July 31, 2020

Scientists Seek To Increase Melanin Production In Pale People With Plant Based Materials

Being melanin deficient on a planet that thrives on UV rays from the sun is quite problematic. So much so that scientists are investigating how they can increase melanin production in people whom are melanin deficient (pale people) using plant-derived materials.

Photo: Screenshot from "Us", directed by Jordan Peele

“Researchers have examined the use of plant-derived materials to alleviate the occurrence of skin aging, diseases, and cancer caused by UV rays. Furthermore, studies are also underway to determine how to promote melanin production to protect from UV-induced skin damage. This review provides discussion of the damage that occurs in the skin due to UV light and describes potential defense strategies using plant-derived materials. This review aims to assist researchers in understanding the current research in this area and to potentially plan future studies.”

Emerging Strategies to Protect the Skin from Ultraviolet Rays Using Plant-Derived Materials (Abstract) – Yong Chool Boo

Yong Chool Boo, A Professor at Kyungpook National University, Department of Molecular Medicine recently released a study expounding on “Emerging Strategies to Protect the Skin from Ultraviolet Rays Using Plant-Derived Materials”.

Basically, people whom lack natural external melanin (caucasians, etc.) have skin that ages faster and they are also at the greatest risk of developing various diseases and cancers from prolonged exposure to UV rays, unlike melanated people. Black and brown people do not need ‘a boost of melanin production’ for protection against the sun’s UV rays, we already have more than enough.

This study explains potential ways plant based materials could be utilized to protect melanin-deficient people from the sun’s UV rays.

Abstract And Conclusion Of “Emerging Strategies to Protect the Skin from Ultraviolet Rays Using Plant-Derived Materials” By Yong Chool Boo

Abstract

“Sunlight contains a significant amount of ultraviolet (UV) ray, which leads to various effects on homeostasis in the body. Defense strategies to protect from UV rays have been extensively studied, as sunburn, photoaging, and photocarcinogenesis are caused by excessive UV exposure.

The primary lines of defense against UV damage are melanin and trans-urocanic acid, which are distributed in the stratum corneum. UV rays that pass beyond these lines of defense can lead to oxidative damage.

However, cells detect changes due to UV rays as early as possible and initiate cell signaling processes to prevent the occurrence of damage and repair the already occurred damage.

Cosmetic and dermatology experts recommend using a sunscreen product to prevent UV-induced damage. A variety of strategies using antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents have also been developed to complement the skin’s defenses against UV rays.

Researchers have examined the use of plant-derived materials to alleviate the occurrence of skin aging, diseases, and cancer caused by UV rays. Furthermore, studies are also underway to determine how to promote melanin production to protect from UV-induced skin damage.

This review provides discussion of the damage that occurs in the skin due to UV light and describes potential defense strategies using plant-derived materials. This review aims to assist researchers in understanding the current research in this area and to potentially plan future studies.”

Conclusion

“The hypothesis that plant-derived materials with UV-absorbing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and melanin synthesis-promoting properties will alleviate UV-induced toxicity is supported by a variety of experimental evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies. Various plant-derived compounds, such as phenyl propanoids, flavonoids, and carotenoids, can absorb UV rays and release energy in the form of heat. These compounds can also act as antioxidants by directly scavenging various types of free radicals or by enhancing the intrinsic antioxidant capacity through the Nrf2-dependent pathway. Certain plant-derived compounds, such as quercetin, can also suppress the amplification of UV toxicity by inhibiting target enzymes involved in inflammation.

Melanocytes can be damaged by UV toxicity; however, these cells have the unique function of synthesizing melanin, which can assist in the protection of all types of skin cells, including keratinocytes, fibroblasts and melanocytes themselves. If melanocytes die or their ability to synthesize melanin decreases, the skin’s UV defense capability weakens. In other words, restoring the survival of melanocytes exposed to oxidative stress or promoting melanin synthesis will improve the overall UV tolerance capacity of the skin. Various flavonoids, iridoids, and terpenoids have been shown to alleviate oxidative stress and apoptosis of melanocytes exposed to hydrogen peroxide. Furthermore, various natural products, such as flavonoids, coumarins, polysaccharides, and saponins, have been shown to promote melanin synthesis in melanocytes.

Upon UV exposure, melanin synthesis in melanocytes acts as a defensive measure for all skin cells. After enough melanin is produced, the melanin acts as a filter or shield against UV light. However, during the period of melanin synthesis, when the melanin levels are not high enough for protection, the skin still has a high risk of UV-induced damage. This means that UV-assisted tanning can harm the skin and that “sunless tanning” is a better choice [160,168]. Natural products that can preserve melanocyte viability under conditions of oxidative stress and can induce melanin synthesis in the absence of UV radiation will provide a preemptive defense against UV exposure.

The regulation of melanin metabolism in the skin is important not only for skin health but also for cosmetic purposes. A substance that rescues the viability of melanocytes and stimulates melanin synthesis will be also useful in the prevention and treatment of hypopigmentation diseases, such as vitiligo [185]. Conversely, these substances may not be preferable for those who want to have a clean and light skin tone, as the promotion of melanin synthesis can lead to hyperpigmentation.

Plant-derived ingredients can be misunderstood to be safe because they are natural. However, certain plant-derived compounds can act as prooxidants rather than antioxidants depending on the situation [186]. In addition, they can induce cytotoxicity, cell death, inflammation, metabolic disturbance, and carcinogenesis in certain circumstances [187]. Therefore, every plant-derived component must be sufficiently examined from a toxicological aspect before use.

This review introduced emerging strategies for reducing UV toxicity using plant-derived materials (Figure 3). There are various substances that have been demonstrated to prevent UV-induced oxidative damage in epidermal keratinocytes or dermal fibroblasts, attenuate the death of epidermal melanocytes under oxidative stress conditions, and promote “sunless” melanin synthesis in melanocytes. Although future studies are required to verify the in vivo and clinical efficacy of these substances, emerging strategies using these plant-derived materials are expected to open new possibilities for the prevention of skin photoaging and photocarcinogenesis.”

Link To Full Study: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/9/7/637