Both China and Japan are known for their historical preference for lighter skin, a traditional predilection linked to social status due to the time spent indoors (and out of the sun) by women of privilege. Now, after hundreds of years, it seems a potentially perfect skin-lightening ingredient may have been under their noses-and in their tea-the whole time.
Commonly used in tea and cuisine throughout Asia, a flowering shrub called sweet osmanthus, or osmanthus fragrans, has been found to inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment that gives our skin color-and discoloration. Taiwanese researchers discovered that an extract from this plant had an antioxidant effect on tyrosinase, an ezyme that contributes to melanin formation.
This ability to impede tyrosinase oxidation, and thus limit melanin synthesis, leads the scientists to believe sweet osmanthus could play an invaluable role in the future of skin-lightening products. Additionally, they expressed that the flavonoid-rich extract could possibly contribute to the treatment of melanoma.
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