Everything to know about skin lightening– A Beauty Guide –What is the role of melanin in skin lightening?

All women regardless of age crave clear, radiant skin. For a Caucasian woman blotchiness and black spots caused by sun damage and the aging process obstruct the path of getting radiant skin. Apart from this dryness and hormonal fluctuations related to a life change like menopause stand in the way as well.

The best solution to the problem is skin lightening. It is not the same as skin whitening and brightening. Here is everything to know about skin lightening.

Skin lightening is not becoming fair. It is to achieve radiant skin. It helps to remove dark spots, hyperpigmentation caused by melanin. Melanin controls the color of the skin.

What is the role of melanin in the skin?

Melanin is a pigment in the skin. The color of this pigment is the color of the skin. There are only 2 types of melanin namely

  • Eumelanin – the most common melanin and is brown in color
  • Pheomelanin – It produces reddish-brown color.

But human races have varied shades of skin color. This is because of exposure to the sun. The pigment is produced by cells called melanocytes that protect the skin from getting damaged from the sun. Better the production of melanin, better is the skin color, radiant, glow and shine.

What determines the production of melanin?

  • Exposure to UV radiation – More exposure to UV radiation induces more production of melanin for protection.
  • Genetic – Culture, and ethnicities determine the shades of the melanin pigment
  • Size of melanocytes – Bigger melanocytes produce more melanin. The size of the melanocytes can be controlled by a healthy diet, home remedies, cosmetic creams like
  • Diseases – The diseases that affect melanin include albinism. It is a genetic inability to produce melanin. It is also affected by vitiligo. It is a progressive loss of melanocytes.

Foods to maintain healthy melanin level

One should never try to increase or decrease the level of melanin. It is a natural process. However, one should always maintain a healthy level. This helps to maintain the glow and shine of the skin. Here are some of the food items to keep the melanocytes healthy

  • Vitamin A – It is essential to maintain healthy skin. It is abundant in carrot, sweet potato, peas, and spinach.
  • Vitamin E – It helps to protect the skin from sun damage. Therefore, helps to control the production of melanin during sun exposures. By this, the skin retains its glow. Vegetables, Seeds, Grains, and nuts are rich in Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C – The immune properties of the vitamins help to protect the sun damages. The foods rich in Vitamin C are berries, leafy vegetables, and citrus fruits.

How is skin lightening different from skin whitening?

Skin Whitening can simply be called skin bleaching. It is an unnatural unhealthy method to become fairer. It could bring upon negative and highly dangerous side effects. It is a treatment wherein the melanin is blocked. Therefore, the skin never darkens even when exposed to sun.

On the other hand, in skin lightening treatment, the obstacles to healthy melanin are removed. It removes dark spots, hyperpigmentation. These areas are concentrated regions of higher melanin levels. They are brought down to normal levels. It does not alter the overall skin tone as that of skin whitening.

How is a skin lightening the best cure to hyperpigmentation?

Darkening of the skin is generally referred to as hyperpigmentation. These dark spots are formed on the face and hands. It is formed due to greater exposure to the sun. They are harmless. But many are uncomfortable with these spots.

The skin lightening treatment acts on the specific damaged areas. The goal is to fade out unwanted blemishes. The action of melanin on these areas are higher than the rest of the other parts due to sun damage. This leads to the formation of dark spots. The treatment reduces this level bringing it to normal.

How does skin lightening work?

There are many layers in the skin. The basal layer of the skin is the outermost layer. It is in this layer the melanocytes are formed. These cells contain an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is responsible for hyperpigmentation.

Skin lightening acts on these enzymes. The levels of the enzymes at these spots are reduced in the skin lightening treatment. One can use a skin lightening cream like meladerm over these spots to reduce the pigmentation.

What is hydroquinone? Why should this treatment of skin lightening be avoided?

The skin lightening products with hydroquinone cause irritations. Hydroquinone works by decreasing the number of melanocytes. In the beginning, it will provide positive results. As days pass by or when the person stops using it, the skin starts to fade away. It might even lead to exogenous ochronosis. It is a skin disorder that leaves blue-black spots especially if the user is of African descent.

What ingredients should one look for while selecting a skin lightening cream?

  • Vitamin C
  • Retinol
  • Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids

Bottom line

Skin Lightening is not skin bleaching.

Is skin lightening permanent?

Skin lightening helps to heal the skin damages. It is a permanent cure for the persisting problem. However, if the person goes out or is exposed to sun for a longer period again, hyperpigmentation reoccurs.

But is the best cure that does not disturb the natural biological processes.