We all want to be fair and beautiful, and we believe that melanin in our skin is what causes us to be dark-skinned. This is correct, but partially. Every skin type and body type are unique. The presence and density of melanin play a significant role in determining whether our skin is light or dark.
What Is Melanin?
Melanin is the pigment responsible for skin, hair, and eye color. Melanocytes are responsible for melanin production. Everyone has the same number of melanocytes. This cell, however, produces more or less melanin in each individual. The more melanin there is in the skin, the darker it will be.
Melanin excess in multiple areas of the body causes skin darkening, also known as hyper pigmentation. This causes some regions of the skin to look darker than others. There are numerous therapeutic methods available to eliminate melanin or reduce the production of melanin in the skin.
What Factors Contribute To Excessive Melanin Production?
Hyper pigmentation is defined as an increase in melanin production on the skin where it is concentrated in certain areas. This is when the melanin in your skin creates a shift in the tone of your skin, making it appear darker. Excess melanin can be caused by several factors, including:
Imbalances In Hormones
While you may not realize it, hormonal imbalances are the most common cause of hyper pigmentation in women. This is due to an increase in the formation of melanin on the skin caused by an increase in the production of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy or when taking birth control pills.
Estrogen production causes imbalances in melanin formation, which results in excess melanin. It is more common in those with darker skin tones since their bodies naturally contain more melanin.
Melanin production on the skin is also triggered by skin irritation. Melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) are present in the skin's epidermal layer. Stressors like UV radiation, physical damage, and others promote inflammation, which alters melanin formation and concentration in the afflicted area.
Malnutrition Due To Vitamin Deficiency
Although not fully understood, a lack of vitamin B12 produces an increase in melanocyte skin cells in our bodies.
Addison's disease is a rare endocrine disease that also happens to be an autoimmune disease that attacks the adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys. The adrenal glands are in charge of producing cortisol and sex hormones.
Addison's disease has been shown to enhance melanin synthesis on the skin. Addison's disease stimulates the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which causes a chain reaction on the melanocytes in our epidermal layer of skin, resulting in uncontrollable hyper pigmentation.
How To Reduce Melanin In The Skin
Before getting these treatments, seek advice from a dermatologist on which method is appropriate for you.
Laser therapy eliminates the top layers of skin, lowering melanin levels in the treated areas. Lasers that are commonly used include:
Ablative laser: This treatment is used to remove the outer layers of skin and requires significant intervention.
Non-invasive laser: This approach is milder than invasive laser, promoting collagen production and skin regeneration. One such treatment is intense pulsed light (IPL). This method uses light energy pulses to heat and destroy melanin, hence eradicating brown patches.
Q-switched ruby laser (QSRL): This approach employs light pulses to heat and eliminates melanin. Laser therapy, like any medical procedure, is not for everyone. Because it has the potential to cause side effects including scarring, discoloration, and infections. Before starting treatment, consult your doctor for guidance and a skin test to determine whether this is the appropriate option for your skin.
Topical Creams or Ointments
To lighten skin, you can also apply topical creams or ointments. These products reduce the amount of melanin in the places where they are utilized.
Skin whitening creams are available with or without a prescription. These products typically contain one or more of the following ingredients:
- Vitamin C:Vitamin C, often known as ascorbic acid, contains characteristics that reduce melanin on the skin by reducing tyrosinase enzyme activity.
- Glycolic acid: It is an efficient skin-lightening acid that works as an exfoliating agent to eliminate the outer layer of pigmentation and dirt build-up on the skin.
- Kojic acid:Tyrosine in our cells is responsible for the formation of melanin in our bodies. Kojic acid forms a barrier in our skin that prevents the synthesis of tyrosine, resulting in a lighter skin tone.
- Azelaic acid:This skincare ingredient is primarily used to treat acne. It is, however, a useful skincare ingredient for reducing melanin synthesis on your skin by preventing the growth of discolored cells.
- Retinoid: Retinol is a powerful active ingredient for the reduction of epidermal melanin. It inhibits tyrosinase activity, causes desquamation, and speeds up cell turnover (epidermopoiesis).
