Are you experiencing uneven skin darkening? This could be due to excess melanin production in your skin.
The colour of skin is probably one of the striking differences we notice among people . So, how do each of us get different skin colours? Melanin is the answer!
Scroll down to know what causes excessive melanin production in your skin and how you can manage it with Ayurvedic and conventional medical treatments.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
"To an extent, your skin needs melanin as a protection shield against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In scenarios like overexposure to UV radiation that cause cellular DNA damage, your skin starts to produce additional melanin to prevent further damage to DNA. This natural defensive mechanism of your skin is called ‘melanogenesis’, which results in tanning or darkening of the skin in certain regions."
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Does Melanin Do For Your Skin?
Melanin is a color pigment that is produced by a specific type of skin cells in your epidermis called ‘melanocytes’. The more melanin pigment produced by your skin, the darker your skin tone will be.
Types Of Melanin In Your Skin
- Eumelanin, which is a brown or black pigment
- Pheomelanin, which is a reddish-yellow pigment
The variations in the concentrations of these two types of melanin pigments determine your natural skin tone.
“To an extent, your skin needs melanin as a protection shield against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In scenarios like overexposure to UV radiation that cause cellular DNA damage, your skin starts to produce additional melanin to prevent further damage to DNA . This natural defensive mechanism of your skin is called ‘melanogenesis’ which results in tanning or darkening of the skin in certain regions,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
While no tan is permanent, sometimes your skin may take months to recover and get back its natural skin tone. Hence, you may try different treatments mentioned in this article to detan your skin rapidly by reducing excessive melanin production in your skin.
Recent studies found that individuals with darker skin tone have a lower risk of getting skin cancer .
What Causes Excessive Melanin Levels In Your Skin?
While overexposure to the sun is the predominant cause, other factors that lead to increased melanin production in your skin includes:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Inflammation in your skin
- Vitamin deficiency due to malnutrition
- Pregnancy changes hormone levels and can affect melanin production in some women.
- A rare endocrine disease called Addison’s disease can produce hyperpigmentation that’s most obvious in areas of sun exposure, such as the face, neck, and hands. 
“Ayurveda attributes the skin complexion to bhrajaka Pitta dosha in your body. An imbalance in your bhrajaka Pitta can lead to an imbalance in melanin production in your skin,” says Dr. Zeel.
Can You Increase Or Decrease Melanin In Your Body Permanently?
Your genetics determine the size of melanocytes, shape, distribution, and their activity in your skin. Thus, your natural skin tone is actually genetic and permanent.
Certain in-clinic procedures and Ayurvedic treatments can help you increase or decrease the production of melanin to a particular extent. However, this change in melanin levels is not permanent unless it aligns with your body’s natural melanin levels which are predetermined by your genetics.
Hence, any treatments could help treat skin pigmentation disorders while they cannot alter your natural skin tone permanently.
How To Reduce Melanin In Skin?
1. Ayurvedic Treatments
A. Herbs In Your Skin Care Regimen
Ayurveda categorizes certain herbs as ‘Varnya Gana’ which has inbuilt properties to inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme that produces melanin in your skin . To reduce excessive melanin production and deposits in your skin naturally, you can use Ayurvedic skincare products that have the following ‘Varnya’ herbs as ingredients based on your elevated dosha levels.
- Chandana-balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
- Punnaga-balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
- Sita-balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
- Ushira-balances Pitta and Vata doshas
- Yashtimadhu-balances Pitta and Vata doshas
- Padmaka-balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
- Manjistha-balances Pitta and Kapha doshas
- Sariva-balances all three doshas
“Usheerasava, dashanga lepa, sarivadyasava, yashtimadhu taila, sarivadi avaleha, varnya lepa, maha manjishtadi kashaya, chandanasava, etc. are some of the most effective Ayurvedic formulations with varyana herbs that helps in reducing excessive melanin levels in your skin,” says Dr. Zeel.
B. Yoga Asanas For Skin Tone Lightening
Yoga enhances oxygen supply into your bloodstream and increases its circulation to your skin. Also, it works great to detox your skin which in turn results in healthy and glowing skin. Yoga is a great way to bring your elevated doshas to a balanced state, thus, normalizing your bodily activities.
Here are some of the powerful Yoga poses that benefit your skin while they contribute to balancing the melanin production in your skin.
- Surya Namaskar(12 step-sun salutation poses)
- Dhanurasana(bow pose)
- Adho Mukha svanasana(downward-facing dog pose)
- Halasana(plough pose)
- Sarvangasana(shoulder stand pose)
- Pranayama and meditation on Padmasana
- Shavasana(corpse pose)
Note: Please perform the Yoga poses under the guidance of your Yoga instructor.
C. Water Therapy
Your body requires sufficient water to supply oxygenated blood to your organs and clear out the toxins from your system. Hydration is essential for the natural glow of your skin and also making your skin look healthy and supple. This, in turn, controls the inflammation, hormonal imbalances, toxin buildup, etc. in your skin, which are also the triggering factors for excessive production of melanin.
