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Melasma: Shutting off Pigmentation

Aspen, Colorado – Patients with melasma can benefit from new ingredients and innovative ways of using older ingredients, said Miami-based dermatologist Joely Kaufman, M.D., at The Cosmetic Bootcamp (CBC).

“For hyperpigmentation, there are some new options including more tolerable hydroquinone combinations, and better ways of doing treatments we used to do. The most popular products currently use a combination of ingredients – in many over-the-counter products, you’ll see vitamin C with licorice extract and retinol as an overall combination product.”

Melasma is much more than an aesthetic issue, she said. Psychologically, “It’s almost like having psoriasis – patients are troubled by it daily, and it affects their self-esteem and social pleasure.”

Pigment-fighting products work by reducing tyrosinase activity, blocking melanosome transfer or exfoliating skin cells from the epidermis, she said. “Hydroquinone is great at shutting off tyrosinase activity, but we also have natural ingredients that do that.” Examples include arbutin and kojic acid. “In general, use combination therapy – multiple modes of action, and most importantly prevention.”

Many marine extracts provide natural tyrosinase inhibition, Dr. Kaufman said. “We’ll start seeing more of those in the market. Some of them will hit the retail side, but you’ll be hearing about those.”

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