All of us have different skin tones ranging from fair, brown to wheatish to nearly black skin tones. A lot of young women these days are conscious of their skin and looks thanks to the world of advertisement people are craving fair skin free of skin conditions like acne and hyperpigmentation. All of us are born with different skin tones and the skin tone is determined by the presence of melanin in the topmost layer of the skin called epidermis. More the amount of the pigment melanin in the skin the darker the skin tone will be.
Melanin is not present just to give the skin color. One of the most important jobs of melanin is as an antioxidant to protect the skin from sun damage it serves as a catalyst for chemical reactions that protect the DNA of the lower layers of the skin from getting sunburned. It also helps the skin repair itself after acne and any other kind of skin infection. There are many skin problems faced by women like hyperpigmentation. Life is not too easy for fair skinned people as they also face problems due to many external factors like excessive sun exposure, unhealthy diet, hectic lifestyle, high-stress levels and pollution can cause an increase in the production of melanin in causing hyperpigmentation.
What is Hyper Pigmentation?
It is a common skin condition that occurs as a result of excessive melanin production in the body. Apart from the above-stated factors, excessive melanin production can also be caused by inflammation, acne, and hormonal imbalance. Hyper pigmentation is characterized by stubborn dark page patches on the skin that refuse to go away. There are a number of chemicals containing creams which are sold in the market that guarantee whiter skin in weeks but unfortunately many of these products contain harmful chemicals and in the long run, may lead to diseases like cancer. That is the very reason why natural home remedies are way safer and effective for skin lightening.
One of the most common household item which is used for skin lightening is turmeric.
The scientific name of turmeric is Curcuma longa and it is a native spice of Southern Asia which is commonly used in cooking and has been traditionally used for treating many health conditions in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Turmeric has a very powerful active compound called curcumin in it which is responsible for most of the health benefits that turmeric provides to the entire body. It has been shown that curcumin can effectively resolve hyper pigmentation as well as control melanin production.
So how does Turmeric does it?
When external factors cause an increase in production of melanin-producing ACTH hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland. This hormone activates MC1R which is one of the proteins that increases melanin production. Curcumin present in turmeric restricts the action of ACTH hormone, thus, reducing hyper pigmentation and lightening the skin
Yet another way for using turmeric to whiten the skin is to protect it from sun damage. Too much exposure to the ultraviolet B rays of the sun causes skin darkening, larger blood vessels, changes in skin pigmentation, loss of elasticity and wrinkles. The radiation from the sun increases the production of an enzyme called metalloproteinases 2. This enzyme lessens the collagen between the outer and middle layer of the skin. What turmeric does is it decreases the enzyme which prevents skin from sun damage.
Oily skin can also be one of the reasons for dull looking hyperpigmented skin. Turmeric contains fatty acids and phytosterol which help in controlling oil production in the skin which in turn leads to lesser hyperpigmentation.
Over the years the free radicals produced in the body due to excessive oxidative stress can result in aging of the skin and hyperpigmentation .Curcumin is a great antioxidant which removes all the damaging free radicals from the body does giving a nice glow to the skin.
Acne can also lead to bad scars and hyper pigmentation. Turmeric has antibacterial properties which prevents the growth of bacteria on the skin and also helps in the removal of acne scars.
Some of the ways in which talking turmeric can be incorporated into the skincare routine are:
- Turmeric and milk- Milk has the cleansing abilities that can remove dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities from the skin. To make this face pack, combine half teaspoon of turmeric with one teaspoon of milk using a brush. Apply an even layer all over the skin and let this mixture set for about half an hour. Rinse it with lukewarm water. This treatment should be done 3 times a week to get the desired results.
- Turmeric and honey- Honey has properties of locking in moisture in the skin cells as well as treating acne and relieving sunburns. To make this facepack, add 2 teaspoons of honey with ¼ teaspoon turmeric. Spread an even layer all over the skin. Leave the mixture for 30 minutes. Rinse it using lukewarm water.
- Turmeric and cucumber – Cucumber has astringent activities which can slow down the process of aging. To prepare this face mask take 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric in a small ball add 2 teaspoons of cucumber juice. Make a paste and spread evenly all of the skin and gently massage for 5 minutes. Leave the face mask on for about half an hour and rinse off completely with lukewarm water.