Biology of melanogenesis and the search for hypopigmenting agents

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Increased production and accumulation of melanin are characteristics of a large number of skin diseases, including melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and lentigo. A number of clinical agents can reduce normal or abnormal pigmentation, but none of these have achieved satisfactory effects. This review discusses the mechanisms behind the different approaches. Tyrosinase is a pivotal enzyme in melanin synthesis. The majority of whitening or lightening agents act by specifically reducing the activity of tyrosinase via several mechanisms: (1) prior to melanin synthesis (interfering with its transcription and/or glycosylation); (2) during melanin synthesis (tyrosinase inhibition, peroxidase inhibition and reduction of byproducts); and (3) after melanin synthesis (tyrosinase degradation, inhibition of melanosome transfer, acceleration of skin turnover). Additional melanogenesis-associated mechanisms are also discussed. © 2010 Taiwanese Dermatological Association, Taipei, ROC.

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Park, K. C., Huh, S. Y., Choi, H. R., & Kim, D. S. (2010, June). Biology of melanogenesis and the search for hypopigmenting agents. Dermatologica Sinica.

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