We all wish to have even-toned, blemish-free skin, but there can be way too many hurdles coming along the way to achieve the skin we desire. Have you ever wondered why everyone has a different skin tone? Or what’s the reason behind the skin discoloration on some parts of the body? Well, the answer is, MELANIN. Melanin is a brown to the black pigment found in the skin, hair, and iris of the eye that is responsible for skin color.
Hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin on some parts of the body is the result of excess melanin production and the solution lies in finding ways to reduce excessive production of melanin. There are many potent actives available out there that help in skin brightening or evening out the skin tone and they all work by controlling melanin production.
Now, let’s talk about what melanin is, why it is important and different ways to control its excess production.
Melanin is a natural pigment formed by the cells called melanocytes present at the lower layer of the epidermis by a multi-level chemical reaction known as melanogenesis. The process occurs when the enzyme tyrosinase catalyzes tyrosine to convert to dihydroxyphenylalanine. Apart from deciding our skin tone, melanin also protects our skin from harmful UV radiation.
Remember, all of us are genetically programmed to possess equal amounts of melanocytes. Despite the same number of melanin-producing cells, some may produce more melanin than the rest due to various internal and external reasons. The more melanin your skin makes, the darker your skin gets.
Sometimes, melanocytes can produce the melanin pigment in excess, which can accumulate at several areas of the skin, making it appear darker than usual, which doctors may refer to as Hyperpigmentation.
There can be other reasons as well for the excess melanin production:
- UV radiations of the sun trigger the melanocytes to produce excess melanin, resulting in skin darkening.
- Your family genes can also determine the ratios of melanin produced.
- Certain disturbances in the hormones, especially during pregnancy, may stimulate your melanocytes to produce a surfeit of melanin pigment leading to melasma.
- Other reasons could be side effects of medication, stress, vitamin deficiency.
Some people want to reduce melanin levels in the skin for a lighter shade of skin color. Melanin pigment can be reduced using at-home treatments, in-clinic procedures, and adding a few potent actives to your skincare.
In-clinic procedures, one can also opt for chemical peeling. Chemical peels have potent actives such as Alpha Hydroxy Acid and Beta Hydroxy Acids, that effectively eliminate melanin accumulation in the skin’s superficial layers. Other clinic procedures can be laser treatments and microdermabrasion.
Below are some of the well-known skin lightening agents and treatments effective in addressing this issue:
- Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone is one of the oldest and most effective treatments available to remove melanin from the skin. It decreases the number of melanocytes in the skin.
- Retinoids: Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that function by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase. It helps in skin cell turnover and disperses the remaining melanin granules evenly on the skin.
- Kojic Acid: Kojic acid is derived from certain kinds of fungi. It acts as a secret skin lightener that effectively diminishes dark spots, hyperpigmentation, giving brighter, radiant skin.
- Alpha Arbutin: Arbutin is a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone, which is extracted from several plant species. It adds visible luminosity to the skin and evens out skin tone and appearance. It works by causing a reversible blockage in the pathway of melanin formation.
Too little melanin can lead to a condition called albinism, causing pale skin or grey hair. And melanin deficiency can indicate hyperpigmentation. And having too much melanin means having a darker skin tone. Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that occurs because of more melanin production at a particular part of the body.
Deconstruct’s Brightening Serum and Clearing Serum are a unique combination of Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide that helps in reducing dark spots and pigmentation, thus giving radiant, glowing skin. AHAs and BHAs are also suggested to reduce dark spots.
Deconstruct’s Exfoliating Serum and Beginners Exfoliating Serum has the formulations of AHAs and BHAs that provide even-toned, smooth, and textured skin.
Melanin pigment formed in the skin is an absolute necessity, but excess skin ratios in the skin could certainly pose some serious issues. Hence, always seek your dermatologist’s advice.