How To Reduce Excess Melanin Caused By Sun Exposure?

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Updated On - August 24, 2020 Dr Jisha Gomez
Read Time : 3 Mins

Melanin is a brown/black pigment found in your skin which is responsible for your complexion. Whether you want to get darker or lighter, you need to know what melanin is and what it does to your body.

What’s covered in this article:
✔ What Does Melanin Do To Your Body?
✔ What Increases Melanin Production?
✔ Does More Melanin Mean Darker Skin?
✔ Can I Reduce Excess Melanin In My Skin?
✔ In-Clinic Procedures
✔ At-Home Treatments

What Does Melanin Do To Your Body?

Melanin protects your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun besides giving your skin its colour. It absorbs 50% to 75% of UVR. It also has the ability to decrease the risk of skin cancer. 

What Increases Melanin Production?

Sunlight is the major cause of increased melanin production. When you’re exposed to sun rays for a long period of time, melanin is produced to protect your skin from UV rays as a defence mechanism.

Other factors include hormonal imbalances, ageing and inflammation processes.

Does More Melanin Mean Darker Skin?

Yes, higher the melanin pigment, darker the skin.

Can I Reduce Excess Melanin In My Skin?

Dark spots and uneven skin tone can be the result of excess melanin in your skin. In these cases, reducing your melanin pigment is the way to go. Reducing melanin levels in your skin helps you lighten out your sun-darkened skin and even out your natural skin tone.

Here are some clinical procedures performed by Dermatologist to reduce melanin:

In-Clinic Procedures

A. Chemical Peels

  • Chemical peels containing high concentrations of acids are used to remove the top layer of the skin. 
  • When skin is exfoliated this way, the melanin deposited in the top layer is removed and a fresh layer of skin is exposed. 
  • Side effects include redness and burning. 
  • Use of sunscreen is mandatory while you are undergoing chemical treatment as the new skin cells can be easily sun-damaged.

B. Microdermabrasion

  • Microdermabrasion removes the top layer of the skin using a handheld device.
  • This procedure uses fine crystals to scrape or abrade the top layer of the skin
  • It exfoliates the skin to get rid of excess melanin pigment.
  • This is a low-risk procedure and is effective at reducing melanin and making the skin smooth.

C. Laser Resurfacing

  • Laser resurfacing uses beams of light to target the skin layer. 
  • It is further divided into ablative and non-ablative. The ablative laser may be slightly riskier when compared to non-ablative.
  • Ablative lasers remove the top layers of the skin via wounding while non-ablative induce collagen growth in the epidermis.

At-Home Treatments

A. Kojic acid 

  • Kojic acid is proven to reduce excess melanin.
  • Possible side effects include skin itching or redness, etc. 
  • Prolonged use of kojic acid can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

B. Hydroquinone

  • Hydroquinone is one of the most effective treatments available to reduce melanin from the skin. 
  • Over time, hydroquinone lightens the skin, but it may cause dryness in some people.

C. Retinoids

  • Retinoids can also be used to lighten the skin. Retinoids help in skin cell turnover and disperse the remaining melanin granules evenly on the skin.
  • The new skin cells produced are fresh and tender and require sunblock. So always use a sunscreen when using retinoids.

Consult a dermatologist before starting any melanin treatments.

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About Author

Dr Jisha Gomez
She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.