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An anti-brown spot diet?

An anti-brown spot diet?

Diet is a crucial fuel for the proper functioning of cells, provided that it is healthy and balanced. Just like sun exposure, it is among the environmental factors that influence the quality of the skin, specifically its pigmentation. Typology clarifies this for you in this article.

Published February 22, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

How are brown spots formed?

A brown spot is an accumulation of melanin, a pigment found in the skin as well as in hair, produced during melanogenesis. This pigment is usually distributed evenly and typically appears after prolonged exposure to the sun. However, in some cases, the production of melanin is excessive, a condition referred to as hyperpigmentation. This imbalance can occur, for example, when the skin is exposed to UV rays without protection or due to the use of certain photosensitising medications.

The brown spots can also be the result of skin ageing. With age, the skin is no longer able to fully protect itself from external aggressions. Free radicals, reactive species of oxygen, attack the nuclei of melanocytes and the mitochondria. We observe a dysfunction of the melanocytes which overproduce melanin which is the cause of brown spots also known as "age spots". It should be noted that UV rays are the main cause of premature ageing of the epidermis.

Diet and skin pigmentation.

Some nutrients found in food may be linked to the skin pigmentation process. Here are our tips for choosing a diet to combat brown spots:

  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin):

    A clinical study has shown that a deficiency in vitamin B12 leads to hyperpigmentation of the skin, which is the cause of the appearance of pigmented spots. It is hypothesised that a vitamin B12 deficiency reduces the intracellular level of glutathione, which normally inhibits tyrosinase. As a result, tyrosinase is no longer inhibited and transforms tyrosine into melanin. This leads to an overproduction of this pigment, causing pigmented spots. Therefore, it is preferable to favour foods rich in vitamin B12, particularly animal-based foods, such as eggs, dairy products, meats and offal, fish and shellfish.

Generally, it is advisable to opt for foods rich in antioxidant nutrients that help protect your skin against factors responsible for the appearance of brown spots. Among these nutrients we find:

  • Vitamin A: it is found in egg yolks, fatty fish, butter, and cheese.

  • Vitamin C: it is particularly found in citrus fruits, kiwi, strawberry, watercress, tomato, bell pepper.

  • Vitamin E: the vegetable oils (sunflower, walnut, hazelnut, olive, rapeseed,...), almond, hazelnut, fresh vegetables are rich in Vitamin E.

  • Carotenoids : They are particularly found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangoes, apricots, melons, yellow peaches, watermelons, spinach...

  • Foods high in polyphenols: red grapes, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.


SANTRA G. & al. Generalised Hyperpigmentation in Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Journal of the association of physicians of india (2014).

SAHEL H. Une hyperpigmentation révélant un déficit sévère en vitamine B12. Journal de pédiatrie et de puériculture (2019).


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