Ayurveda recommends to intake water with certain guidelines as below:
- Drink 1 to 1.25 liters of lukewarm water on an empty stomach as soon as you wake up
- You can do your regular workouts or Yoga and meditation for the next 45min to 1 hour
- After your workout session, you need to drink 1- 1.25 liters of water again. Then, give a gap of 1 hour before you have your breakfast
- It is essential to maintain at least 2 hours of interval between your meals. Also, you need to consume water only an hour before or after your meals for the rest of the day
- You should always consume water in a seated position and avoid drinking it while you stand.
- Do not gulp down the water in big volumes at one go. Always, take it in small sips
- Avoid drinking ice-cold water and cold beverages as they disturb your digestive Pitta, leading to several health issues
Vedix Tip: For flavoring, you can infuse water with lemon and have it throughout the day. Also, please avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages as they reverse the benefits of water therapy.
2. Other Natural Remedies
A. Add a spoon of honey to one spoon of lemon juice. Mix well and apply it to the tanned areas of your skin. Wait for 15-20 min before washing it off with lukewarm water.
B. Add 1 part of turmeric powder to 3 parts of curd. Add a few drops of rose water into it and make a fine paste. Apply the paste on your skin and leave it until it is fully dried. Later, rinse your skin with lukewarm water.
C. Prepare a puree by blending one tomato. Add a few drops of rose water to the puree and apply it to your skin. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off. Repeat it every day until you find a visible change in your skin tone.
D. Prepare a thick paste by blending a potato. Add a few drops of lemon juice to it and apply it to your skin. Massage your skin for 5 minutes and leave it for a while. Then, rinse your skin using cold water.
E. Apply fresh and naturally extracted aloe vera gel to your skin. Leave it for half an hour and then wash it off using cold water.
3. Foods To Reduce Melanin
To reduce the excessive melanin deposits in your skin, your diet needs to be rich in antioxidants. Include healthy fruits and vegetables such as oranges, berries, tangerines, papaya, limes, kiwi, guava, lemons, mangoes, grapes, spinach, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, etc. in your diet regularly. Also, have green tea regularly as it helps to increase the glutathione levels in your body that reduces melanin production.
4. Medical Treatments
A. Laser Therapy
This involves the removal of top layers of your skin using a pulse of light to decrease the melanin in treated areas.
Below are some of the most popular laser therapies used for melanin reduction:
- Ablative lasers (recommended for severe skin discoloration conditions)
- Non-ablative lasers
- Q-switched ruby laser (QSRL)
Laser therapies can also come with side effects such as infections and scarring on your skin. Hence, you need to consult your dermatologist before opting for laser therapy.
B. Chemical Peels
It involves using chemicals such as lactic acid or glycolic acid on your skin to reduce the existing melanin deposits. It is recommended to people who have excessive melanin for a longer period.
C. Topical Products
You can find several skin-lightening OTC creams or ointments that contain the following ingredients that act as tyrosinase suppressants in your skin. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that is responsible for melanin production in your skin.
- Kojic acid
- Vitamin C
- Azelaic acid
- Glycolic acid
However, these products may have side effects such as irritation, redness, dryness, and itchiness on your skin. Hence, it is always recommended to consult your doctor who will prescribe the right formulation for your skin type.
How To Reduce Melanin During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are rapid alterations in estrogen hormone levels in a woman's body. This sudden change in estrogen levels triggers excessive melanin production in different areas such as hands, abdomen, neck, armpits, etc.
Here are some tips for women deal with hyperpigmentation during pregnancy:
1. Avoid foods such as multi-grain bread, flax seeds, soybeans, which causes an increase in estrogen levels during pregnancy
2. Include foods such as walnuts, wholegrain, banana, seafood, etc. that are rich in vitamin B6 in your diet. Also, eat foods that are rich in fiber and folic acid regularly
3. Pregnant women should remain indoors as much as possible, especially during noontime. However, it is good to take some morning sun as it helps in the synthesis of vitamin D in the body
4. Avoid sitting near windows in your house or car for a longer time
5. Never forget to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 at least
6. Prefer wearing light color clothes that cover the majority of your body
Benefits Of Melanin In Body
“Melanin absorbs the harmful sun rays and protects your skin from sun damage. Also, insufficient melanin levels in your skin increases the risk of skin cancer,” says Dr. Zeel.
We recommend you consult your Ayurvedic doctor or dermatologist before undergoing any of the treatments and procedures mentioned in this article to reduce excess melanin levels in your skin.
The Last Word
From ebony to the fairest fair, your skin tone is unique and beautiful in its own way. Always remember that it’s your body and genetics which decides the melanin levels in your skin. Sometimes, it produces additional melanin to defend itself against sun damage. Hence, melanin is your friend. Ayurveda enables you to balance the melanin production in your skin by balancing the elevated doshas in your body.
At Vedix, we evaluate your skin and elevated doshas, based on which we customize an Ayurvedic skin care regimen that works for your unique skin problems.Know Your Dosha Now
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