How to get rid of dark spots on your face
The Science Behind Our Skin’s Natural Protective Shield
Skin, the natural outer layer of tissue that covers our body consists of a thick inner layer (dermis) and a thin outer layer (epidermis). One of the layers within the body’s epidermis is the basal layer. Within the basal layer are dendritic cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes synthesize an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is responsible for the production of melanin, the skin’s light-absorbing pigment and primary cellular component responsible for skin color. The production of melanin occurs through oxidation by the nonessential amino acid, tyrosine. Tyrosine is a building block for several important neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, and is involved in every protein of the body, especially in the hormone secreting and regulating organs.
Although everyone has about an equal number of melanocyte cells, the amount of melanin produced by these cells differs. Keep in mind that the amount of melanin determines skin color. For example, a person with fair skin has the same number of melanocytes as someone with dark skin; however, since their melanocytes produce less melanin, they have a paler complexion.
The natural process of melanin production is a defense mechanism against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). When we are exposed to UV rays, our melanocytes produce more melanin to protect our skin. However, this process can also damage our cells, especially if it results in sunburn. When cells are damaged, the tyrosinase enzyme transmits a “misfire” or oxidation signal to the tyrosine amino acid resulting in an overproduction of melanin. This process is called hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation comes in many forms and includes, freckles, dark spots, age spots, lentigo, and melasma (uneven skin tone usually presented by a brown darkening of the skin). It’s important to note that although the sun is responsible for most skin damage, hormones, stress, medications, diet, too much caffeine, lack of antioxidants, and trauma-induced inflammation all contribute to the overproduction of melanin.
What is a Tyrosinase Inhibitor and What Does It Do?
We can protect our skin from damage, hyperpigmenation, and subsequent uneven skin tone with skincare products that contain a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and tyrosinase inhibitor ingredients. Tyrosinase inhibitors prevent the tyrosinase enzyme from “misfiring” or over-oxidizing tyrosine and prevent melanin overproduction.
Tyrosinase inhibitors are not only for those who have hyperpigmentation, but also for clients with healthy, even skin. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies here. Although you may have a beautiful, even skin tone now, what about tomorrow? Your aesthetician can help you make sure it stays that way by introducing a tyrosinase inhibitor to your skin care regimen. It will help protect your skin now and prevent hyperpigmentation—which is often lying underneath the skin—from surfacing later-on in life.
There are different types of tyrosinase inhibitors that are generally categorized as prescription lightening agents or natural lightening agents. Hydroquinone, the most common FDA-approved ingredient, offers the strongest form of prevention—and correction—against hyperpigmentation. Alternatively, the natural tyrosinase inhibitors such as bearberry, mulberry and licorice root extract, ascorbic acid, kojic acid, scutellaria, 1 Methylhydon-2-imde, arbutin, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and many others are usually made synthetically or derived from a plant source.
Tyrosinase inhibitors will correct hyperpigmentation and prevent it from forming, but they require continued use. If your skin has been damaged, hyperpigmentation can come back! Using a tyrosinase inhibitor such as PCA Skin’s Pigmen Gel & Intensive Brightening Treatment along with a high-quality broad spectrum SPF will help to protect your precious skin cells from damag