“Most of us know the pros of a consistent skin care regimen, but do we really know about skin brightening or whitening – and what is it really doing to our skin? “
A flawless complexion symbolizes youth and beauty. When patches of darkened skin such as birthmarks, age spots or pigmentation appear, we usually try to conceal them. Today, there are several options to overcome the frustration and embarrassment of hyperpigmentation. We have seen a trend in masks, lotions, serums, and more that are promising the holy grail of even, glowing, and supple skin with the promise of brightening it up. Most of us know the pros of a consistent skin care regimen, but do we really know about skin brightening or whitening – and what is it really doing to our skin? We rounded up a few facts to get the good (and the bad) on this skincare craze.
SKIN WHITENING/BRIGHTENING MECHANISMS
Melanin, or pigment found in skin, is produced through the process of melanogenesis. Tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme present in animal tissues, serves as a catalyst in the melanogenisis process by oxidizing phenols such as tyrosine. This enzyme converts tyrosine to dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) and then to dopaquinone. Subsequently, dopaquinone is converted to dopachrome through auto-oxidation, and, finally, to dihydroxyindole or dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic acid (DHICA) to form eumelanin (black-brown pigment). However, in the presence of cysteine or glutathione, dopaquinone is converted to cysteinyl DOPA or glutathione DOPA to form pheomelanin (yellow-red pigment).
Skin brightening is chemically induced by 3 mechanisms: inhibition of tyrosinase activity, suppression of tyrosinase formation, and reduction of melanin formation all of which can be achieved through the use of skin care products available in the market today.
SKIN PIGMENTATION MECHANISMS
A. Tyrosinase Activity Inhibitors
- Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP)
- Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP)
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Ascorbyl Glucoside
- α or β Arbutin
- Kojic Acid
- Niacinamide (VitB3)
- Paper Mulberry (Morus Alba)
B. Tyrosinase Suppressors
- Lactic Acid
- Glycolic Acid
- Retinoic Acid
- Tretoinoic Acid
C. Melanin Formation Reduction
- Licorice Extracts
- Hesperidin (Vitamin P)
- Kojic Acid
Physical sunscreens and other physical whiteners are used as well. Pigments such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide offer instant skin lightening and whitening effect, reflect and refract UVA and UVB rays, and protect skin from darkening effect of prolonged sunlight exposure.
Other skin whitening ingredients such as stearic acid, when used at high levels (13-16%) has some visual whitening effect on skin in pearlized formulations. Chemical UV filters also prevent sun tanning and protect fair skin from sun damage (dark spots and blemishes). Traditional ingredients such as saffron and papaya extracts are commonly used in ayurvedic treatments and other natural products to remove dark spots, exfoliate the skin to reveal newer cells, and restore skin.
There are many options for formulators to deliver skin-whitening systems to give yourself the make-over you have wanted for so long. But first, take some time to discover what you really need. Beaublends© skin care product line offers many options to help you achieve a brighter and healthier skin safely and effectively. All our skincare products contain a combination of active, natural ingredients that quickly and easily transform a dull and uneven complexion and create a brighter, more youthful-looking you.