What is melanin?
Melanin is the pigment that gives colour to your skin, hair, and eyes. Melanocytes, which are found in the outer layer of your skin, produce it. Each of us has roughly the same number of melanocytes. However, some people's cells produce more melanin than others, as do certain types of melanin. The darker your skin is, the more melanin you have. Melanin can build up in certain areas of the skin and cause darkening, which doctors may refer to as hyperpigmentation. When parts of your skin are darker than others, this is referred to as hyperpigmentation. While existing melanin deposits can be treated on the spot, there are risks and limitations. It is also possible to reduce the production of melanin in the skin.
How to reduce melanin production in the skin?
- Sunscreen and sun exposure
Melanin's function is to protect your skin from sun damage. When you are exposed to sunlight, your skin produces even more melanin. Wearing sunscreen will help to slow down this process. Sunscreen shields the skin from UV rays, which reduce melanin production.
The best sunscreen, according to most doctors is:
- a broad range
- SPF 30 or greater
Sunscreen does not completely block the sun's UV rays. To further reduce the amount of melanin produced by your skin, you should also:
- limit your exposure to the sun
- Stay inside from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are at their peak.
- Wear eye protection, long sleeves, and hats.
- Avoid using tanning beds.
The active component in turmeric may suppress melanin formation, according to a study published in Phytotherapy Research. Curcumin is a compound that inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase. This inhibits melanocytes' ability to produce additional melanin.
- Aloe vera
After sun exposure, aloe vera may help to minimize melanin synthesis. In a study published in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, aloesin, a chemical present in the plant, was discovered to block tyrosinase. Aloe vera, on the other hand, was shown to have none of these effects.
Despite contradictory data, aloe vera gel consumers claim it improves brightening skin.
- Lemon juice
Lemon juice is also used to lighten skin discolouration. It's possible that this is due to the high vitamin C concentration. Vitamin C has been shown to inhibit tyrosinase activity, which limits the development of melanin, according to a study. Lemon juice, despite its possible anti-pigmentation properties, can be harsh on the skin. Only use when diluted, and keep out of the sun afterwards.
- Skin bleaching
The number of melanocytes in your skin is reduced when you use a skin bleaching treatment like hydroquinone. This can result in skin that is lighter and more even in tone.
- Green tea
Epigallocatechin gallate is a chemical found in green tea (EGCG). According to a study, EGCG can help prevent melanin buildup. It operates by blocking a melanin-producing enzyme.
- Chemical peels
Chemical peels have a long history of being used to address skin disorders ranging from acne to skin discolouration. If you've had a blotchy complexion or too much melanin on your face for a long time, you might want to explore chemical peel therapy. Because acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid are present, this is an efficient technique to diminish melanin in the skin over time. Given that the technique is classified as cosmetic therapy, it is critical that you meet with your dermatologist and provide an honest account of your skin's health history before proceeding with a session.
Skin lightening precautions
Skin whitening has a number of drawbacks. If you try to reduce melanin, you may experience:
- Sun damage is more likely. When melanin levels are low, the skin is less protected from the sun's rays. Wrinkles, uneven texture, and discolouration are more likely as a result of this.
- Skin cancer risk is increased. You're more likely to get skin cancer if you have a lot of sun damage.
- Irritation and sensitivity are two words that come to me when I think of irritability. Skin whitening is a traumatic experience for the skin. Redness, itching, and contact dermatitis are common adverse effects of several treatments.
Although injectable skin lightening products are available, they are not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is insufficient proof that they are effective, and they may pose health hazards.
Skin lightening procedures can limit the production of melanin in your skin for a short time. The majority of them act by inhibiting the enzyme that produces melanin. You can't reduce your body's overall melanin production unless you wear sunscreen and minimize your sun exposure. Because melanin synthesis is genetically determined, a permanent decrease is not achievable.
If you have hyperpigmentation, talk to your doctor about how to lower the amount of melanin in the affected areas. They can advise you on the best therapies or solutions for your specific needs.