Forlì, Italy, fifteenth century AD. The tightly closed curtains let some rays of sunlight filter into the room of the castle and revealed heavy wooden furniture cluttered with test tubes and alembics, shelves overflowing with large books with pages dampened by time, a boiling pot and countless containers with colored and precious liquids. It was the laboratory of a herbalist and scientist, but not of any one, but of Caterina Sforza, the countess of Forlì, daughter of the Duke of Milan Galeazzo Maria Sforza and a woman of incredible charm and character. Caterina Sforza was so appreciated that, as it seems based on the latest research, even the great Leonardo da Vinci paid her tribute to her. In what form? Well, it seems that the Mona Lisa is just the portrait of her. Caterina Sforza spent her days in her castle room in Forlì, devoting herself to demanding scientific studies, elaborating medical and cosmetic prescriptions. One of these talked about how dark spots and dull complexions could be contrasted by distilling egg white to obtain a powerful lotion. We do not have an alembic at home and nowadays the most recent scientific studies show us that we can also count on other natural remedies as well as egg whites, but we too can try to feel like Caterina Sforza. Let's close our eyes, imagine ourselves in another era, with other clothes, from other times, in a lab full of bottles and books, and see how we can create precious cosmetics useful for combating dark spots on the skin.
Dark skin spots, causes
Certain medicines, hormonal changes, acne, skin inflammations and excessive sun exposure can cause an uneven complexion with the appearance of dark skin spots (Hollinger et al, J Clin Aesthet Dermatol., 2018). Today we'll see the best natural remedies, without side effects, that we can use to make the skin tone more homogeneous.
Aloe against blemishes
Applications of aloe vera gel have been shown to counteract skin blemishes. The merit is all of a substance, aloesin, which is one of the most powerful active ingredients of aloe. Studies have shown that aloesin counteracts and attenuates dark spots on the skin caused by excessive exposure to UV rays (Hollinger et al, J Clin Aesthet Dermatol., 2018). You can proceed like this. In the evening, after cleansing your face, apply a layer of aloe gel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes, then rinse and continue with your usual treatment.
Carotenoids for a luminous complexion
Carotenoids are antioxidant substances capable of counteracting the aging processes of the skin, they stimulate the production of collagen with an anti-wrinkle action, illuminate the complexion and help to make the complexion more homogeneous, by reducing the formation of dark spots (Michalak et al, Nutrients, 2021). The benefits are obtained by applying carotenoids topically but also by taking these substances orally, then through the foods that contain them, such as carrots, squash, tomatoes, peppers, green leafy vegetables, melon, apricots and watermelons. If you want to create a brightened and anti-blemish mask, here's an idea. Clean a carrot without peeling it. Cut the carrot into pieces and cook it in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Blend the carrot until you get a puree. Add half a tablespoon of aloe gel, to enhance the anti-blemish action, and a tablespoon of thick yogurt, which improves the elasticity of the skin. Apply the mask on a clean face, leave on for ten minutes, then rinse and continue with your usual treatment.
Bakuchiol, the new frontier in the cosmetic field
Bakuchiol is an antioxidant substance, which is extracted from the seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant and which in recent years has been gaining fame as one of the most interesting and promising cosmetic ingredients. Bakuchiol effectively counteracts photoaging, reduces wrinkles and dark spots with an action similar to retinol but without causing irritation (Dhaliwal et al, Br J Dermatol, 2019). Not only that, bakuchiol has also been shown to reduce pimples and blackheads in case of acne and post inflammatory blemishes linked to this skin condition (Kang et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2020). You can buy bakuchiol in specialty stores and use it for making homemade cosmetics at home, for example by adding it to creams or vegetable oils.
Alternatively, you can buy powerful serums with bakuchiol among the ingredients.