We have seen that to speak derogatorily of one’s fellow is to degrade one’s own status as a creation b’tzelem Elokim (in G-d’s image).
For one who speaks loshon hara, the teshuvah (repentance) process is the same as for all sins between man and his Creator: confession, sincere regret, and the resolution never to speak loshon hara again.
One is not required to discuss the matter with the subject of one’s sinful words and seek his forgiveness, unless actual harm was caused. (Teshuvah for having caused harm through loshon hara will be discussed later.)
Sefer Chofetz Chaim, 17 Tishrei, page 82