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Skin pigmentation is a major concern for most humans. It not only provides information about race, age, gender, social status, culture, habits and level of health, but it also is a major determinant of physical attractiveness. Not long ago, tanned skin was the gold standard in the United States for women and men seeking a better, healthier look. However, both physicians and consumers have since learned that exposure to UV radiation to achieve skin tanning can result in a number of negative effects, specifically more wrinkles, the appearance of skin pigmentation, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Today’s society has experienced the return of a trend for whiter skin. The phenomenon is spreading worldwide, although for different reasons. In Asia, where its citizens are affected early by uneven skin tone,1 whitening products are popular. These products are used daily by a broad range of consumers to preserve the appearance of healthy skin, especially on the face.2 In countries such as India, there is strong social pressure for paler skin, which is considered more beautiful.3 Lightening products are also gaining popularity in the Western world. Caucasian consumers, however, are more concerned with the appearance of age spots on their hands, décolleté and cheeks. This is a different market, mainly composed of older consumers.
The global skin lightening and whitening market is expected to reach US $10 billion by 2015.4 This demand certainly warrants a better understanding of the skin pigmentation processes, which is described here. Further, it supports the R&D strategy to develop actives that provide skin-whitening effects in personal care products, such as the peptide discussed below.
This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in Cosmetics & Toiletries, but you can purchase the full-text version.