How can the skin become Lighter?
Several chemical products have been shown to be effective in skin lightening. Most skin lightening treatments, can reduce or block some amount of melanin production acting by inhibiting Tyrosinase which is the main enzyme in melanin production. Other treatments contain melanin inhibiting products or exfoliants (either topical cosmetic , chemical peels or Glutathione Injections).
PRE MELANIN SYNTHESIS
Research has shown that the use of tretinoin (retinoic acid) is effective in treating skin decolorations, it can make the skin more sensitive to UVA and UBV rays and the use of sun protection is very important during the treatment.
DURING MELANIN SYNTHESIS
Hydroquinone is considered the primary topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production and its components have potent antioxidant functions. The maximum concentration which has been proven to be safe is 4% and can only be administered by trained professionals. It can be used alone or in combination with tretinoin.
Hydroquinone is a strong inhibitor of melanin production, meaning that it prevents dark skin from making this substance, which is responsible for skin colour. Research has shown hydroquinone and tretinoin to prevent sun or hormone induced melasma or hyperpigmentation
Is Hydroquinone a safe treatment?
Some concerns about hydroquinone’s safety have been expressed, but the research when it comes to topical application indicates negative reactions are minor, a result of using extremely high concentrations or from other skin lightening agents such as glucocorticoids or mercury iodine. This is why this treatment must be supervised for a professional to ensure correct concentrations and application.
What are the side effects?
\Hydroquinone can be an irritant, particularly in high concentrations or when it is combined with tretinoin and this may last a couple of weeks. As well as minor irritation, treatment may cause redness and it is very important to avoid the sun or use appropriate sun protection.
Kojic acid is a product in the fermentation process of malting rice . It has been shown to be effective for inhibiting melanin production.
Azelaic acid is used to treat acne but there also research showing it to be effective for skin discoloration and inhibiting melanin production.
Vitamin C is considered an effective antioxidant for the skin and helps to lighten skin. It can also be used in combination with vit E and L-Cysteine.
POST – MELANIN SYNTHESIS
Alpha hydroxy acids
Alpha hydroxy acids, in the form of lactic acid and glycolic acid, are the most researched AHAs because they have a molecular size that allows effective penetration into the top layers of skin. They can be combined with the other products to improve the result and allow them to penetrate more easily. When used in isolation, they haven’t been shown to be effective for inhibiting melanin production and will not lighten skin discolorations, but their benefit is in helping cell turnover rates and removing unhealthy or abnormal layers of superficial skin cells (exfoliation) where hyperpigmented cells can accumulate. In high concentrations (50%) they may remove skin discolorations but only a qualified physician should perform these type of facial peels.
How long does it take to see results?
Results may vary from patient to patient depending on many factors such as the damage to the skin, type of skin and patient expectations. On average it takes between 6 and 18 weeks to see the desired effect.