic simple tan Safari hat. This looked less strange. I kept a second hat in the car and wear it always when I go out. The good news is that wearing this hat eventually meant I never got any more skin damage. My skin healed somewhat. Now I look about twenty years younger than other females in the area who are my age. They have sun spots/age spots. The sun will create this sun spot damage underneath your upper skin and in a few years it will be permanent. (I also used an excellent laser doctor on spots on my face many years ago — but this is not so good in the long run — if you’re under 40, you can try removing just a tiny bad spot here and there on your face, otherwise you’re doing too much damage and the spot will come back.) Avoiding all sun spots is amazing. Women in the 19th century realized this, so they wore gloves and bonnets (even in England which wasn’t too sunny then). About five year ago I also began wearing really long sleeves that cover my hands down to the fingers. This means no spots on my hands. I also use extra virgin olive oil on my hands (most olive oil in the super market is fake). As a result, no aging hands. I can still wear beautiful rings. It’s important that you protect your hands so they remain youthful and delicate, or even if you protect your face, your hands will give you away. It’s also important to protect your throat and cleavage area from sunlight (otherwise you get ugly spots and crepe skin). I wore a bikini at the beach until age 60. At age 35, however, I began wearing a shirt most of the time that had the top button closed to protect my upper throat and breasts. I could reveal them a little for a few moments before reclosing the top of the shirt. It used to drive young guys nuts to see a woman taking off a man’s shirt while in the water, or the wet shirt clinging to my bikini. Men like the “reveal.” Two years ago, much to my shock, a young handsome blonde blue eyed lifeguard tried to pick me up. Consider yourself lucky to learn about skin damage and the tricks to protect it early enough in life.

  18. does cold pressed olive oil have same healing abilities as castor oil and what can be used to dilute cold pressed oil to make it lighter

  19. How can i get rid of green veins and white patches on my skin caused by bleching creams and how do i maintain my bleached skin without using more bleaching cream

  20. Hey any body who can help me plz help,i have a huge damage on my face due to the skin lightening Cream,my neighbour gave me to fight with acne…..but once I stopped using my skin becomes red nd I can’t go out on sun…..if I go out my face nd nose becomes red nd acne comes on my face……I am really tired…….how can I get back my skin plz tell

  21. Hy I HV been using bleaching creams for 2 years becs I was having black spot,, den its helo e after I stopped using it my skin I burnt I got blemishes, more dark spot, black head n pimples what must I use on the 25 of may I’m getting married plz help

  22. I have damaged the top part of my cheeks through lightebing creams, i read on your page to use castor oil and it seems its getting darker. Can you please advice me on a more beneficial face regimen… please help

  23. Have being using Cairo white before, since 4year again but have stop us it going to three months now, I just notice some veins in my hand and leg. But now am using honey and herbolene Vaseline for my body now. I didn’t want my body spoil before I will stop using it. Please I want your help, I want natural things that we bright me. Just a little. Thanks

  24. Hello,
    I have hyper-pigmentation on my forehead I went to the cosmetologist I was recommended the Cosmelan peel. Few days after the peel my mouth area turned red and the patch’s on my forehead still remain the same one side of my face is brighter than the other my lips are burnt black and my pupil yellowish. Please what do I do to revert back. I have used it for only 3 weeks please help.
    Can I user castor oil to revert back please advise me this is my first time of using chemical on my skin in 41 years.

    1. Hi Presh,

      I’m sorry to hear about this. From what you describe, it sounds like a serious burn so please see a doctor ASAP. I’m not sure why your pupil will be yellowish, but you should inform the doctor of this also.

      I can understand your distress, but the most immediate concern is your health, safety and protecting your eyes, so please take care of that first. Also I don’t know if this comforts you or not, but you are definitely not alone in having a bad outcome from a skin peel. Many people have had the same or a similar outcome.

      Should there be scarring after the area has healed over, you can take steps (such as by using castor oil or other oils) to heal them over time. Healing oils are not a quick fix, but with time and patience, they can be effective.

      Please take care of yourself.


  25. Hello, please I need help. I used a beaching cream on my skin,now my skin is highly damaged, my skin darker than it was before i used it.i have stretch marks, dark knuckles on my toes and fingers and a black mark around my eye.😥 help me

  26. Hmmm my face is something else in part of my face will be red like a sunburn but it not and sometimes it inching and little bit pain if I apply cream it will dry off after pilling it will turn to red again but if I use carotone black sport corrector for 3day it will go away but if I stop using it it will come back have try many cream but didn’t works at all.

  27. Hey, so I have been using a lightening cream close to 4 months now. But i started noticing green veins and redness of the skin. What do I do? ? ?

  28. Pls help me I really need help, I have been using carro white cream for over 4 years now, tho am a type that changed lightening cream very well, is good in my body but whenever I stop the carro white cream I will become very darker than my color before and become very ugly that people will start asking me what’s wrong with me, then with frustration I will go back to the cream again and get my normal color back, but am tired of chemical I want to use natural cream a cream that will keep this my fairness going, I wasn’t fair before I was chocolate but I don’t want to go back to that color anymore I just need organic something like natural something to keep this color going, and I need something I will use to get rid of the chemical in my body Pls help me, here’s my email i will be waiting for ur response thanks so much

  29. stop using what cream u you using through out all and start again. sorbolene cream to cleanse or oatmeal cleansing bath and shower oil ( cetaphil) never use any soap or any bubbly cleanser. rosehip oil is good lipids so use and pure vitamin e oil and more sorbolene or oatmeal based cream helped me can buy all at a good chemist. worst case is lazer surgery.

