Deciphering Skin Lightener Formulas

Sep 1, 2011 | Contact Author | By: Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd.
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Title: Deciphering Skin Lightener Formulas
skin lightenersx melaninx antioxidantsx arbutinx azelaic acidx hydroquinonex
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Keywords: skin lighteners | melanin | antioxidants | arbutin | azelaic acid | hydroquinone

Abstract: The term “skin lightening” has been positioned in the cosmetic market to denote the return of skin’s color to a more natural transparent tone, providing a more even skin tone and lighter skin pigment. Topical skin lighteners suppress production of melanin pigment, prevent darkening of the skin or modify pigmentation such as blotches and freckles.

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ES Abrutyn, Deciphering Skin Lightener Formulas, Cosm & Toil 126(9) 612 (2011)

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Skin color varies greatly around the world, and desired skin color is often dependent on regional habits and practices that denote healthy skin. There is always a need to modulate the appearance of skin color and its uniformity. This can be done by adapting the amount of melanin in the skin; maintaining the appearance of healthy skin by using suitable UV absorbers/reflectants, darkening of the skin with self-tanning actives such as dihydroxyacetone (DHA) and lightening the skin by inhibiting the melanogenesis activity of tyrosinase.

Skin color is primarily determined by the amount of melanin, a brown-black pigment, present in the skin. Due to the dark color of the pigment, lower amounts of melanin result in lighter skin color while higher amounts result in darker skin color. Melanin is formed by the oxidation of the amino acid tyrosine to dihydroxyphenalanine in melanocytes, which is catalyzed by the enzyme tyrosinase.

The term “skin lightening” has been positioned in the cosmetic market to denote the return of skin’s color to a more natural transparent tone, providing a more even skin tone and lighter skin pigment. Topical skin lighteners suppress production of melanin pigment, prevent darkening of the skin or modify pigmentation such as blotches and freckles.

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Table 1. Decléor Excellence de l’Âge Face & Hands Dark Spot Corrector

Table 1. Decléor Excellence de l’Âge Face & Hands  Dark Spot Corrector

This dark spot corrector is said to brighten dark spots, even out the complexion and leave the skin radiant and youthful.

Table 2. Sunulan Ossein Rebirthing Face Masks

Table 2. Sunulan Ossein Rebirthing Face Masks

These masks are said to whiten, make skin translucent, replenish moisture, leave skin resilient, remove wrinkles, provide more even skin tones, tighten pores, revitalize skin and stimulate collagen production and elastin fiber.

Table 4. Jolie MD Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion

Table 4. Jolie MD Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion

The Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion, pictured in Figure 6, is a soothing blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory botanicals to moisturize, reduce redness, increase collagen production and even out the skin tone, while reducing oily skin.

Table 5. Lakmé Sun Expert After Sun Skin Lightening Mask

Table 5. Lakmé Sun Expert After Sun Skin Lightening Mask

This mask, shown in Figure 7, is a clay-based after-sun product that claims to visibly lighten skin that has been darkened by sun exposure.

Figure 1. Hydroquinone

Figure 1. Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone, shown in Figure 1, and its derivatives, such as the monomethyl ether of hydroquinone and arbutin, are some of the most common de-pigmenting agents used in topical compositions.

Figure 2. Kojic acid

Figure 2. Kojic acid

Another tyrosinase inhibitor is kojic acid (shown in Figure 2), which is unstable, exhibits weak mutagenicity, and is a skin sensitizer/irritant.

Figure 3. Decléor Excellence de l’Âge Face & Hands Dark Spot Corrector

Figure 3. Decléor Excellence de l’Âge Face & Hands Dark Spot Corrector

This dark spot corrector, shown in Figure 3, is said to brighten dark spots, even out the complexion and leave the skin radiant and youthful.

Figure 4. Sunulan Ossein Rebirthing Face Masks

Figure 4. Sunulan Ossein Rebirthing Face Masks

These masks, shown in Figure 4, are said to whiten, make skin translucent, replenish moisture, leave skin resilient, remove wrinkles, provide more even skin tones, tighten pores, revitalize skin and stimulate collagen production and elastin fiber.

Figure 5. Jan Marini Enlighten Plus Face Lotion

Figure 5. Jan Marini Enlighten Plus  Face Lotion

Enlighten Plus Face Lotion is described as the only product with concentrated retinol, antioxidants and multiple skin lightening-technologies.

Figure 6. Julie MD Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion

Figure 6. Julie MD Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion

The Metamorphosis Enlightening Lotion, pictured in Figure 6, is a soothing blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory botanicals to moisturize, reduce redness, increase collagen production and even out the skin tone, while reducing oily skin.

Figure 7. Lakmé Sun Expert After Sun Skin Lightening Mask

Figure 7. Lakmé Sun Expert After Sun Skin Lightening Mask

This mask, shown in Figure 7, is a clay-based after-sun product that claims to visibly lighten skin that has been darkened by sun exposure.

Biography: Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.

Eric S. Abrutyn, TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc.

Eric S. Abrutyn is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, a Cosmetics & Toiletries scientific advisory board member, and chairman of the Personal Care Products Council’s International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient (INCI) Committee. Recently retired from Kao Brands, Abrutyn founded TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc., a personal care consultancy. He has more than 35 years of experience in the raw material supplier and skin and hair care manufacturer aspects of personal care.

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