What does Melanin Do to Skin Pigmentation?
The sun is one of nature’s greatest gifts to mankind, giving us the ability to go outside in any season and tan. In Nigeria., nearly 80% of the nation’s population enjoys the benefits of spending hours in the sun without even realizing it. Unfortunately, though the sun can give beautiful golden tints to the skin, it also brings about a large number of problems ranging from premature aging or early signs of aging to skin cancer.
One aspect in particular that the sun plays a major role in, however, is the appearance of imperfections, especially around the areas of the body that have large amounts of melanin.
Our skin contains high amounts of melanin; it can provide a protective barrier to prevent the sun from reaching the unprotected parts of the body, or it can even absorb some of the harmful effects.
When our skin is exposed to UV rays, melanin cells are activated as an immune response system to the skin surface to act as a protective mechanism for the skin. This uneven distribution of melanin to the skin can cause either temporary or permanent un-even pigmentation on the skin, along with the other effects like aging, wrinkling, and rough skin.
How to tackle uneven skin pigmentation?
- Use of sunscreen: Sunscreen is applied to the skin to block or prevent UV rays from damaging the skin cells. Hence preventing excessive expression of melanin in the skin cells. This can reduce the effect of already pigmented skin cells and also prevent future skin pigmentation. The best type of suncreen to use are Mineral sunscreens made with zinc oxide and Titanium Oxide.
- Use of brightening agents : These skin brighteners can help to lighten the skin naturally, depending on level of hyperpigmentation and cause. Some types of hyperpigmentation can be easily addressed using natural skin lighteners like Vitamin C or Alpha Hydroxy Acids, if they are superficial and not too deep within the skin. Others might require more medical/ clinical procedures or more intense skin lighteners as prescribed by a dermatologist to budge.
Here are some recommended skin care products that you can use to tackle hyperpigmentation: