Skin Health - Others

How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work

Elsie Goycoolea
By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: January 20, 2017
How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work

There are natural ingredients and cosmetic products that can inhibit melanin synthesis. For instance, vitamin C commonly found in broccoli and citric fruits has antioxidant properties that reduce melanin production in the body. Also, many medical professional prescribe creams and serums for skin whitening purposes or to help treat cases of facial hyperpigmentation. Understanding how these sources work in blocking the production and synthesis of melanin can help determine the best solution for you.

In this OneHowTo article we explain how melanin inhibitors work.

You may also be interested in: What Happens when Melanin Decreases
  1. Melanin synthesis
  2. Types of melanin inhibitors
  3. Melanin inhibition process

Melanin synthesis

Melanocyte cells produce melanin giving skin, hair and eyes a darker color. Melanin tends to increase as a result to sun exposure and is higher in people with a darker skin color. There are three main types of melanin called eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin that are responsible for different pigments on the skin.

Melanocyte cells are made up of an amino acid called tyrosine. In order to protect from UV rays exposure melanocyte cells start a process called melanogenesis alongside the enzyme tyrosinase in a series of oxidative responses to create melanin. Tyrosine converts to DOPA and finally to dopaquinone. Small vesicles called melanosomes are filled with melanin and then are transferred via dendrites to keratinocytes cells. Keratinocyte cells are in charge of bringing melanin to the visible layers of the skin.

How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work - Melanin synthesis

Types of melanin inhibitors

The role of melanin inhibitors is to stop the production of melanin often resulting in the whitening of the skin or the prevention of freckles and other spots appearing on the skin.

Some causes of hyperpigmentation have been attributed to a vitamin deficiency and malnutrition. For these numerous compounds such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and retinol (Vitamin A) added to many diets can offer mild effects on melanin inhibition.

Medical treatments make use of these vitamins along with other substances such as hydroquine, arbutin, kojic acid, licorice extract, alpha hydroxyacids and other plant extracts to help people get rid of facial spots and uneven pigmentation.

Melanin inhibition process

There are three main pathways that can be taken in order to stop melanin production. These pathways are: inhibiting the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase, preventing the transfer process of melanosomes to keratinocytes and the destruction of melanin and/or melanocytes.

We know that the enzyme tyrosinase is needed in order to create melanin from the oxidation of tyrosine. Certain compounds in natural and synthetic sources can stop this catalyzed reaction from occurring. If tyrosinase is inhibited then melanin production can’t reach the epidermis of the skin.

Similarly, another option is to prevent melanosomes from reaching keratinocytes. It is the duty of keratinocytes to take melanin to the upper skin layers resulting in the appearance of darker spots. The chemical heparin or the natural substances in soybean may prevent this transferal.

Finally, melanin can also be inhibited as a result of using different fungi enzymes to degrade the body’s production of melanin. It appears that these enzymes in combination with hydrogen peroxide may have a positive effect on people that suffer from melasma condition.

How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work - Melanin inhibition process

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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How Do Melanin Inhibitors Work