  30. Hello pls how can I restore my bleached skin back in one week, because the cream spoiled my skin too much, and the cream is clinic clear, well I have stop it but I’m being embarrassed so please what can I use to recover my skin back in one week.

    1. Hi Emmanuel, I’m sorry you’re going through this. Yes, please stop using Clinic Clear – it contains hydroquinone.

      If you read the article, you might get some ideas that are helpful, but unfortunately none are quick fixes. If the cream has been used for too long, you may need to be patient with the healing and recovery. The skin is an organ just like any other, so any damage will need time to fix.

      It might help if you focus on all the good things in your life as you give your skin time to heal. Easier said than done, I know, but stress and worry will not make the time go by faster. Take care of yourself and I wish you the best of luck.


  31. Hello. I have extreme damage after using Retin-A for a few weeks. It has caused indented pores on my cheeks that form major lines when I smile. The sides of my cheeks look like gravel. There are also lines of pores that connect from my nose to my lips and in various directions on my chin. I have an orange peel texture with large pores visible everywhere. My face used to be dewy and full. It is now very rough looking with all the lines and texture occurring, although it feels smooth and there are not rough patches. Has anyone else experienced this? I have been trying natural oils and have completely transformed my eating, supplements, etc. over the past 2 months. I am severely depressed over this situation. I need to find a solution with a path to follow to reverse this damage. I have been to 2 dermatologists who want to prescribe Retin-A. I had used Retin-A years ago and experienced the red/flaky typical scenario and after stopping it would completely heal and my skin would look great. As soon as it appears it may be slightly improving, I revert back to square one. Please, I need help from someone who is experienced with this type of damage I need to heal my face and know that this damage can be reversed. I have not talked to one doctor or esthetician that has seen this occur from Retin-A nor give advice on how to heal, although I have seen postings on other blogs regarding this type of occurrence, again, with no real solution to repair.

    1. Hi Cassy, I’m very sorry this happened to you. I can imagine how sad, helpless and distressed you feel.

      The good news is that you’re on the right track already with using healing oils regularly and improving your diet. But two months is very short to expect results so please do not be discouraged. Time will go by the same whether or not you keep up with your regime so you won’t lose anything by continuing with it.

      The reason I mention the time needed is because it sounds like what you have is some deep damage and scarring. The orange peel texture is sometimes also seen after using lasers on the skin, so that might give you a better idea of the kind of damage there is underneath. I believe you can heal your skin from the bottom-up but it will take longer. Keep doing what you’re doing, but give it one year at least before you decide on the results. Take a clear well-lit picture of your skin every 2 months or so for your own reference and encouragement, just because it can be difficult to see changes in something that we look at every day.

      I think you can achieve slow and steady true healing if you stay the course. Be kind to yourself too. It’s normal to get discouraged because we’re dealing with a hard situation. Just don’t give up.

      Much love


  32. Hi, I’ve been using carotone bsc on my face for a while now so I stopped using it but since I stopped my face became darker than my other body parts, it itches me so badly and its peels, i have white head too, I look miserable, I can’t even check my face in the mirror and people have started noticing it and asking me what happened to me. I started using Shea butter in the night after washing my face with warm water but still no improvement, please help me

    1. Hi Comfort, I’m sorry that you’re going through this. You made the right decision to stop using Carotene as it contains mercury (see link).

      How long have you been applying shea butter nightly?


  33. Hi my name is Alex I am caramel in color I have used many products on my skin like (nivea natural fairness,dodo skin gold,DES,white secret, Vaseline cocoa radiant and currently using E45 cuz of my discoloration) but now my face and my whole skin are red and weak I also used African black soap that a friend advised I should rub on my face at night but the black soap darkened my face and have refused to go out plz I need help, help me plz I no longer go out I stay indoors cuz of this help plz

  34. I have used up to 10 creams within the space of 2 years like nivea natural fairness, dodo skin gold,Caro white,Vaseline cocoa glow,DES,and currently E45 and my skin has turned red my face covered with black patches due to black soap I rub at night that a friend advised me to
    Plz I need help

    1. Hi Alexx, I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can imagine how distressed you feel.

      I’m not quite sure I understand. Did the creams you used for the past 2 years lead to the skin damage, or was it one particular cream and the black soap?

      In any case, please try to see a dermatologist and show them all your creams, if possible. If there’s persistent redness and thinner skin, one of the creams you used could have contained corticosteroids.

      My other suggestions:

      – Stop using all creams that are formulated (i.e. has a long list of ingredients and chemicals on the label). Stick to a simple healing oil which you like that has no added ingredients, and use this daily. Use a natural soap for cleansing or one that you already know works well for you.
      – Try to take small steps to get your spirit and body to a healthier and gentler place (e.g. deep breathing, meditation, reading, music). A good inner state has been proven to be supportive of healing.
      – Try making some healthy dietary changes. The skin is one of our largest organs, and likewise it benefits from getting enough nutrients. Add bone broth/homemade stock to your meals if possible.
      – Be patient and steady as healing oils can take time to start to show results (months and sometimes up to a year or more depending on the severity of the damage that needs healing).
      – Avoid the temptation of looking for a “quick fix”. Remind yourself that this urge could have led to the skin damage now, and it’s time to do something different.

      I wish the best luck, and the strongest love and support for yourself. You can do it.


  35. Hi is still me Alexx I am sory for the way I started writing without introduction and greetings plz I am sorry and I also forgot to say that I am caramel in color plz I need hep plz even when I was my face still red I have stopped us in creams for over 2 weeks now still no changes

  36. Sorry hessa for disturbing
    Like I said I was caramel in color but I think the cream that led to this was nivea natural fairness and the black soap that gave me a dark patch

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