Combating lines and wrinkles usually tops the list when it comes to retaining a youthful appearance, but ignoring an uneven skin tone and unwanted pigmentation can add years to your perceived age.

Over time your perfect youthful glow begins to display hyperpigmentation in the form of undesirable dark patches. A recent research finding demonstrated that hyperpigmentation can perceive you to look up to 20 years older than your actual age.

Hyperpigmentation stems from enhanced production and uneven distribution of melanin, the skins predominant pigment. As we age melanin synthesizing cells known as melanocytes become victim to excess sun exposure, inflammation, free radicals and hormonal changes. This triggers the overproduction of melanin, resulting in pigmentation. Hydroquinone has always been the “go to” product. Recent data has made hydroquinone unfavourable due to it’s allergenic and carcinogenic properties and it’s prohibition in many countries.

This has sparked interest in agents that have similar skin lightening effects to hydroquinone without the serious side effects.

To target melanogenesis you need to understand it. This can be narrowed down to three steps, regardless of the initiating factors – that is UV, hormone, inflammation (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation or PIH)

Early steps involve the transformation of L.tyrosine L.dopa (Tyrosinase). Then a series of intramolecular transformations occurs, continuing the process of melanogenisis. Finally, mature melonosomes are transferred to more superficial keratinocytes (the skin you can see). As we age, this process becomes dysregulated, causing the skins outward appearance to develop unsightly dark spots and uneven areas of hyperpigmentation.

After years of rigorous research scientists have narrowed in on three ingredients that intervene in melanogenisis to favourably modulate skin pigmentation.

Tyrosinase inhibitors

Since the key enzyme tyrosinase is a regulator of melanogenisis, it is a prominent target to control melanin formation and improve age related skin discoloration. Scientists have discovered that complex botanical extracts have exhibited a strong inhibitory effect on tyrosinase.

Studies have shown it has significantly faster skin lightening effects than other commonly used agents. In one study of 80 participants, scientists compared the efficacy of these botanicals against hydroquinone (a synthtetic form of tyrosinise inhibitator) for decreasing hyperpigmentation. They found that topical application increased skin lightness 60% over hydroquinone.

Liver spots (age spots) are the most visible consequences of sun exposure. A three month study revealed that more than 80% of participants who topically applied a formulation of botanical tyrosinase inhibitors showed noticeable reductions in the process of liver spots.


These have been played roles in many health ailments and now they can add skin lightener to there already impressive resume. In the laboratory, these mixes displayed potent free radical scavenging activity. Oxidative stress may be a big factor in the early production of tyrosinase.

NiacinamideFemale face divided into two halfs to demostrate UV damage effects on skin. Both skin conditions directly available as full images.

Niacinamide suppresses the transfer of melanin to nearby keratinocytes on the surface of the skin by up to 68%. In other words, niacinamide blocked the accumulation of melanin in the epidermis that contributes to skin darkening.

In a double-blind clinical trial of 18 women aged 25-60, topical niacinamide was applied twice daily to one side of the face and placebo to the other for eight weeks. Compared to baseline, the treatment group reduced total area of hyperpigmentation by 25% versus only 15% in the placebo group. More subjects in the niacinamide group reported lighter skin than in the placebo group.

One of the most common and hard-to-treat skin disorders is melasma (mask of pregnancy), a condition characterized by facial hyperpigmentation. Although it affects both sexes, melasma occurs more frequently in women. Eight weeks of topical niacinamide was shown to be nearly as effective as hydroquinone for treating melasma. Even better, niacinamide produced fewer side effects than its counterpart. This led the researchers to conclude that niacinamide was “an effective, integral, and safe therapeutic alternative in the melasma treatment.”

At the Skin Clinic Clovelly, we have highly researched, results driven blends of Tyrosinate Inhibitors. These combined with IPL and resurfacing skin treatments, have given us amazing results for our clients. Call us to discuss further options for your personal skin condition.