Are you wondering how to get rid of blotchy skin on face, arms or legs? While some causes of blotchy skin are uncontrollable, there are also others that you can do something about it. Today, we will go over several home remedies, which will show you how to treat it safely and effectively.
What is blotchy skin
A blotchy skin is called in the medical field as melasma or chloasma (if it occurs during pregnancy). It’s characterized by white, red, or brown to gray patches on the skin that normally appears on the neck and face. However, it may also develop in other areas of the body, such as the arms or legs.
What causes blotchy skin
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light
- Environmental factors (e.g. animal dander and dust)
- Harsh skin care products and treatments
- Hormonal Changes (like what happens during pregnancy)
How to get rid of blotchy skin on face, neck, arms and legs
1. Perform Regular Exfoliation
Skin usually appears discolored and uneven due to excessive sun exposure, which speeds up the production of melanocytes leading to excessive skin pigmentation. A good way to remedy this problem is to exfoliate.
The reason why exfoliation works is very simple. Doing this at least once or twice per week helps get rid of dead or damaged cells that have accumulated on your skin’s outer layer. The result is a lighter, younger, and more even skin tone.
For those who don’t know, there are two types of exfoliants: chemical and physical (or manual). Don’t fret. Chemical exfoliants usually contain low doses of chemicals to decrease the chances of developing skin irritations.
So, should you use chemical or physical exfoliants?
It really depends on what you prefer and the type of skin you have. The great thing about chemical exfoliants is they produce consistent results. In one placebo-controlled study, researchers concluded that chemical exfoliation products using glycolic acid are better than those products using tri-chloroacetic acid when it comes to treating melasma.
Tips and Reminders
- Know your skin. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best to start with physical exfoliants.
- When it comes to frequency, a general rule being followed is to exfoliate once a week for sensitive skin and twice or thrice a week for oily skin. Never overdo it, or risk damaging your skin even further.
- Use oils, like virgin coconut oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil, to protect your skin’s weak blood vessels.
- Wet your skin with warm water first in order to open your pores and loosen up dirt.
- Remember, be gentle. Use upward circular motions when exfoliating. Then use your favorite lotion, moisturizer, or anti-aging serum after to soothe irritated skin.
- The best time to exfoliate is when you’re taking a bath.
- Apply sunscreen when you plan to go out because exfoliation makes your skin sensitive to sunlight. In fact, don’t exfoliate at all if you’re going to be doing activities that requires you to stay under the sun for prolonged periods.
- If your skin is sunburned, don’t exfoliate.
2. Procyanidin Plus Vitamins A, C, and E
Procyanidin is a kind of flavonoid that belongs to the family of proanthocyanidin (condensed tannins). It’s extracted from grape seeds and is believed to help lower risk for coronary heart disease, increase good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) levels, and prevent blood clotting. The great thing about it is it’s easily utilized by the body.
Procyanidin can be found in different foods and drinks. Here are some examples:
- Chocolate or cocoa
- Red wine
- Cranberry juice
- Green tea
- Peanut skin
Based on a clinical trial, two foods contain the highest amount of procyanidin- apples and chocolates (147.1mg and 164.7mg, respectively).
However, not all apples are created equal. Among the different varieties, it’s the Red Delicious variety that’s the best source of this flavonoid.
When it comes to treating a blotchy skin or melasma, procyanidin seems to be effective. However, it works better if it’s combined with vitamins A, C, and E, according to one study.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study enrolled sixty Filipino women with epidermal melasma. After eight weeks of taking this drug combination, results revealed the “procyanidin + vitamins A, C, E” group experienced a significant decrease of pigmentation in their left and right cheeks.
So far, there are no known dangerous effects of taking procyanidin, as long as it’s taken in normal dosages. You can find procyanidin in grape seed extract and French maritime pine bark supplements.
3. White Mulberry Extract
The leaves of the white mulberry (Morus alba) herb is usually processed into powder to be used for different ailments, such as diabetes. Through the years, clinical trials have suggested that its extract may contain certain properties that may make your skin clearer and younger looking.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology analyzed and compared the effects of 75% mulberry extract oil versus a placebo when it comes to being a skin lightening agent for facial melasma. The researchers equally divided the 50 test subjects into two treatment groups: the “75% mulberry extract oil” group and the placebo group.
Using the Melasma Area and Severity Score (MASI) as an evaluation tool, the researchers found out that the “75% mulberry extract oil” group experienced significant improvements, while the placebo group experienced minimal improvements.
Were there side effects? Four test subjects from the “75% mulberry extract oil” group reported minor itching. On the other hand, there were twelve test subjects from the placebo group who experienced itching and erythema (abnormal skin redness).
The active compound that’s responsible for mulberry’s skin lightening effect is known as Mulberroside F, which is generally extracted from its leaves. It works by stopping the production of melanin (hair and skin pigment) and the activity of tyrosinase, which is an enzyme responsible for controlling melanin biosynthesis.
Mulberry powdered leaf is generally safe when taken orally for a maximum of five weeks. Some examples of possible adverse effects of this herb are constipation, mild diarrhea, bloating, and lightheadedness.
Since it affects blood sugar levels, diabetics are encouraged to closely monitor their condition. The same is recommended for people taking anti-cholesterol meds.
