How To Erase Dark Spots Without Harmful Bleaching Chemicals
What Causes Brown Spots?
Dark spots, also known as brown spots, sun spots, age spots, liver spots, are the results of overexposure to the sun or sun damage of the skin. UV radiation can cause oxidation of lipids in cellular membranes, leading to production of free radicals and inflammation, which could stimulate melanocytes to make melanin via activation of tyrosinase. The melanin pigment is produced to absorb sunlight and help protect our skin from the sun’s UV radiation. However when melanocytes produce excess melanin in the epidermis (top layer of the skin), we see the development of dark spots.
Other Common Causes Of Hyperpigmentation
Melasma displays large, irregular dark brown patches on sun-exposed skin such as cheeks, forehead, upper lip, nose, and chin. The precise cause of melasma is unknown, but multiple factors are suggested, i.e., genetic influences, exposure to solar radiation, pregnancy, birth-control pills, hormonal therapy, thyroid dysfunction, ovarian dysfunction, a number of cosmetics, drugs or procedures (laser treatments and chemical peels).
Inflammatory Skin Conditions
A variety of inflammatory skin conditions (acne, eczema, and dermatitis etc.) can cause hyperpigmentation. Inflammatory cells make prostanoids, cytokines, chemokines, and reactive oxygen species. These inflammatory mediators stimulate melanocytes and activate tyrosinase. As a result, hyper-reactive melanocytes produce excess melanin and cause coloring in surrounding keratinocytes, predominant cell type in the epidermis.
When inflammation diminishes, melanocytes can return to normal, or remain increased melanin production. Every so often, there is either excess melanin production or an abnormal distribution of melanin pigment deposited in the epidermis, discoloration appears.
Long-term or lapsing inflammation can accelerate skin discoloration and often result in a higher degree of hyperpigmentation. Without treatment, hyperpigmentation may take months to years to fade and sometimes become permanent.
Dark Spot Remover
Lightening of brown spots or hyperpigmentation involves a lot of patience and knowledge of a variety of treatment options. The general treatments include:
–Avoiding sun exposure
–Use of sunscreen
–Treating the underlying inflammatory conditions
–Preventing scratching, rubbing, picking
–Stopping medications such as tetracyclines, which can intensify hyperpigmentation
–Applying topical agents such as skin lightening products, bleaching or fading creams
–Cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or laser treatments
Concerns On Long-Term Use Of Skin Whitening Products
Skin whitening products are able to remove the dark blemish and turn it back to normal or near to normal skin color. The result depends on how deep and how old the dark spots are. Deeper and older discoloration may take much longer to remove.
Skin lightening products contain a mixture of active ingredients, which are often unknown to the users. Many of these products include topical steroids, hydroquinone, tretinoin and mercury salts that can have adverse effects on long-term users. Common side effects include:
–patchy hyper- or hypo-pigmentation
–thinning of the skin
–hypersensitivity to the sun
–delayed wound healing.
Natural Plant Extract As Dark Spots Remover
To avoid undesirable effects, many natural plant extracts have been investigated as alternative skin lighteners. The following natural plant extracts have shown promising effects in removing dark spots.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract comprises strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumoral polyphenols recognized as catechins. These naturally occurring polyphenols are shown to inhibit, reverse or retard UV radiation-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, DNA damage and suppression of immune responses.
Studies suggest that green tea extract possesses antioxidant properties by eliminating reactive oxygen species, decreasing various enzymes that are involved in oxidative stress, and improving antioxidant defense enzymes. Green tea’s anti-inflammatory activities are demonstrated via inhibition of the infiltration of inflammatory cells and decrease of inflammatory mediators.
Finally, green tea extract is anti-carcinogenic by preventing carcinogen-DNA binding and subsequent tumorigenesis.
The licorice extract has been broadly used in skin lightening products. The part that is responsible for the skin whitening aspect of the plant is identified as glabridin. Glabridin inhibits pigmentation by preventing tyrosinase activation. Studies have shown that it can provide a considerable skin lightening effect while staying nontoxic to the melanin-forming cells.
Licorice’s anti-inflammatory properties (due to inhibition of superoxide anion production and cyclooxygenase activity) also make it a very useful ingredient in treating inflammation-induced hyperpigmentation.
Bearberry extract is obtained from the Uva Ursi plant and is a natural alternative to synthetic hydroquinone. Bearberry extract offers a skin lightening effect by inhibiting tyrosinase activity and melanosome maturation. Though arbutin is a natural product of hydroquinone, it does not possess the same dangers or side effects. Natural arbutin has been shown to be a very safe agent and does not break down into hydroquionone very readily.
Many vitamins possess strong antioxidant capabilities and may perform a role in processes involved in skin growth and repair. There is solid evidence that vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and vitamin C are involved in modifying the process of hyperpigmentation. The antioxidant properties of these vitamins in topical formulations have proven to be efficient in protecting the skin from UV-induced damages and reduce brown spots.
Vitamin B3 is an effective skin lightening ingredient that works by blocking melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes, lacking of reducing tyrosinase activity or cell proliferation. Vitamin B3 performs best when combined with other skin lightening treatments. Vitamin B3 is also proven to reduce inflammation, improve skin barrier function, reduce sebum production, and minimize wrinkles.
Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that appears in stable and unstable forms. Several types of vitamin C have been indicated to lower melanin formation and provide a skin whitening effect when applied topically. They include l-ascorbic acid, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and sodium ascorbyl phosphate. They have been shown to inhibit hyperactive melanocytes and slow down hyperpigmentation process.