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Clear skin is possible

Skin Care Matters

Sunday, October 01, 2017

TYROSINASE inhibitors are the most common depigmenting agents to treat many disorders of hyperpig­mentation.

The following are approved aesthetic depigmen­tation ingredients used with a high degree of success, when explained properly to the client.


One ingredient that has always drawn controversy within the aesthetic industry is hydroquinone (HQ). HQ is a phenolic compound and is the most widely used and successful compound for hyperpig­mentation, especially for darker skin types due to their high melanosome concentr­ation.

HQ is an inhibitor of tyrosinase and other melanocyte metabolic processes.

Hydroquinone works by decreasing the formation of melanosomes. Recent research for alternative depigmen­tation agents, such as natural products derived from plant sources and other botanical sources, has been on the increase due to the complications that tend to arise with abuse of HQ.

Azelaic acid

This naturally occurring acid has minimal effect on normal pigment and the greatest effect on heavily pigmented melanocytes. Azelaic acid inhibits tyrosinase and may inhibit hyperactive and abnormal melanocytes.

This compound is naturally sourced from grain products, soy and castor beans. Azelaic acid may be the most thoroughly researched and studied compound next to HQ. Many clinical trials assessing the efficacy and safety of azelaic acid show that it has been used successfully in the treatment of facial lentigo and maligna.

Kojic acid

Derived from rice, soy and mushrooms, kojic acid may cause slight irritation in some skin types, although less frequently than HQ.

Kojic acid decreases the number of melanosomes and is useful in treating hyperpig­mentation due to its ability to inhibit activation in keratino­cytes, mitigating an inflammatory response.


A potent antioxidant that is found naturally in cranberries, wheat, pears, as well as blueberry and bearberry leaves, arbutin is considered to be less irritating than HQ.

Its established benefits inhibit the activity of tyrosinase and melanosome maturation. Arbutin is considered comparable to hydroquinone regarding its results in the skin, allowing for controlled release and less irritation.

Vitamin C

Derived from botanical sources such as citrus fruit and corn, L-ascorbic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent that stimulates collagen production and prevents melanin formulation. Vitamin C interacts with copper ions to reduce the dopaquinone, and one of the best forms is MAG-C.


Licorice extract can be naturally derived or engineered. Its action is to inhibit the tyrosinase activity of melanocytes without cytotoxicity, UVB hyperpig­mentation, and erythema. Glabridin is the main compound of licorice root extract and has been shown to have faster-acting and greater skin lightening effects than HQ. Licorice also has strong anti-inflammatory properties.


This potent antioxidant is an anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the L-DOPA oxidase activity of tyrosinase. Studies of this ingredient show a 50 per cent reduction in tyrosinase activity following continued daily application.

These are the top ingredient choices one should look for in skincare products for minimising hyperpigmentation.

One should also note that with the use of skin lighteners your skin is more sensitive to the sun, which can trigger rebound hyperpigmentation along with sun burns that tend to be red and inflamed. If and when this does happen one should refrain from using these topicals for a period exceeding seven days and never expose the skin directly to sunlight. Hence, investing in a sunscreen with an SPF above 50 would help to alleviate these symptoms.

Treating hyperpigmentation can be a long and tedious task but with the right skincare regimen and a little patience, clear skin is possible.


Michelle Vernon is a phlebotomist medical aesthetician who operates the Body Studio Skincare, located at 20 Constant Spring Road, Mall Plaza, Kingston 10, and Fairview Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. She may be reached at telephone 908-0438 or 684-9800; IG @ bodystudioskincare; E-mail:; Website: