For many centuries, particular cultures consider a fair complexion as being a sign of health and beauty. Pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, birth control pills and exposure to the sun can cause hyper pigmentation. Sun or age spots are caused by exposure to the UVB light of the sun. This leads to an increased production of melanin, which is the coloured pigment in your skin. Melanin is formed from melanocytes, which is controlled by the enzyme tyrosinase. When hyper pigmentation occurs in the epidermis of the skin, skin lightening products can help remove dark patches on the skin. Asian skin is prone to suffering from hyper pigmentation, therefore skin whitening treatments are very popular to improve and lighten the skin. Skin lightening treatments include laser treatments, skin lightening creams (beware of those containing bleaches, as this can damage the skin) soaps, lotions and skin lightening pills. Hyper pigmentation treatments can sometimes produce very good results.
Asian skin differs from white skins because their skins contain larger melanosomes, which are melanin containing packets made by melanocytes which are taken up by surface skin cells. Due to their larger size, the degradation and dispersal is much slower than in white skins. Asian skin also produce more melanin in response to the Sun’s UVB light than white skin.
Skin Lightening agents
There are many skin whitening creams, some are safer and more effective than others. One very effective skin whitening product is kojic dipalmitate, which is a derivative of kojic acid. Kojic acid is a by-product in the fermentation process of malting rice for use in the manufacturing of the Japanese rice wine.. It inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, therefore inhibiting the production of melanin (as explained above). Kojic dipalmitate is an alternative to kojic acid because it is much more stable in formulations. It also has the added benefit of being an excellent anti oxidant. This is a safe skin lightener if used at the correct concentrations. If applied twice daily for approximately 6-8 weeks, a noticeable lightening of the skin occurs. Many have found that it is a much safer alternative to skin bleaching, without any nasty side effects or skin rashes. Kojic dipalmitate is a very important skin lightening ingredient for those looking to have even, flawless and fair skin.
One of the best skin lightening creams is Lightenex by PharmaClinix, which uses 5% Kojic Dipalmitate, followed by an effective sunscreen, e.g. Moisturix SPF25.
Many skin whiteners contain hydroquinone, which is a potent inhibitor of melanin. It has been banned in many countries due to fears of a cancer risk. Research has found that topical application indicates negative reactions, such as burns, rashes and even scarring. Hydroquinone can be an unstable ingredient in cosmetic formulations, which turns brown upon exposure to the air or sunlight. Therefore, they become ineffective shortly after opening the packaging.
Sun screens can be very effective at avoiding damage or darkening of the skin by ultraviolet rays from the sun. Higher SPFs are recommended (25 or more) as they contain greater quantities of the UVA protecting ingredients. Sun exposure is one of the most common causes for hyper pigmentation, and is very important to be worn in conjunction to skin lightening creams or maser treatments.
Laser skin lightening treatments are very drastic procedures to undergo to reduce hyper pigmentation. They are not particularly suited to the darker skins and the results are not always consistent. Problems have been reported when undergoing laser treatments, such as hypo or hyper pigmentation.
Tretinoin is less effective than kojic dipalmitate as an ingredient in skin lightening creams, as the time taken to see an improvement in skin tone can quite long. It has other benefit however, such as improving the skin’s elasticity, texture and collagen production.
Alpha Hydrozy Acids (AHAs)
These may remove skin discolorations; only a qualified physician should perform these types of skin lightening peels. However, it is generally assumed that AHAs main benefit is to remove unhealthy, superficial skin layers (exfoliation) where hyper pigmented cells can accumulate.
Azelaic acid is a component of grains from wheat, rye and barley. It can be used in inhibiting melanin production and also in the treatment of acne. However, it is not as safe or effective an ingredient as kojic dipalmitate. buy tazarotene