Everyone have the same quantity of melanocytes that are cells producing melanin. People with darker skin tone produce more melanin into the skin compared to those with fairer skin. Releasing melanin is the body’s reaction to exposure to the sun's ultra violet rays. The use of sunscreen products helps protects the skin from the ultra violet rays of the sun, keeping melanin production at a minimum.
1. Skin Lightening Ingredients:
Hydroquinone is powerful in holding back the production of melanin, thus giving dark skin a lighter shade. It is not a skin bleach. When this product is exposed to the sun, it can turn into a strange shade of dark to medium brown, therefore, it is very important that when buying the product, it must be packed in an opaque container so light can not get in. It is also important that when using a hydroquinone product to use sunscreen as well.
Research show that tretinion is effective in the treatment of skin discolorations. However, it would usually take at least six months before results are seen. Thus, the use of tretinion solely is not advised for skin lightening rather it should be combined with other skin lightening treatments to give maximum results.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acid products that come in concentrations of 4 to 10 percent are not successful in hindering melanin production as well as will not lighten the skin of discolorations. Yet on the other hand, there is substantial proof that when used in combination with other skin care medication such as hydroquinone, kojic acid and azelaic acid they can be very successful for improving and correcting the general appearance of damaged skin due to over exposure to the sun and assisting the other ingredients to effectively penetrate the skin.
Because of the arbutin's high hydroquinone content it may have melanin-inhibiting properties, though researches done in explaining the arbutin's eficiency is very convincing, as to how much of it is needed to effectively lighten the skin are yet to be established. In addition, arbutin is not widely used by the majority of cosmetic companies in their products for the reason that there are patents that limit the use of arbutin for skin lightening. Instead, certain cosmetics companies are using plant extracts that contain arbutin such as bearberry. Unluckily, there is no study showing that the bearberry plant source of arbutin has any influence on skin lightening.
Kojic acid is derived from the process of fermentation of malting rice, that is used in the making of sake, a Japanese rice wine. Research show that kojic acid is effective for stoping melanin production. Glycolic or kojic acid, or glycolic acid with hydroquinone, are extremely effective in decreasing pigmentation. Kojic acid is very unstable when used in cosmetic formulations. When exposed to sunlight or air, it may change to a darker color and loose its affectivity. Thus, most cosmetic companies now use kojic dipalmitate as alternative to kojic acid since it is much more stable in formulations. Still, there is no concrete study that shows kojic dipalmitate is as effective as kojic acid, even though it is an effective antioxidant.
Vitamin C (L- Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C as Ascorbyl form has been proven to inhibit melanin production, resulting in a brighter and lighter skin. In addition, Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen synthesis, increasing collagen production in the skin as well as it regenerate Vitamin E, that suppresses free radicals.
Azelaic acid is a component of certain grains like wheat, rye, and barley. When applied at a I20 percent of concentration, it is very effective in correcting certain skin conditions. Not only it is used for the treatment of acne, but studies also show that it is effective for skin lightening and discolorations.
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
This form of vitamin C is stable and as it is an effective antioxidant, it also lightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production.
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