Published on July 21st, 2015 | by Rima J Pundir
Dusky or fair, whatever be your skin tone; don’t let spots mar that flawless complexion! Here’s help…
The sun is one of our biggest ‘frenemies’ – good for vitamin D production but oh-so-bad for the skin. What does the sun actually do to us?
Exposure to the sun makes your skin react and produce more melanin leading to the darkening of your skin. This, of course, has a positive side to it: it protects your skin from wrinkles, skin cancer and lesions. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why Indian skin is less prone to wrinkles than the average European skin-type. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes and protects the body from direct and indirect DNA damage absorbing an excess of solar radiation, which can otherwise be harmful. Depending on a person’s genetic profile, some people tan relatively quickly and more deeply than others.
When you’re healthy, your skin will appear “normal” in colour. In the case of illness or injury, your skin may change colour, becoming darker (hyperpigmentation) or lighter (hypopigmentation) in patches. Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin, and appears in the form of freckles, age spots, acne scars and moles. Exposure to sunlight too may be is a major cause of hyperpigmentation, and will further darken already hyperpigmented areas. Certain drugs, including some antibiotics, anti-arrhythmic drugs, and anti-malarial medication too lead to the same condition.
Age spots specifically, are a kind of hyperpigmentation that occurs primarily due to hormonal changes as well as excessive sun exposure. They do not form overnight but manifest and become more prominent as we get older. It can affect people of any race or skin colour.
The condition is triggered by an excess of melanin getting deposited in clumps in the skin. The sun’s rays accelerate the synthesis of melanin, worsening the condition.
Skin lightening products do help: Experts say that most of the ingredients found in such products prevent migration of melanin (the “dark pigment”) from lower layers of your skin to the top, clearing your complexion considerably. Another main ingredient of such products, antioxidants are especially effective against ultra violet (UV) ray-induced pigmentation.
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