Hydroquinone, traditionally used in a number of skin lightening treatments, is considered highly hazardous to your health by the Environmental Working Group because of its toxicity. Specifically, it can cause respiratory issues and it’s been found carcinogenic, even in low doses. Some research has even shown it to be toxic to the cardiovascular system as well as the blood and liver. But with so many safe and natural alternatives, you can still avoid hyperpigmentation and brown spots on face by choosing products made with natural skin lighteners. 1. Licorice Extract Licorice extract is known for its ability to absorb UVA and UVB rays. It also slows the production of melanin, a group of natural pigments which tend to increase after age 40. Melanin causes the excessive production of age spots. Licorice is an herbal ingredient found in a number of cosmetic products that smooths and lightens the skin while fading hyperpigmentation. 2. Niacinamide Niacinamide is a form of B3 that's effective at skin lightening and softening dry and flaky skin. It’s found in a number of foods like yeast, meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, beans, and cereal grains. But it’s used as a topical ingredient as well. One study found that niacinamide is an effective skin lightening compound that works by inhibiting the production of melanin, similar to licorice extract. 3. Lemon Juice Lemon juice is an effective stand alone ingredient for fading brown spots. After cleansing the skin, slice a lemon open, and avoiding the eyes, rub the juicy part of the lemon on your face. The alpha hydroxy acids in the lemon slough away dead skin cells while stimulating the growth of new skin cells. After 5 minutes, rinse the lemon juice off of your face. If it stings, rinse earlier.

Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.