How Do Skin Lighteners Get Rid of Discoloration?

Skin lighteners work in a variety of ways to help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. These include: (xi.70)

Table XI.6: How Do Skin Lighteners Work?
ACTION HOW IT CAN HELP HYPERPIGMENTATION

ANTIOXIDANT PROTECTION

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

GENERATING FREE RADICALS

  • Damages cell membranes and interferes with melanocyte cell processes. (xi.70)
  • Depresses levels of natural antioxidants. (xi.70)
  • Breaks down melanosomes and tyrosinase proteins. (xi.70)
  • Can lead to permanent loss of melanocyte skin cells, especially in people with fair skin. (xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

INHIBITING TYROSINASE ACTIVITY

  • Some compounds prevent the synthesis of tyrosinase. (xi.71)
  • Compounds that bind to tyrosinase prevent it from initiating melanin production. Substances that work in this fashion are considered safer than those that damage melanocytes. (xi.70)
  • Others bind with molecules tyrosinase needs to start the process of making melanin. (xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

BLOCKING DOPACHROME TAUTOMERASE ENZYME ACTIVITY

  • Prevents transformation of precursor compounds further along in the production of melanin pigments. (xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

COPPER CHELATION

  • Tyrosinase uses copper and oxygen to begin converting L-tyrosinase to melanin. (xi.69)
  • Compounds that bind or get rid of copper limit tyrosinase's activity. (xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

BLOCKING MITF AND AHR

  • Blocking the MITF transcription factor prevents activation of the gene mainly responsible for melanin production. (xi.70)
  • Damage to skin cell DNA caused by UV radiation or chemical toxins (e.g., dioxin and PCBs) can trigger melanin production. Inhibiting the aryl hydrocarbon (AHR) transcription factor can help prevent this. (xi.64-65)

Examples of skin lightening compounds that work this way:

ACTIVATION OF PPAR-γ

  • Inhibits production of tyrosinase by reducing levels of MITF. (xi.7072)

Examples of skin-lightening compounds that activate PPAR-γ include:

HORMONE SUPPRESSION

  • Prevents activation of the gene mainly responsible for melanin production. (xi.70)

Examples of compounds that can help lighten skin this way:

  • Curcumin (α-MSH and ACTH) (xi.74-75)

INTERFERING WITH MOVEMENT OF MELANIN INTO KERATINOCYTES

  • Compounds that inhibit protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) proteins prevent keratinocytes from ingesting melanosomes(xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that block movement of melanin between melanocytes and keratinocytes by inhibiting PAR-2 or other mechanisms include:

EXFOLIATION

  • Removes outer layer of keratinocytes that contain melanin. (xi.70)

Examples of skin lighteners that work this way:

Pycnogenol®. (xi.71)
Membrane-bound organelles full of melanin pigment. (xi.70)
MC1R. (xi.70)
MC1R. (xi.70)
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate. (xi.71)
Also known as tyrosine-related protein-2, or TRP-2. (xi.70)
Membrane-bound organelles full of melanin pigment. (xi.70)
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate. (xi.71)
Silymarin. (xi.71)
Glycyrrhiza glabra, G. uralensis(ii.15)
First responders that trigger gene activity. (iii.2)

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