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Melanin is a group of related molecules responsible for biological functions in the body that causes pigmentation in the hair, eyes, and skin. It is present in various amounts in human and animal skin and is responsible for your distinctive eyes, skin, and hair colour. The greater the amount of melanin produced, the darker the eyes, hair, and skin. The amount of melanin in your body depends on many factors, including your genetics and your ancestors’ sun exposure. It is derived from an amino acid called tyrosine. Additionally, melanin absorbs UV radiation and protects your cells from sun damage.
Medications for the skin
There are several melanin medicine creams for skin whitening that are available over the counter, although some are available with a prescription only. By acting on the skin’s melanin deposits, these lotions lighten the skin. To lighten skin, you can also apply face acids such as hydroquinone, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid, and retinoids. The melanin levels are reduced in places where the melanin medicine creams are applied.
Insights into melanin: Tyrosinase
It is the key enzyme required to generate melanin, which is inhibited by the topical products, resulting in a decrease in synthesis and paler skin. But since the effects of the products are transient and wear off after washing, using creams alone is not enough to achieve noticeably brighter skin. As a result, melanin production is slowed, and skin becomes lighter. The adverse effects of skin whitening creams, however, include dryness, irritation, redness, and itching; as a result, you may be forced to stop using them. Before utilising whitening creams or ointments, it is best to consult a dermatologist.
Face acids or lightening agents
The following components are typically found in skin-lightening treatments and help lower melanin levels:
Hydroquinone is a lightening agent for the skin and can treat several types of hyperpigmentation.
The chemical bleaches the skin by reducing the quantity of existing melanocytes. In situations of hyperpigmentation, increased melanocyte production results in increased melanin levels. By regulating these melanocytes, skin tone will become more uniform over time. On average, the chemical takes about four weeks to take effect and sometimes, it may take several months of constant use before you will see the benefits.
- Glycolic acid
The newest member of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs) family, which also contains lactic and malic acids, is glycolic acid. AHAs can be produced artificially or organically, with pineapple, grapes, and sugar cane being common sources of glycolic AHA. Due to the acids’ capacity to dissolve the bonds tying the dead cells on the surface of your skin to the cells below, this encourages new cells to move to the surface of your skin for a fuller, more youthful appearance. The product acts as an exfoliant by breaking down the intercellular glue that holds our top layer of dead skin cells together, exposing fresh, new skin cells and starting the cellular regeneration process. You can think about including this acid in your skincare routine to replace manual scrub exfoliators, which can be rough on the face.
- Applications: If you want to prevent dull skin, glycolic acid could be a helpful addition to your skincare routine because of its ability to buff away dead skin cells. Dead skin cells on the skin’s surface are broken down and removed by this chemical exfoliant. This is meant to improve pigmentation, dullness, dry, flaky skin, and skin brightness. It is therefore a perfect melanin medicine for skin to improve skin texture, minimise scarring, and lighten acne scars. In addition to collagen, elastin, and fibroblast, it boosts cell regeneration and proliferation. It is one of the most adaptable AHAs and helps clear the pores of bacteria. Glycolic helps minimise fine lines and wrinkles. You can use glycolic acid to exfoliate the face that increases cell turnover. The medicine to reduce melanin also reduces the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines and improves pigmentation. Also, your lines and wrinkles will be shallower and more moisturised.
- Azelaic acid
Cream containing azelaic acid possesses anti-keratinizing, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory effects. It is good for both acne with and without inflammation. Like benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid possesses potent antibacterial activity without generating bacterial resistance. It has equivalent efficacy to tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, and topical erythromycin as a monotherapy for mild to moderate acne. When used in conjunction with other topical drugs, such as benzoyl peroxide gel, clindamycin gel, tretinoin cream, and erythromycin benzoyl peroxide gel, its efficacy can be boosted. Azelaic acid cream may be coupled with oral antibiotics for the treatment of moderate to severe acne and may be used as a maintenance treatment once antibiotics are discontinued. It does not produce substantial sun sensitivity or local irritation.
- Kojic acid
Kojic acid is derived from fermented foods like Japanese sake, soy sauce, and rice wine. It blocks the production of melanin-producing tyrosine and lightens the skin by inhibiting melanin formation. Kojic acid lightens sun damage, age spots, and scars, and smooth out wrinkles. It has antibacterial and skin-lightening properties. It is used topically to treat cosmetic conditions in measured quantities like acne scars. Even in low concentrations, it may kill several common bacteria. It is often incorporated in antifungal products. It can help treat yeast, candidiasis, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. Soaps with Kojic acid may prevent bacterial and fungal illnesses if used consistently. The chemical topically usually works within two weeks and when used with glycolic acid the results are improved and faster. Kojic acid can lighten hyperpigmentation and scars, but not your skin. Consult a dermatologist before using kojic acid products to cure a problem or improve your appearance to learn about the recommended dosage and supplementary treatments that are also available. Stop using kojic acid if it causes redness, irritation, or pain. Apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve inflammation.
- Side effects: Cosmetics with 1% kojic acid are safe. However, some users may have adverse effects or hazards. Kojic acid most often causes contact dermatitis. It can cause redness, irritation, itching, rashes, swelling, and pain. Contact dermatitis is more common in sensitive skin or those using products with more than 1% kojic acid. Long-term kojic acid consumption may increase sunburn risk. Never apply kojic acid on cracked skin. Due to cancer concerns, some countries have prohibited this substance.
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, improves our skin only partially when we eat, drink, or supplement it. Vitamin C serums can boost or simplify your skincare routine. Topical vitamin C protects, repairs, and enhances skin. Like any product, serums vary. Your serum’s benefits on your skin depend on the type of vitamin C, its concentration, and component list. Vitamin C acts like an antioxidant that protects cells from environmental and sun damage. The serum is best applied directly to the skin to minimises wrinkles, boosts collagen formation, heals wounds, and decreases hyperpigmentation, brightens skin, and protects against pollution and free radicals. Tips: After cleaning and toning, apply vitamin C serum morning and night. Apply every eight hours. UV light decreases skin vitamin C, so you can apply topical vitamin C after UV exposure. Vitamin C serum is not a substitute for sunscreen–it can work well with a sun protection cream to boost its protection from damage.
A chemical peel employs acids in higher concentrations to treat a specific area of skin. They diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation by eliminating the skin’s outermost layer or epidermis. Deeper versions may potentially enter the dermis to create more pronounced results. Although many chemical peels are accessible over the counter, you may want to consider receiving a peel from your dermatologist. These are more potent and produce results more quickly. Because of its potency, some peels may increase the likelihood of adverse effects. Discuss your risks with your dermatologist.
Redness, blistering, infection, scarring, irritation, or an allergic reaction are concerns associated with both at-home and in-office chemical peels. They make the skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet light and may not be the ideal treatment if you are out in the sun often. The sun may worsen your hyperpigmentation if you do not apply sunscreen or employ other UV protection. You must take additional efforts to protect your skin at least one week following your last chemical peel.
The skin of the matter
While there is no miracle cream when it comes to skincare, a suitable skincare product can help you get the skin looking its best. Holistic skincare is simple. Also take practical steps like always using sunblock and protective clothing. As long as you follow the guidance of your doctor, the right skin chemical or agent can help you achieve healthy skin. Choose products that employ sustainable packaging and ingredients to safeguard the earth and your skin. Also, taking care of your body from the inside out goes a long way to boosting your skin health.