Melanocytes are specialized dendritic melanin producing pigment cells, which have originated from the pluripotent embryonic cells and are termed as neural crest cells (NCC). The primary locations of these cells are basal layer of epidermis and hair follicles. Besides this, they are also found in the inner ear, nervous system, and heart with spatial specific functions. There are other cells able to produce melanin but of different embryonic origin (pigmented epithelium of retina, some neurons, and adipocytes). Melanocytes of the epidermis and hair are cells which share some common structural features but in general they form biologically different populations living in unique niches of the skin. Ultra structurally, melanocytes differ from each other on the basis of their locations and function. Principal function of epidermal melanocytes is photoprotection and thermoregulation by packaging melanin pigment into melanosomes and delivering them to neighboring keratinocytes. It is unfair to think that melanocytes reap all the glory for their role in pigmenting the skin and providing it critical protection against UV damage. They probably play a significant role in diverse physiological functions and their particular functions in all target places are much wider than the melanin synthesis only. Alternation in any structure and function of these pigmentary cells affects the process of pigmentation/melanogenesis which leads to pigmentary disorders like hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation.
Part of the book: Muscle Cell and Tissue
Facial hyperpigmentation is the term used to express areas on irregular pigmentation in the skin. It appears as darkened patches on the face that make the facial skin look uneven. Facial hyperpigmentation is not physically debilitating but has been associated with enhanced psychosocial complications including anger, depression and frustration. These psychosocial burdens, in turn, have inference on quality of life and self-esteem. So, the treatment of facial hyperpigmentation seems to be a growing concern to the dermatologists today and they have been practising several treatment modalities including chemical peeling, laser therapy, dermabrasion, etc. But, those are found to be associated with various after-effects. Hence, the use of plants and its products is highly recommended as they are reported with either none or fewer after-effects. The present chapter draws attention to the forms of facial hyperpigmentation with their aetiologies and available treatment options for them with associated side effects. Furthermore, we have discussed about the other side of treatment with herbal ingredients which are safe and have less or no side effects. This chapter will be of value to the dermatologists who are searching for naturally derived ingredients for treating facial hyperpigmentation, in line with consumer expectations and preferences.
Part of the book: Depigmentation