Niacinamide is the active form of niacin (vitamin B3). It’s generated by our body when it converts excess niacin into niacinamide. Some food sources of vitamin B3 are green veggies, milk, cereals, meat, and eggs. You can also find niacin and niacinamide in many B-complex dietary supplements.
The great thing about niacin is it’s easily absorbed when taken by mouth. Thus, your body can use it immediately to treat different ailments, like high cholesterol levels, cholera-induced diarrhea, dizziness, and headache. Topically, niacinamide is used for hydrating the skin and getting rid of acne. Studies show that it can also treat uneven skin tone and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Niacinamide lightens the skin by preventing the transport of melanosomes, which are produced by melanocytes, to the keratinocytes. Melanosomes are granules that are responsible for giving tissues color and UV-protection. Meanwhile, keratinocytes are located in the deep layer of your skin’s outer layer (epidermis). Their role is to receive melanosomes or pigments, not produce them.
Niacinamide is available in tablet and extended-release tablet forms. Make sure to follow your doctor’s prescription or the instructions on the product label to ensure your safety.
It’s possibly safe to take by mouth, as long as you don’t exceed 3 grams a day. Some of its possible side effects are diarrhea, tummy ache, and frequent fluid stools. When these symptoms appear, consult your doctor immediately.
5. Topical Soy-based Products
Soy is a great skin food. And an increasing number of skin care manufacturers know that. That’s why soy, in the form of genistein, is used as an ingredient for many night creams, moisturizers, and anti-aging preparations.
It’s because soy has antioxidant and estrogenic properties. The lecithin in soy boosts the production of collagen, so skin elasticity is improved. Meanwhile, the vitamin E in soy promotes skin cell regeneration. You can also use it to treat uneven skin tone, redness, age marks, and oily or dry skin.
Genistein in soy is perfect for skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation problems caused by sun damage. However, it’s totally powerless if your blotchy skin is caused by estrogen. Remember, genistein has estrogenic properties, so it may only make matters worse.
How does soy get rid of blotchy skin on face and legs? Soy produces certain compounds that inhibit the activity of serine protease, a group of enzymes that cut chemical bonds in other proteins.
Here’s the thing, though. I wouldn’t advise you to take soy dietary supplements without proper medical supervision. One reason is they’re not for everybody. Taking them in large quantities could potentially jeopardize your health. Instead, buy topical soy preparations.
Try using soy moisturizer for starters. In a 12-week clinical trial, researchers found out that soy moisturizer was highly effective in solving common skin issues, such as blotchiness, dullness, pigmentation, and the overall texture and tone of the skin. Improvements were observable starting on the second week of application.
Reminder: If you don’t know if you’re allergic to soy or not, make sure to apply it on a small and hidden area of your skin first.
6. Aloe Vera
There’s no doubt in my mind that aloe vera possesses a lot of medicinal and healing properties. It’s a great anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral agent. It’s soothing and moisturizing. What’s more, it can potentially improve the appearance of a blotchy skin caused by excessive UV (ultraviolet) exposure.
Aloesin, a compound derived from aloe vera, is considered a tyrosinase inhibitor. This is backed up by a clinical trial. Researchers of the study were trying to determine the inhibitory effect of aloesin on skin pigmentation in humans after being exposed to ultraviolet light.
The test subjects were given three types of treatments: aloesin, arbutin, and aloesin plus arbutin. After applying the treatments four times a day for fifteen days, results showed that aloesin was able to suppress skin pigmentation by 34% and arbutin by 43.5%. But greater improvements were observed if they were used together.
The study I mentioned above only shows that aloesin in aloe vera can be considered as an effective treatment for skin discoloration or over pigmentation. Of course, more clinical trials still need to be done.
Aloe vera is commonly sold as a juice, gel, cream, and lotion. These are likely safe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. Sometimes, aloe vera gel may cause your skin to feel itchy and flushed.
Other home remedies for blotchy skin on face
Oatmeal will soothe skin irritations and blotches.
Make a paste. Cook 2 tbsp of oatmeal in a 1/2 cup of milk. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix it well and let it cool down.
Apply the mixture on your face for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
Yogurt works great with blotchy skin, especially when it is caused by sun. It also reduces age spots.
Apply plain yogurt on your skin for half an hour and then wash it off with warm water.
Get a ripe banana and mash it. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil or almond oil. Mix in 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together. Apply the paste on your face for 20-30 minutes. Wash it off with warm water.
Green tea is great for relieving blotchy skin due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can drink green tea or make a paste.
Place a green tea bag for 1/2 cup of hot water and steep it for 10 minutes. Remove the bag from the cup and add 1-2 tbsp of rice flower in the tea. Spread the solution on your face for 15 minutes. You can do this for several times a week.
When you have a blotchy skin, the first thing you should do is to determine the root cause, so you’ll know the next steps you should take to eliminate it. The main goal here is to suppress the formation, proliferation, and breakdown of melanin pigments in order to brighten and even out your skin’s complexion.
One of the most important first steps you should take is to avoid or minimize your exposure to the sun. If you need to be outside, don’t forget to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen or a moisturizer or lotion with SPF protection. As much as possible, avoid wearing makeup, especially if your blotchy skin is accompanied by itching.
Be realistic, though. A blotchy skin won’t disappear overnight. It may take days or weeks of continuous treatment in order to get rid of it. If home remedies don’t work, it may be a good idea to pay your dermatologist a visit in order to identify the real cause and receive the right treatment.