Melanin is a substance present in the skin that produces pigment. Each person will have a different amount of melanin in their skin. This variation is due to genetics and other factors.
This article will discuss what causes excessive melanin production in your skin and how you can manage it with different home remedies.
What Is Melanin?
Melanin is a complex polymer responsible for pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes. Besides this role, melanin also plays a key role in keeping us sound and protected from the harmful rays of the sun.
According to the studies, scientists have identified three common forms of melanin in humans. Eumelanin and pheomelanin are found in the epidermis layer of the skin, whereas neuromelanin is found in the brain.
What Causes Excessive Melanin Levels in Your Skin?
Although overexposure to the sun is the most common cause, other factors that contribute to increased melanin production in your skin include:
- Skin Inflammation
- An imbalance of hormones
- Vitamin deficiency due to malnutrition
- It can be caused by a rare endocrine disease called Addison's disease, resulting in hyperpigmentation that appears mainly on the face, neck, and hands.
- Pregnancy changes hormone levels and can affect melanin production in some women.
What Happens With an Increase in Melanin?
An increasing level of melanin production in the skin can lead to hyperpigmentation. The resulting patches and spots can appear darker than the surrounding skin. Some forms of hyperpigmentation, including melasma and sunspots, are more likely to appear on areas exposed to sunlight, including the face, arms, and legs.
How to Reduce Melanin?
Excess melanin can develop in some areas, causing darkening. However, it is possible to reduce the melanin production and existing melanin deposits in the skin. You can opt for any of both natural remedies and allopathic treatments.
1) Laser Therapy:
- Studies suggest that laser therapy is used to remove top layers of the skin to decrease melanin in the areas which are treated. You can opt for any type of laser treatment as per your requirement.
- Ablative lasers are used for severe discoloration. Whereas nonablative lasers are gentler and promote collagen growth hence the formation of new skin.
- Moreover, a Q-switched ruby laser is used to dissolve hyperpigmented skin.
2) Apply topical creams and ointments:
Many products with the following skin-lightening ingredients are available in the market, which can be used when prescribed by the doctor.
- As per studies, products with Hydroquinone, Vitamin C, Kojic acid, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, retinoid, and many more ingredients with tyrosinase suppression properties are preferred. They help in slowing down melanin production. And eventually reducing it.
- You can even use water-resistant sunscreen lotion with an SPF of more than 30. When your skin is exposed to the sun, your skin creates even more melanin. Therefore, wearing sunscreen will limit this process and protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
- Apply mashed raw potato paste to the skin once every day to see the desired difference.
- Studies suggest potatoes are rich in antioxidants that help in encouraging skin cell growth.
- Apply the avocado pulp to the hyperpigmented skin areas to brighten them.
- As per studies, Avocado is rich in vitamins such as B and C along with adequate fiber content. It contains glutathione, which works as an antioxidant to inhibit tyrosinase - an enzyme that helps in melanin production.
- Apply fresh lemon juice on the skin for 5 minutes or mix it with honey and leave it for about 10 minutes every day to reverse hyperpigmentation.
- According to studies, lemon contains vitamin C and citric acid, which help in exfoliating the skin pores and stimulate collagen production.\
- To reduce melanin in your body, apply a mashed ripe tomato on your skin and leave it for 20 minutes before rinsing. Repeat this process twice or thrice a week to see desired results.
- Studies suggest tomatoes are a rich source of various vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, which play a vital role in stimulating the growth of skin cells and have anti-aging effects.
- Mix some turmeric powder into little milk and make a thick paste to apply to the skin. Rinse your skin with lukewarm water after the paste dries. Repeat this process every alternate day to get naturally glowing skin.
- As per studies, it contains curcumin that inhibits tyrosinase to reduce melanin production.
6) Aloe vera:
- It can be applied directly to your skin or can mix it with rose water. Leave it for 30 minutes and then rinse it. Repeat this remedy once every day.
- Studies suggest aloe vera gel easily tackles hyperpigmentation by inhibiting tyrosinase enzyme from catalyzing melanin production.
How to Reduce Melanin by Eating?
Regular intake of certain food items can eventually decrease excess melanin content in your body to ensure good skin naturally.
- Chia seeds
As per studies, the consumption of fruits with high-quality proteins, vitamins, and fibers supports healthy skin and reduces melanin content. Fruits such as watermelon, kiwi, papaya, dry fruits, or any raw fruits or vegetables.
Studies suggest that avoiding foods rich in Vitamin A and high consumption of green leafy vegetables as they enhance melanin production. Along with these, also avoid eating foods rich in antioxidants in excessive amounts like dark berries and dark chocolate to avoid high melanin content.
Home Remedies That Should Be Avoided if You Want to Reduce Melanin:
The effectiveness of home remedies varies from individual to individual. Therefore, not all home remedies create equal results, and some can even cause skin infections like irritations, redness, or damage.
Following few ingredients cause these skin problems:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Can You Increase or Decrease Melanin in Your Body Permanently?
The human body produces melanin regularly; therefore, permanent reduction is not possible. Its value is determined by genetics, and we cannot fully measure them. So we can change the content of melanin in our body, but we cannot completely eliminate it.
Therefore, it is not possible to permanently reduce the production of melanin in your body even with regular skin rejuvenation treatments.
Benefits of Melanin in Body
1. Protection against UV light
The melanin in the epidermis, or the outer layer of the skin, helps protect cells from UV light. This protection extends to all types of UV light (UVC, UVB, and UVA), as well as blue light. To achieve this, the skin absorbs the UV light before it can injure the sensitive DNA of the skin cells.
2. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger
As an antioxidant, melanin also scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by ultraviolet light damage. Without protective antioxidants, ROS contribute to oxidative stress, which damages cellular DNA.
3. Makes Skin Look Hydrated
Because of its role in limiting free radicals in the skin, Melanin can prevent the negative effect of free radicals from drying out your skin. This helps in retaining moisture to the skin.
Summing Up on How to Reduce Melanin
In a nutshell, melanocytes produce melanin on the surface of the skin that gives it its pigment. Each individual has a different amount of melanin in their skin.
Melanin levels in the skin can decrease or increase depending on certain conditions and environmental factors.
We discussed a number of remedies for lowering melanin levels in your skin. Any treatment options should, however, be discussed with a healthcare professional.
What Vitamins Reduce Melanin?
Vitamin C, vitamin B12, and vitamin E are believed to lighten your skin and reduce melanin levels.
Why Is My Face Darker Than My Body?
In general, the skin on the face is darker than that on the rest of the body because the face produces more melanin. Due to the fact that it is exposed to more sunlight than any other part of the body, it may damage the melanin cells of the skin, resulting in a darker complexion than other parts of the body.
Does Lemon Reduce Melanin?
It is possible to lighten your skin with lemon juice. It is due to the high concentration of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Lemon juice contains vitamin C that reduces melanin, resulting in lighter skin. A 2017 study found that vitamin C can reduce tyrosinase activity, which prevents the formation of melanin.