Skin lightening is the practice of using substances, mixtures, or physical treatments to lighten skin color. Skin lightening treatments work by reducing the content of melanin of the skin.
Skin lightening agents work by reducing the presence of melanin in the skin. To accomplish this, there are several possible mechanism of actions
- Inhibition of the activity of tyrosinase: The catalytic action of tyrosinase is inhibited (slowed or nearly stopped) by the skin lightening agent.
- Inhibition of the expression or activation of tyrosinase: The antimelanogenic agent causes that less tyrosinase is generated or that tyrosinase is not activated to its functional form.
- Scavenging of the intermediate products of melanin synthesis
- Preventing the transfer of melanosomes to keratinocytes.
- Directly destroying existing melanin.
- Destroying melanocytes.