PS: This post is for all those people who have asked me to give tips on fairer skin. I am sorry that I couldn't reply to you all personally but hope this post is helpful to you :)
Since quite long, I have been seeing a trend of questions on this topic from people who are either getting married or who have darker skin tones. So, first of all, I would like to say that you can't really lighten the skin complexion. The skin color is determined by the amount of melanin your skin has and you can't do anything to reduce the amount of this pigment inside your skin. Ok, after that bit of science, I would like to say that you can do somethings to preserve your original complexion.
Yup, that's the first step to any kind of skin care. And, I totally stress on the importance of this routine. I would suggest Neutrogena Ultra Sheer but my favourite is MVO Moisturizing Face Screen. I have often heard complains that the sunscreen does nothing but the secret lies in using the proper amount of sunscreen to provide full protection.
To remove makeup or sunscreen after an entire day of work, use oil or a good makeup remover before washing your face. Its one of the most important routines of the night.
Face Wash and Tone
Use your face wash as you would and don't forget to use the toner if your face is oily. I would suggest using homemade toners for your skin type. Green tea for oily and combination skin and rose water for dry skin. You can do other experiments with them as well.
Moisturize and Nourish
One of the most important routines even if your skin is oily. Get a good moisturizer. Or, use aloevera gel if your skin is oily. Its the best bet. For dry skin, I would suggest using a facial oil or serum instead of moisturizer at night.
Face Scrub and Mask
The above steps were regular routine. But, some extra love is needed to keep skin in perfect condition so exfoliate on every alternate day for oily skin or if you layer too many products on your skin at day time. And, if you have dry skin, exfoliate twice a week.
For dry skin, use sugar to exfoliate. For combination and oily skin, mix salt and sugar to exfoliate. They have alpha-hydroxy acids which help with removing the blemishes and dark spots on regular usage. Also, they keep the skin supple and improve the skin tone by making the skin look brighter.
After scrubbing, always follow with a mask. You can use any commercially-available products. I would not suggest you to use fruit masks after scrubbing with sugar because fruits also have active enzymes and sugar also have active enzymes so that can too much for your skin at a single time.
If you plan to use fruits, remember that they have active enzymes which do both the jobs - exfoliation and acting as a mask so keep the fruit juices on your skin for 15 minutes and wash off. Using sugar to exfoliate and using fruit juices as mask afterwards can make the skin sensitive. Honey is a good mask in such cases.
These are the steps I follow regularly to keep my complexion glowing. Please remember that whatever you do to your face, do the same to your neck and decolletage. You don't want your neck and lower body to look older and uncared for. But, also remember NOT to overdo things EVER. Keep things regular and you will notice difference in a month.
What's your secret to preserving your skin complexion? Are you already following a particular routine or going to follow this routine? Do share your results :)