hexylresorcinolA relatively new lightening agent, it is non-toxic and even used in throat lozenges due to its antiseptic qualities. According to Marini, it is shown to be as effective as four-precent hydroquinone. It’s a very strong tyrosinase inhibitor, when used topically. The tyrosinase enzyme is involved in the production of melanin. Inhibiting the enzyme can produce a lightening effect.
green tea extractThis well-know ingredient is highly anti-inflammatory. “Individuals who have a tendency to discoloration are often exacerbated by any inflammation,” says Marini. “This inflammation can occur from pollution, stress, food or a variety of things encountered every day. Generally, the more anti-inflammatories used, the younger and better skin is going to look.”
salicylic acidThis standby is a beta hydroxy acid that has been around for decades and is readily available in many acne products. It resurfaces and brightens skin making it appear more uniform, smooth and luminous. It also decreases acne lesions, one cause of darker skin pigmentation.
retinolIf this ingredient is stabilized, an enzyme in skin converts it to retinoic acid, the same ingredient found in Retin-A, says Marini. “Retinoic acid can prevent less pigment from being thrown off into the skin. It can temper the production of melanin, and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she says. All retinoids are forms of vitamin A, but they are all configured in different ways so they hit specific receptor sites and help with skin functions.
kojic acidThis ingredient is derived from naturally occurring fungus on mushrooms, according to Marini. “It originated in Japan, and became the darling of the medical community because of its incredible skin-lightening effect,” she says. “Studies say that if it’s stabilized and formulated properly, it is the equivalent of using four- to five-percent hydroquinone.”
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.