We all are on a skincare journey that is so personal to us, with our set concerns that need attention and goals that we want to achieve. We all try to conquer skincare hurdles, and try to embody a skin we are confident in, a skin that we ourselves love. While having spotless, blemish-free skin may be a little difficult to attain, there are specific and common skin concerns that can be targeted and worked on. One such skin concern is pigmentation.
Having patches on skin in a tone different than that of your normal complexion is not equivalent to having naturally dark skin, which is just beautiful, and not something that should be frowned upon. But irregular spot deposits are also not something that should be encouraged.
If you see your skin having discolored marks and uneven blotches, and are layering makeup to cover it, let’s just say you need to find a solution that will give you a lasting effect.
These uneven patches on the skin are the result of excess melanin production, which can be controlled by several ingredients. But before that, let’s understand what melanin is.
Melanin is a natural pigment, produced by cells called melanocytes in the skin’s lowest layer called the stratum basale. Typically all of us are genetically designed to have the same number of melanocytes, however, the amount of melanin produced varies exponentially. The variation depends on multiple factors including genetics, hormonal changes and so on. People with more melanin production have darker skin, eyes, and hair as compared to those with lesser production.
Besides giving pigment to the skin, scientifically melanin also protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and also possesses the ability to decrease the risk of skin cancer.
But, many times, excess melanin production can cause certain areas of the skin to darken, which results in uneven skin tone, which in simple language is referred to as hyperpigmentation, an extremely common skin concern that a lot of people have. This build-up can be caused by a couple of factors like;
- Extreme sun exposure may trigger melanocytes to produce more melanin, which results in skin darkening.
- Side effects of heavy medication, stress, or even an improper or unbalanced diet can increase melanin production, and leave your skin with blotchy patches.
- Hormonal imbalance, especially during pregnancy may also encourage melanin production to shoot up, which may also lead to melasma, a condition that causes the skin to darken.
There are several treatments as well as science-backed ingredients and clinically proven actives that can help you subside the melanin production, to give your skin a smoother and healthier appearance. Continue reading to know about ten such ingredients that can help give the results that you wish to see.
With highly effective antioxidant properties, Vitamin C scavenges free radicals from the environmental stressors it reduces the production of melanin to help fade dark spots and pigmentation. It fights dullness and gives the skin a radiant and luminous glow, without making it look overlay oily or shiny.
Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3, helps with hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the melanosome transfer from pigment producing cells called melanocytes into the epidermis. Niacinamide combats the effects of environmental stressors by reinforcing the skin’s barrier, helps reduce discoloration and also protects the skin cells from pollution induced oxidative stress. It also regulates and stabilizes the oil production in the skin that helps with reducing inflammation, giving the skin a more even look.
Alpha Arbutin is a preferred choice of ingredient when it comes to pigmentation concerns as it is a natural derivative of Hydroquinone. It inhibits the synthesis of tyrosinase, an enzyme within melanocytes responsible for the production of melanin, to reduce pigmentation and discoloration. It helps fade dark spots caused by sun damage, resulting in bright and even skin tone.
Kojic Acid acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor, an active enzyme in the cell that produces melanin which causes the skin to darken. It helps skin fight sun damage, dark spots, and pigmentation, giving it a more even and brighter appearance. Because of its antimicrobial properties, it also treats acne and helps lighten the appearance of scars that haven’t faded yet. Kojic Acid also helps treat melasma, a common skin condition that forms dark patches on the skin, by lightening the pigmented areas to give the skin a more uniform look.
Hyperpigmentation does not affect only the top layer of the skin, it sometimes goes into the deeper layers as well. Retinol is rich in Vitamin A and encourages collagen and elastic production, which combats stubborn pigmentation to give the skin a much-needed recovery boost. It also reduces the appearance of dark spots and also promotes skin shedding, which helps with cell turnover and hinders the activity of tyrosinase enzyme, which is responsible for melanin production. It lightens the darker patches and helps skin attain a uniform appearance.
After a certain breakout or blemish, inflammation can result in hyperpigmentation and scarring, and Azelaic Acid is the preferred ingredient to stop the discolored skin from populating. It is also effective for treating inflammatory hyperpigmentation that enables the skin to lighten the areas that are covered with pigmented patches.
Mandelic Acid is an ideal ingredient to include in your skincare regimen to treat hyperpigmentation because of its gentle action on the skin. Its larger molecular structure slowly absorbs into the skin and doesn’t cause any unnecessary irritation that may trigger an inflammatory reaction. It works in the deeper layers of the skin and its micro-exfoliating properties lifts excess pigment off the surface, to let go of the discolored parts, revealing an even looking skin beneath.
Melanin is extremely necessary for the skin to function, but excessive amounts of it could be a cause of some serious issues, which is why it shouldn’t be taken lightly at all.
Before using any of the ingredients, we recommend you to take an expert’s guidance or consult a dermatologist, because not all of them are meant to work for you and your specific concerns.
Acids like Mandelic and Vitamin C are fairly gentle on the skin, and provide long lasting results, which make them perfect for someone who is just starting out. Retinol, Azelaic Acid, Niacinamide, and Alpha Arbutin give quicker results but are comparatively a little stronger on the skin, so we recommend it for those who are already prone to ingredients and skin care to go for these.
These ingredients are certainly beneficial, but these aren’t magic potions that will work overnight. Consistency in using treatment products have been proven to control pigmentation, resulting in an even-toned skin. Following a skin care regimen and sticking to it will most likely give an effect that will last for the long run.