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From the FutureDerm.com Facebook page:
I was wondering if people who suffer from hyperpigmentation can use bronzers/self-tanners, since [I think] they stimulate melanin production, which we try to stop with serums and creams to fight hyperpigmentation?
The short answer is that you can use bronzers without a problem with age spot treatments. This is because bronzers are typically nothing more than powders with darker pigmentation and warm undertones.
What about Self-Tanners?Snooki beware: You won’t get as tan if you simultaneously use age spot treatments, because DHA colors the skin while it is producing melanin. However, it is not interfere with melanin production itself. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
On the other hand, using self-tanners with age spot treatments does not get you the same level of tan. This is because the self-tanners color the skin while your skin is forming pigment (The Danish Ministry of the Environment, 2006).
There is an internet rumor, even on some very reputable sites, that says self-tanners work because DHA interacts with dead skin cells, and then a color change occurs. This is not entirely correct. DHA interacts with amino acids in the top layer skin cells, and only colors the skin while these skin cells are forming pigment (The Danish Ministry of the Environment, 2006).
So if you are reducing melanin production with age spot treatments, you will not get the same level of tan.
For you real science buffs who would like to know more about the self-tanning how-to process, please read How Do Self-Tanners Work?
Don’t Self-Tanners Stimulate Pigment Production?
No. Despite popular belief, self-tanners do NOT stimulate melanin production. So if you are using age spot/hyperpigmentation treatments, they will still work with self-tanners. It is the self-tanners that will not work as well.
Remember: Self-tanners turn your skin yellow to brown because various amino acids react differently to DHA, giving off colors. These colors mimic pigmentation of the skin from melanin, but they are not due to melanin.
On the other hand, age spot treatments inhibit melanin formation or break down melanin itself. It is much more common to find products that inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme crucial to the formation of melanin. These treatments include kojic acid, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, and arbutin.
Therefore, self-tanners cannot prevent age spot/hyperpigmentation treatments from being effective. Self-tanners react with amino acids and brown skin cells while melanin is being formed, but do not interfere with melanin production itself.
- Self-tanners do not make age spot or hyperpigmentation treatments less effective.
- On the other hand, age spot or hyperpigmentation treatments will make it harder for self-tanners to work.
Hope this helps!