- Lactic acid: like glycolic acid, suppresses tyrosinase activity in your body, lowering melatonin generation. It is better suited to persons with dry skin.
Create an effective skincare regimen that incorporates these active ingredients to help you in balancing your melanin levels and reduce hyper pigmentation. However, skin whitening creams can have side effects like irritation, dryness, itching, and redness. Before using whitening creams or ointments, consult a doctor.
Tips To Slow Melanin Production In The Skin
Methods for reducing melanin synthesis do not include medical treatments but rather rely on sun protection behaviors and certain natural solution possibilities.
Sunscreen And Sun Exposure
Melanin's function is to protect your skin from UV damage. Your skin produces much more melanin when exposed to the sun.
Wearing sunscreen can help to slow down the procedure. Sunscreen covers and protects the skin from UV radiation, which reduces melanin synthesis. The best sunscreen for slowing melanin development is one that has a broad spectrum, an SPF of 30 or higher, and is water-resistant.
Sunscreen does not completely block the sun's UV radiation. You should also restrict your sun exposure to reduce the amount of melanin your skin produces. Stay inside from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are at their peak. Wear protective gear such as eyewear, long sleeves, and caps. Avoid using tanning beds.
Some natural remedies purport to brighten the skin. It's unclear how long these cures will take to work, so be patient if you decide to try them. Furthermore, they are all temporary, therefore you must continue to use them regularly.
Curcumin is turmeric's active component that inhibits melanin production. Curcumin is a substance that works by blocking tyrosinase. This prevents melanocytes from producing more melanin.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera can suppress melanin synthesis after sun exposure. The plant includes aloesin, a chemical that has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase.
Lemon juice is used to lighten skin discoloration. This could be because of its high vitamin C concentration. Vitamin C inhibits tyrosinase activity, which reduces melanin synthesis. Despite its possible anti-pigmentation properties, lemon juice can be irritating to the skin. Use only when diluted, and avoid direct sunlight afterward.
Green tea contains an element known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG can prevent melanin production. It acts by blocking the enzyme required for the production of melanin in the skin.
Home Remedies To Avoid
Home remedies are not all made equal. Some remedies can irritate, redden, or harm the skin. Hydrogen peroxide, bleach, and ammonia are examples of these.
Is It Possible To Permanently Lower Melanin Production?
Melanin is constantly produced by the human body. Genetics determines the amount. Existing hyper pigmentation can be lightened and possibly removed, but it may recur. Without regular skin-lightening treatments, it is impossible to permanently reduce your body's melanin synthesis.
Precautions For Skin Lightening
Skin lightening carries several hazards. If you try to reduce melanin, you can experience:
- Increased risk of sun damage:Melanin deficiency means less protection from the sun's rays. This increases the likelihood of wrinkles, irregular texture, and discoloration.
- Skin cancer risk is increased:The increased risk of UV damage raises your chances of skin cancer.
- Irritation and sensitivity: The actual process of skin whitening is tough on the skin. Many treatments have the potential to cause side effects such as redness, contact dermatitis, and itchiness.
There are also injectable skin-lightening products available on the market, but there is insufficient evidence that they work, and there are also side effects associated with them.
Embracing And Celebrating Your Natural Skin Tone
Finally, it's crucial to accept and cherish your natural skin tone. While lowering melanin can help with certain issues, it's also important to appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of your own skin tone. Remember that the diversity of skin tones is what makes us all unique. Rather than striving for an unrealistic skin tone, concentrate on keeping a healthy and vibrant complexion.
Skin lightening procedures can temporarily suppress melanin synthesis in your skin. The majority of them function by inhibiting the enzyme required for melanin formation. However, other than wearing sunscreen and minimizing sun exposure, there is no way to reduce your body's overall melanin synthesis. Because melanin synthesis is determined genetically, a permanent reduction is not possible. If you have hyper pigmentation, consult your doctor about ways to minimize melanin in the affected areas. They can recommend treatments or remedies based on your specific needs.