Treatment of uneven skin tone
There are a number of ways of treating uneven skin tone and the degree of success enjoyed with each one depends upon many factors. The type and severity of uneven skin tone concerned, the age and health of the person involved and the lifestyle management regimen that is followed all influence treatment efficacy. In the case of topically applied skin care treatments that aim to reduce or eliminate uneven skin tone, there are three different approaches that exist.
Melanocyte suppressors (skin lighteners)
Substances which physiologically affect the melanocytes’ ability to produce melanin at a cellular level have been used for years to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone. The most infamous of these substances is the chemical hydroquinone, used extensively for its ‘skin lightening’ ability. However, hydroquinone is toxic to cells, with prolonged exposure resulting in irreversible scarring of the skin. For this reason, hydroquinone has been banned for use in topically applied cosmetic skincare products in most parts of the world.
Using topically applied antioxidants can help reduce uneven skin tone. The production of melanin, by the melanocyte, is an oxidative process, requiring oxygen at a cellular level to function properly. Therefore, the inclusion of an antioxidant in skincare treatment will inhibit the production of melanin through the elimination of available oxygen. This process can result in a reduction of uneven skin tone.
The most commonly employed topically applied treatment for uneven skin tone, is to incorporate a tyrosinase inhibitor. When the melanocyte produces melanin, the first step in the process is the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into dihydroxyphenylalanine, commonly referred to as DOPA. The DOPA is eventually converted to melanin. The initial conversion of tyrosine to DOPA is facilitated by the enzyme tyrosinase. Use of a tyrosinase inhibitor prevents the conversion of tyrosine to DOPA which, in turn, inhibits the formation of melanin and reduces the occurrence of uneven skin tone. This is currently considered to be the safest and most effective method for reducing or eliminating uneven skin tone.