One Saint Patrick’s Day, when I was a child, my godmother gave me a little book filled with traditional Celtic folklore, signed “From one Irishwoman to another~” I kept it on my nightstand, and remember reading some of the holistic remedies with fascination. One of them, “to fade freckles,” included washing the face with milk and lemon juice. I think it may have also included the indication to do this the night of the full moon.
Having worked in the beauty industry, I have seen a lot of products which promise to fade freckles, age spots, hyper-pigmentation, acne scarring, and other dark spots and discolorations. These preparations often contain ingredients like citric, lactic, or glycolic acid and low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Hydroquinone, otherwise known as the Michael Jackson skin bleach, works by shutting off the production of melanin by the melanocytes. It doesn’t technically “bleach” the skin; it simply slows or eliminates the generation of pigment on a cellular level. It is also a known carcinogen.
There are safe and effective alternative or holistic treatments which are far more budget-friendly. One of them is… surprise, washing the face with raw milk and lemon juice. Why? Milk contains lactic acid, and lemons contain citric acid. Both of these alpha-hydroxies exfoliate and increase cell-turnover, yielding a brighter, more even complexion. So why the indication to apply the night of the full moon? Probably a combination of these two reasons: 1) your skin cells renew every month (the moon is a convenient way to track your application), which is why it takes that length of time to start seeing real results, and 2) there is a high concentration of energy at the full moon, possibly enhancing your end result. This is why you might consider trimming your hair or nails with the waxing moon if you want them to grow, or waiting until it begins waning to slow growth.
You can purchase vegan-friendly products such as Devita’s High Performance Glycolic Acid Blend, which I adore, and which contains around 10-12% glycolic. Alpha Hydrox’s AHA Souffle, boasting a 12% concentration, is also a solid bet at $11.99. Looking for a whole, raw approach? Rub your face with a lemon wedge once or twice a day, or try one of these Ayurvedic remedies. I personally don’t use raw milk, but I find lemon juice to be really tolerable and effective. Just make sure to wear sunblock while using any of these regimens, as your new cells will be very photosensitive- otherwise you may end up with more dark spots and discoloration than you began with :[